A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teamwork and self-sacrifice will help you beat difficult odds. Bullying has negative consequences.
Positive Role Models
Max, Dani, and Allison support one another and tackle the witches with intelligence. Older brothers Max and Thackery sacrifice themselves to protect their younger sisters. But parents and adults are portrayed as unreliable -- they don't listen when kids need them most. The teens who bully the main characters and "evil" witches Winifred, Sarah, and Mary are very clearly in the wrong. The three witches fall into gender clichés, obsessed with their looks and willing to kill children to maintain power, though their wickedness is meant to be comical rather than sinister.
Women and girls outnumber male characters and play main roles as villains and heroes. Allison and Dani are strong and smart, fighting the witches and briefly saving Dani's brother Max. But there are slight gender clichés with the witches: They cast a spell to be "young and beautiful" and are obsessed with their looks. All characters are White except minor Black characters who briefly appear at a crowded party. There's a very quick glimpse of racist 1960s-era packaging for Cherry Clan candies, showing characters with squinty eyes wearing conical Asian hats. Fatphobic lines include a well-fed cat who's worried about becoming a "fat, useless house cat," and a teen calls his friend "oinker" for eating too much candy.
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Violence & Scariness
Most scares are campy, magical, and meant to be comedic, but they're realistic and could still disturb younger kids. The villains take a child's life force while she's in a trance-like state, and she quietly slumps over in a chair (implied dead). A teen is zapped with electricity and appears to pass out, then gets turned into a cat. Characters stand at the gallows with nooses around their necks -- they cheerfully joke around before dying (legs visible above toppled barrels). Teens bully younger teens and kids, stealing their shoes and Halloween candy. A corpse named Billy is reanimated and breaks out of his crypt to chase kids, getting decapitated (he isn't hurt and eventually befriends the main characters). Villains are trapped and burned inside a pottery kiln (not gory); they leave uninjured. A few gross-out scenes include a character eating spiders, a cat getting run over by a bus, and a zombie cutting his stitched mouth open with a knife. Items that play key roles are a book bound in human skin and a candle made from the fat of a hanged man.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A candle must be lit by a virgin to bring the witches back to life -- there are several mentions of "the virgin." Passing reference to an unfaithful lover. Characters flirt and nearly share a kiss. One person hugs a pillow and says "Oh, Allison, you're so soft." Innuendo when the witches tell a bus driver that they "desire children" (to kill and use for a potion) and he replies, "It might take me a couple of tries, but I don't think that'll be a problem."
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A few uses of "hell" (including "go to hell") and infrequent uses of "damn," "wench," "moron," and "oh God."
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Products & Purchases
Many off-screen tie-in products available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
References to "hash" and "smokes" by teens. An adult smokes in her home.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hocus Pocus' campy scares have lasting Halloween appeal. The story of the wicked Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) involves their plot to suck the life force out of children, and one girl dies that way (it isn't gory). Most of the movie's violence is playful and meant to be comical, including the witches being burned in a pottery kiln (they're unhurt) and hanged at the gallows (their legs are visible). A corpse is reanimated and chases kids. Gross-out scenes include a character eating spiders and a zombie cutting his stitched mouth open with a blade. A book bound in human skin and a candle made from the fat of a hanged man play key roles in the story. Main characters Max (Omri Katz) and younger sister Dani (Thora Birch) are bullied, and teens mention "smokes" and "hash." An adult smokes inside her own home. Language includes "damn" and "hell." Teens flirt and almost kiss, and a character hugs his pillow and murmurs, "Oh, Allison, you're so soft." Max is teased about being a virgin. Some innuendo when the witches tell a bus driver that they "desire children" (to kill and use for a potion) and he replies, "It might take me a couple of tries, but I don't think that'll be a problem." Teen characters are portrayed as positive role models, but parents/adults are portrayed as unreliable, ignoring kids when they need help. Important themes include using teamwork to outwit villains. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This perennial Halloween favorite is full of silly moments. Some of the best scenes in Hocus Pocus involve the Sanderson Sisters -- Winnie, Mary, and Sarah -- walking through Salem on Halloween night, encountering costumed children. They perform "I Put a Spell on You" at a dance and mistake a man dressed as the devil for the real thing and call him their "master." There are definitely plot holes, and a lot of the film is predictable, but it's good Halloween fun nonetheless.
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