It’s difficult to imagine a time when Hocus Pocus wasn’t something that both thin and fat generics alike were obsessed with. Its constant screenings on the Disney channel and, later ABC Family, would make it a staple of October and Halloween viewing over the years since its initial box office “failing” in 1993.
Maybe it was the movie’s summer release (somewhat overtly ill-timed on the studio’s part) that only attracted the bona fide Halloween junkies to the theater that year, dooming the film to instant “let’s just rent it at Blockbuster in October” status. Or maybe Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy were too ahead of their time in being “women of the people” actresses to resonate with viewers until decades later. Whatever the case, Hocus Pocus was quickly as deeply buried as Thackery Binx’s (Sean Murray) sister, Emily (Amanda Shepherd), after the Sanderson sisters absorb her youth.
If not for the magic middle class entity that was cable TV in the 90s, it might never have caught on to the level it has now with, oy, les millennials. I mean really, did you ever think that, in your lifetime, Hocus Pocus would become as generic as Uggs, multicolor leaves and pumpkin spice lattes during the fall? No, you thought, like all basiques, that it was just your thing–something only you and your friends truly appreciated.
But alas, every oversized cable knit sweater-wearing, mermaid snuggie-loving girl age twenty-three to thirty-three has an erection for this movie–can quote its “quirkiest” lines (mainly those made by Winnie) and have either thought about or actually executed going as one of the three witches come October 31st.
It’s not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with being enamored by Hocus Pocus like clockwork on a seasonal basis (generics occasionally have decent interests and trend foresight–just look at the popularity of the ombre), it’s that one can’t help but feel the taint of its goodness with each passing year. It makes one yearn for the time when only those with exclusive Disney channel access could enjoy it (there’s a lot to be said for classism eliminating universal taste).
As Jay (Tobias Jelinek) laments to his sidekick Ice (Larry Bagby), “Oh man, how come it’s always the ugly chicks that stay out late?,” it can also be demanded, “Oh man, how come it’s always the generics that get a hard-on for watching Hocus Pocus every Halloween?”