Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Just a bunch of Hocus Pocus.

A few weeks ago, I made a pilgrimage to the witchy homeland of Salem, Massachusetts. Among the many witch shops, witch tours, and witch museums were some locations from one of the greatest witch/Halloween movies ever made: Hocus Pocus!

by Miles Teves
As you should already know, the 1993 film concerns three witch sisters who are brought back to life on Halloween night when a virgin lights the black flame candle. The movie is so beloved and fan demand has been so high that for years rumors have flown that a sequel is in the works. All three Sanderson sisters--Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker--have said they would be on board, but so far no concrete plans have materialized. Bette Midler says this is due to the difficulty in finding a virgin to re-light the black flame candle. Ho hum. I hope we don't have to wait another 300 years like the Sanderson sisters did the first time.

One of the filming locations in Salem is the exterior of the building in today's song, which is also one of the best scenes in the movie. While the Sanderson sisters are on a mission to suck the souls of the town's children, they stop in at a Halloween party and bewitch most of Salem's adults by embedding a spell in their performance of Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I Put A Spell On You." With all the childrens' parents taken care of, the Sandersons are free to continue their witchy pursuits.

Old Town Hall
Winifred on tour
The interior of the party was filmed on a set, but the exterior is Salem's Old Town Hall, right in the middle of downtown. Just last year Bette Midler reenacted her performance of that scene on her Divine Intervention tour, where she once again donned Winifred Sanderson garb and performed "I Put A Spell On You" with her back-up singers as Sarah and Mary Sanderson. Really sad I missed that show! 

Also sad I missed a Hocus Pocus reunion screening at Disneyland in 2013, which several of the original cast and crew attended. Then just last year Disney did a Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular as part of their annual Halloween celebration. With all the love and attention Hocus Pocus keeps getting, seems like a sequel isn't too much to ask for! Let's all cross our broomsticks and say a little spell along with the Sanderson sisters. 

Here's the other classic song from the film, "Come Little Children." This one is sung by Sarah Jessica Parker, and is the one song from the score written by James Horner. He was supposed to score the whole film, but had to drop out at the last minute. If you have children, make sure they listen closely to this one in order for it to have its full effect.

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