We’re only a month out from Halloween, and it’s time to start live blogging some Halloween favorites from yesteryear! Unfortunately, there’s no good live blog pun having to do with Halloween. ‘Liveblog-oween?’ ‘Boo! It’s a Liveblog?’ Nothing.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. It’s just that ‘Liveblog-warts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry’ would take up too many characters on Twitter.
For my first selection, I will be liveblogging the seminal Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus was released in 1993, so I’m documenting this both in commemmoration of its 20-year anniversary, and of my lost youth – truly, the scariest thing of all.
- The curtain opens on sometime in yesteryear. 1600s? 1700s? But don’t worry, the boy (Elijah) has the patented Cute Teenaged Boy From The Mid’90s Haircut. You know the one.
- He also has the patented Yesteryear Accent. Not quite American, not quite British – so, like the 1600s teen boy version of Katharine Hepburn.
- Special Effect #1: There is purple smoke coming from the witches’ chimney. It looks like it was drawn on the frame with magic marker
- I wonder if Bette Midler’s hairline is inspired by Queen Elizabeth I, assuming this is the 1600s. Then I realize that I am probably thinking about this way more than the art director of Hocus Pocus ever did.
- Special Effect # 2: The glowing blue cauldron looks like dry ice over an LED bulb.
- Elijah pours the cauldron on Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker. It has turned green, but still looks like something out of a middle school’s production of Little Shop Of Horrors Junior.
- The 90s Supporting Actress Sisters have killed (?) Emily, the boy’s sister, and are now young-ish and beautiful-ish.
- The ladies do a spell, the boy becomes a cat, and I realize how much Sabrina The Teenage Witch has to owe to this fine film. It is possibly the same cat.
- Sister Mary Patrick, The Rose, and Annie sing. It’s less good than you’d think.
- The witches will be summoned by a virgin. For almost two decades (!), this movie has been inspiring 7-year-olds to ask awkward questions that their parents totally evade. Well, maybe that was just my parents.
- The Modern Boy, Max, has the same 90s Hot Boy Hair as the 1600s Boy. He is wearing tie dye and has recently come from California. The early 90s were really into stereotyping Californian teens as peaced out, tye die wearing Haight Ashbury types. Dawn Schaffer, anyone?
- Female lead – Alison – is sporting some serious Stevie Nicks style. She got off really easy for 1993 hair – narry a mall bang nor spiral perm in sight.
- TV and movies have me believe that everyone else’s school had a thuggish bully and his dweeby toadie. Did everyone else’s school have those? Maybe mine did, and they just didn’t even know who I was. We meet Salem’s – Jay and Ernie, aka “Ice.”
- We meet Dani, Max’s little sister, who I’m sure all of you remember is played by Thora Birch. Did you know that Thora’s parents are porn stars? That’s why she has a porn star name. My parents are Irish and named me Molly, Thora’s are porn stars and named her Thora. It’s all about heritage.
- Max declares that he is dressed as “a rap singer.” He is wearing an LL Bean looking-shirt, some Eddie Bauer-looking jeans, sunglasses, and a Gap baseball hat. Max’s father advises him that his hat should be backwards. Never change, 1993.
- The symbol on Max’s hat is backwards. Did Lifetime reverse the image for this movie? Or was a backwards G the style of the time?
- Dani cries on a pile of hay. The hay pile has lit pumpkins on it. The people in this town are such dum-dums, they deserve to get haunted by three witches.
- I’m not talking about the acting during Dani and Max’s heartwarming sibling chat, because if you can’t say anything nice…
- Max and Dani are at Allison’s house. From the outside, it looks like my parents’ normal-sized house, but from the inside, it’s an enormous colonial mansion. They’re having a 18th century costume ball and Allison looks like a teen Felicity Merriman.
- Allison has changed into a cozy, but boxy and unflattering oatmeal colored sweater. Here’s what I want to do. I want to get a screenshot of every outfit like this from the movie. Then, I want to start a tumblr. I’m going to call it You Weren’t There, You Wouldn’t Understand. Every time one of those teen girls posts “90s” fashion on her tumblr, I’m going to tag her so she can see how dopey most of this shit really was. And if she asks me why, I’ll tell her “you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.”
- Inside the haunted house, Fake Salem jumps out and then the house does some special effects at us. Dani informs us that the house is going crazy because a virgin lit the candle. Busted, Max. Although, he’s about 15 years old and dressed like Marshall Darling from Clarissa Explains It All. I think Allison probably figured.
- Sister Mary Pat calls Dani a “shiksa baby.” So the witches are … Jewish? Now’s as good a time as any to mention that everyone in this whole movie is white.
- Bette Midler’s mouth in this looks just like Lady Gaga’s mouth in real life. It’s a tiny pursed bunny mouth.
- OH MY GOODNESS YOU GUYS. “Lasers” are shooting out of Bette’s hands and it looks like it was drawn on in post-production in Gel Pen.
- The witches will turn to dust in the morning if they don’t use some kind of potion that sucks the youth out of children. So basically, David The Gnome. By the way, in the event I ever end up circle-shaped, I’m just going to say screw it and dress like one of the gnome wives on David The Gnome.
- Max: “We’re talking about three ancient hags vs. the 20th Century!” Hahaha remember the 20th century? Our phones were attached to walls. If you got lost, you had to find a map, read it, then re-fold it, or talk to a human. When you wanted to know what happened to a washed-up celebrity, you had to write a letter to this column that appeared in the U.S.A. Today Weekend section. I’m going Team Three Ancient Hags. If we were to ever add a third to the blog, that’s what we’d change the name to.
- The kids are now in the Salem Crypt, which attaches to the sewer. So in Salem, when you die you are more or less flushed down the toilet like a goldfish (people who are reading this who know me IRL: I want to be cremated because I don’t think dead people get to own land, and also because I’ve seen just enough episodes of Bones to know that shit gets real dicey, real fast. What I really want is for them to find a way around the whole dying thing before I get to it, though.)
- Sometime in this whole hullabaloo, Carrie Bradshaw has straightened her hair.
- The witches get scared of a bus, and I have to admit it: the whole trope when people from the past get scared of mundane modern stuff never gets old for me. Like, I am the one person who liked The Village. Should I be watching Sleepy Hollow? (I’m totally going to watch the 2 eps of Sleepy Hollow today)
- Dani calls Max a virgin in front of a cop. Yep, little sibs embarrassing their older siblings by accident is another lame trope I kind of adore. Max says “yeah, I’ll get it tattooed on my forehead, ok”, but he is wearing Male Mom Jeans, and that means he will never have to.
- The witches meet a lady who is wearing hair curlers, possibly as part of a disheveled housewife costume, but more likely because she’s really a disheveled housewife. I’m sort of bummed that nobody sleeps in curlers in earnest anymore. Lost art and all that.
- Dani tells her mom what’s going on, and as always, begins her spiel with “Max is a virgin.” Ha. Thora Birch’s parents are porn stars.
- By the way, the mom is dressed as cone bra-era Madonna. Post that note to You Weren’t There, You Wouldn’t Understand.
- Musical number! Finally! It includes a weird cheer-type thing in the middle and for a moment, I feel like I’m listenting to Hollaback Girl or Mickey.
- I’m looking at Bette’s buck teeth and I have to get something off my chest. In second grade, there was a girl in my dance class. She had buck teeth and her name was Allison. In my head, I referred to her as Buckingham Alice. I was seven. SEVEN. I wish live blogs had been invented then. I was such a charming little girl.
- Max tells the cat “man, you can’t keep blaming yourself for that. It happened so long ago!” The cat’s talking about Emily’s demise, but Max’s advice sounds just like so many 20-something guys when they are drunk and get going talking about a lost love.
- Dani makes another reference to Max’s virginity, following the comedy rule of ‘if your movie has one funny thing, you can keep repeating it as many times as you need to.’
The bully and his lackey are back, and I have no idea whether Ice’s outfit is a costume or 1993 dress. It’s sort of this orange thing that maybe is supposed to be a pumpkin, or maybe is part of that Kente cloth thing that was happening for a while. Do you want to chime in, girls who were born in 1998? Well, don’t. You weren’t there. You wouldn’t understand.*
*(Bam. Rule of threes.)
- Max wakes up next to Allison. MAX WAKES UP NEXT TO ALLISON. But – ew – the witches’ creepy book is watching them. And Dani is in the room. And they’re both wearing a crazy amount of clothing (seriously, was it even possible to undress in an attractive way in 1993, with all those flannels and waffle weaves?). AND Max’s alarm clock looks like some kind of a rubix cube. So, all of that points to him still being a virgin. Or Allison being into some sick shit.
- Fake Salem jumps onto the Witch Book while Max and Allison are reading it. Most realistic thing in the movie thus far. Cats are a bunch of book-blocking douchebags, when you really get down to it.
- Bradshaw is singing, something about her Garden Of Magic, because this movie is just entendres on entendres. The song sounds almost identical to Once Upon A December from Anastasia.
- Bette has Dani tied up, and Dani shouts “It doesn’t matter how young or old you are! You sold your soul!” Can I get a sound file of that on my phone? Earlier today I was Groupon-hunting for chemical peels or something to make me look less like I’m slowly decaying from the inside, and I think maybe if I played that clip whenever I pulled stuff like that it would make me stop.
- This one zombie helps them. He hides Dani in a grave, and you know who I want to be, out of everyone in this whole tale? Dani’s therapist, 20 years in the future. He or she must be very rich.
- That one zombie’s head falls off. He takes it pretty much in stride, which is amazing considering I lost a huge handful of hair in the shower this morning and I STILL feel kind of iffy about it. He hasn’t been getting much screen time because zombies weren’t as trendy back then.
- Bette’s still all pissed because Dani called her ugly. Some people really do never move past junior high, huh? If I were a witch and someone called me ugly, I’d just be all “well, I’m a witch, I do what I want.” Or really, even if as a person someone called me ugly, I’d just be all “well, I’m a witch, I do what I want.”
- Max is sort of 1/3 of the way to being see through, and he looks exactly like a kid who would be on the cover of a Fear Street book.
- Dani calls her brother jerkface. Good, but not great. Anyone else do compound-insults with their siblings? My brother and I used to go back and forth: Stink festival, Crap factory, Dork-Con 2000. We were in high school at the time.
- Fake Salem becomes a boy and heads off with Emily, but not before really creepily kissing Dani on the cheek.
- The film closes on little Dani looking off into the sunset. It’s 1993, and in just 6 short years, we’ll all see her boobs in American Beauty. Everything is gross.
A note: if you like our fictional tumblr from this post, you’ll love our post this upcoming Friday! But there are plenty more 90s posts between now and then, so why don’t you just come back every day instead?