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Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American Halloween-themed fantasy/comedy film that was released by Disney and directed by Kenny Ortega. The film tells the story of a Halloween-hating teenager named Max Dennison, who inadvertently resurrects three witches, The Sanderson Sisters, from their temporary death and must risk his life to protect his sister and defeat them with the help of a classmate crush and an immortal black cat.
The movie begins on October 31, 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Three sister witches — Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy) - steal the life force of a young girl, Emily, with a potion recipe from Winifred's one-eyed spellbook. The transference of life force kills Emily, but makes the sisters grow younger. Emily's older brother, Zachary Binx (Sean Murray), tries to save his sister, but fails, and for punishment, is transformed by the witches into an immortal black cat. That same night, with the Salem witch trials period at its peak, the sisters are hanged by a lynch mob of locals after being accused of witchcraft. Before they die, one local demands to know what the witches did with his son Zachary. Winifred exclaims "cat's got my tongue!" and then casts a final spell of resurrection, vowing to return when a virgin lights the Black Flame candle on a Halloween night when the moon is full.
Three hundred years later on October 31, 1993, Max Dennison (Omri Katz), a skeptical teenager from Los Angeles, has a crush on a girl at his new school; Allison who rejects him primarily due to his lack of enthusiasm for the Halloween spirit. Max has his shoes stolen by two bullies- dim witted blond Jay (Tobias Jelinek) and Ice (Larry Bagby)(Real name Ernie). Upon returning home, he is pestered by his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) who tells him he has to take her Trick or Treating, on the wishes of their parents (Stephanie Faracy and Charles Rocket). While they are out they wind up at Allison's house, and he manages to convince her and Dani to take him to the Sanderson house which Allison's parents had converted into a museum - now closed down due to "strange things happening" there. While at the house, a black cat tries to stop Max from lighting the Black Flame Candle by jumping on Max's neck. Max proceeds to light it anyway, believing the museum info label about the candle to be "just a bunch of hocus pocus." However, doing so brings the sisters back to life and the witches take a particular interest in eating Dani. Max confronts the sisters, and Winifred levitates him against the wall with her lightning magic. After a brief altercation ensues, Max pretends to also be a magician, and strikes a lighter hidden in his hand, causing the witches to believe he conjured the fire with magic. He sets the flame over the fire extinguishers attached to the roof, while claiming to summon "the burning rain of death." The resultant water from the sprinklers fools the witches into thinking he has summoned a deadly rain and the sisters run for shelter, giving time for the children to escape with the spellbook and the feline Binx (now voiced by Jason Marsden). After realizing they have been tricked, and it was only water, the witches prepare to pursue them. The sisters soon encounter several oddities of the modern world, such as firemen (who they mistake for witch hunters), a paved bitumen road (which they mistake for a black river), and a bus which nearly runs them down. Winnie later explains to her sisters that the magic candle brought them back for just that Halloween night, and that when the candle expires at dawn, unless they've stolen the lives of more children, with more of the potion from the spellbook, the witches will die again at sunrise. Pursuing the children on their broomsticks to a graveyard, Winifred resurrects her once unfaithful lover Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) who gives chase to the children on foot. The witches could not set foot in a graveyard themselves- a place of hallowed ground. Confident their zombie minion will catch the kids and retrieve the spellbook for them, the witches set off into town to start collecting children- intended victims for the life potion they will again brew.
When exploring the modernized town, the witches become confused- smelling children nearby, but only seeing Halloween monster costumers (worn by trick or treating children), but whom the witches perceive to be hobgoblins. Encountering a man dressed up as Satan and his wife who they believe to be Medusa they are briefly fooled, but come to a realization about the night's untraditional activities.
The protagonists make their way to the Town Hall's dance that their parents are attending and attempt to warn them, but the sisters break in under the guise of a singing act, "I Put a Spell on You" and cast their musical song enchantment to force all present to "Dance, dance, dance until you die!". Luring them to a high school, the kids eventually lock the witches in a kiln and burn them alive. The kids and Binx return to Max and Dani's house, joyous - believing the witches to finally be dead. Sustained by black magic for that one Halloween night however, the witches are able to defy death from burning, and manage to escape the kiln. The witches next encounter Jay and Ice, promptly kidnapping and imprisoning them for calling them "ugly chicks". Unable to remember the potion ingredients, and still without their spellbook, the witches prepare themselves for their imminent deaths.
Meanwhile, back at Max and Dani's house, Max and Allison open the spellbook in the hopes of finding some way of reversing the curse placed on Binx. Both of them believe snooping through the book would be harmless, thinking the witches to be killed in the fire. Opening it causes a beam of light to emit from the pages into the sky, signaling its location to the sisters. Winifred, Sarah and Mary are forced to fly to the spellbook on a modern broom, a mop and a vacuum cleaner, respectively as their proper brooms were stolen by trick or treating children earlier in the evening. Binx hurriedly jumps on the spellbook to close it when he realizes Max and Allison are reading i t- but it's too late - the witches followed the signal light and silently break into the house. They retrieve the book, knock out Max, and kidnap Dani and Binx, but cannot harm Allison, who has used salt to encircle herself - a defense she learned from reading the book earlier. The witches leave and fly back to their house. Sarah uses her own siren song flying high above the town, hypnotizing all of the children in Salem to start making their way toward the witches' house. Using the concepts of Daylight Savings Time and one car headlight on high beam shining through the window, Max tricks the sisters into believing the sun has risen early, rescues Dani and Binx, and knocks over the witches' potion. Max also finds Jay and Ice trapped in cages. Ice begs Max to help him out of the cage, but Max leaves him there - and takes his shoes back before departing. The witches realize they've been tricked again, but manage to salvage a small amount of potion left in the bottom of the cauldron, and pursue after them.
As the witches chase them back to the graveyard for a last stand, Max encounters Billy and uses a pair of scissors to cut open his sewn-shut mouth (a punishment for his unfaithfulness given to him by Winifred which prevented him from revealing her secrets) and the zombie curses out Winifred before giving his assistance to the protagonists. Winnie manages to grab Dani and tries to force her to drink the potion when Binx knocks the vial out of her hand. Max drinks the potion to sacrifice himself for his sister. Winifred pulls Max up into the air as his life force aura appears around him. Winnie is knocked off her broom when Max punches her in a moment of distraction. She and Max fall from the broom to the graveyard below, but Winnie persists in trying to suck the life force from Max. The sun begins to rise, but because she is now standing on hallowed ground, Winnie realizes her predicament as she begins to turn to stone. The sun fully rises, and Sarah and Mary, explode into dust, soon followed by Winifred's statue which also explodes and turns to dust. Binx, who was badly wounded in the fight, finally dies, with the witches' spell of immortality over him now ended with their demise. After the spirit of Binx reappears to them, and reassuring a distressed Dani that his soul is now free, he is met by the ghost of his sister Emily. Both of their spirits walk through the gates to the afterlife, as Max, Allison and Dani watch their friend slowly fade from view as Billy returns to his grave to resume his eternal rest.
Later, the adults who were cursed into dancing are seen leaving Town Hall, sweating and exhausted from having danced the night away; and back at the Sanderson home, Jay and Ice, who are still locked in very small cages begin to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and the eye on the cover of Winifred's book opens and looks around the room and at the audience, before the screen goes black.