(On TV, June 2019) Over the past few years, I gradually realized that Hocus Pocus had attained cult status for an entire generation a decade younger than me. Of course, I was 18 and not inclined to kids’ movies back in 1993—no wonder it passed me by. But now that 1980s nostalgia is leading to 1990s nostalgia, here we are celebrating the youth classics of a new generation, hence Hocus Pocus’ 25th anniversary and an occasion to find out what the fuss was about. To my surprise, Hocus Pocus does hold up—from the surprisingly dark opening sequence (child-murdering witches!), to the twists and turns of the plot with a few false endings, all the way through a gleefully campy tone, it’s actually a good time to watch. Bette Midler is clearly having fun hamming it up as a buck-toothed elder witch, but Sarah Jessica Parker is just as hilarious as the most dim-witted (and cutest) of the lead witchy trio. Early performances by a pre-teen Thora Birth and a zombie Doug Jones are worth noticing, but the ensemble cast does seem to have a good idea of the kind of film it’s in. The pacing rarely flags at barely more than 90 minutes, and even the creaky special effects have their own charm—including a surprisingly convincing talking cat. (On a similar note, the feline Binx pleasantly reminded me of my other favourite 1990s talking black cat, Salem from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.) For adult viewers, there are a number of racy references in Hocus Pocus that feel even more surprising coming from a Disney movie, and a fair number of good one-liners. Add to that the generally timeless feel of the film (and yes, “I put a Spell on You” is catchy), and there’s enough here for everyone even today.