Saturday, October 30, 2021

Witchy Women

Hocus Pocus
Director: Kenny Ortega
Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw
Released: July 16, 1993 

Can you believe this is the first time I've ever seen this movie? Yes, I'm shocked too, especially since I would have been in the right age demographic when this came out - I was right between the ages of the brother and sister characters. I never knew what this movie was about, really. Obviously, I knew Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy play witches. I didn't know Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw were in this until the last year, probably! I didn't even know who Vinessa Shaw was until I reviewed the terrible movie Ladybugs earlier this year (and yes, the spelling of her name still bugs me!) 

I made a prediction that this movie would either be about three bad witches who learn a lesson and end up turning into good witches or that they would start off as good, but were misunderstood by the townspeople, and the townspeople would learn a lesson about treating people poorly who are different than them. Yeah, nope, neither of those predictions were correct. They are straight up bad witches...who stay bad during the course of the film! 

The movie begins in 1693 Salem (but of course; where else would a trio of witch sisters live?) where we are introduced to the Sanderson sisters: there's the eldest sister, the buck-toothed Winifred aka Winnie (Midler) who is the clear ringleader of the group and wears green; Mary (Najimy), who talks out of the side of her mouth (now that's a talent!), and has a knack for smelling children and wears red; and Sarah (Parker), who is the ditzy blonde who likes the male attention and wears purple. Everyone is great in their role and Najimy and Parker give great comedic physical performances. Midler shows us she's a true National Treasure by really sinking her teeth into this meaty role (and wearing those prosthetic front teeth could not have been pleasant or easy to talk with!) and she recites her lines in the most over the top way with lots of trills and an exaggerated cadence. 

A boy named Thackery Binx, no older than fifteen, finds his younger sister, Emily, missing. He realizes the Sanderson sisters have taken her and spies her sitting inside their home. This girl does not seem to be very scared or even concerned that three witches have captured her and are about to kill her, but maybe they put a trance on her so that's why she looks so blasé about the whole thing. Yeah, that's what I'm going with. 

Thackery is watching the witches brew a potion in their cauldron from upstairs. He has snuck in by climbing a water wheel from outside. I laughed when Winnie says they need a dead man's toe and tells Sarah to get one "and make it a fresh one." They have a bowl full of toes (ewww), but I don't exactly know how "fresh" they all are! They are brewing a potion they will feed to Emily who will then emit a life force they will be able to suck from her, which will make them all young. Winnie says "One drop of this and her life will be mine - I mean, ours." Clearly she is only looking out for numero uno.

Right when the witches give Emily the potion Thackery tries to thwart them and tips over the cauldron. He's about to save Emily (who still doesn't seem to be in any hurry to escape; so she MUST have been bewitched), but Winnie knocks him out with her magic. The witches notice the spell has worked and Winnie must have been feeling generous because she joins hands with her sisters so they can all suck the life out of Emily. 

The sisters suddenly become youthful looking (in other words, the old age make up that was on the three actresses is no longer applied on them) and Sarah exclaims, "We're young!" I laughed when Winnie looks at herself in a mirror and replies, "Well...younger. But it's a start!" I wouldn't be surprised if Bette Midler ad-libbed that line since she's twelve years older than Kathy Najimy and twenty years older than SJP. 

Elatedly, Winnie tells them they will be young and beautiful forever and has plans to brew more of the potion and pretty much suck the life out of every child in Salem. By this time, Thackery has woken up to see what they have done to his sister and when the witches want to brew another batch with him in mind, he tells them there's not enough children in Salem to make them young and beautiful and calls them all hags. Winnie says, "Sisters! Did you hear what he called you?" I just love how she's like, I certainly wasn't who he was talking about! 

For that remark, they decide they need to find the worst punishment for him and Winnie opens her spell book (a gift from Satan, which has an eye that opens and closes on the cover, but that's not even the creepiest thing about the book; no the creepiest thing is that the book is made of human skin!) Winnie declares, "His punishment shall not be to die...but to live forever with his guilt!" The witches recite a spell that turns him into a black cat.

The townspeople come banging at the door and the next scene is the three sisters about to be hanged. (I guess they found Emily's lifeless body in their cottage). Thackery's father asks Winnie what she has done with his son.  She tells him, "I don't's got my tongue!" All the sisters start laughing and I start laughing too. 

We get a bit of foreshadowing when the spell book drops to the ground and opens up to a page entitled "Spells to Resurrect the Dead" and there's one called "Black Flame Candle Spell." This will come back later. The witches will be able to come back from the dead if the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween. The witches are hanged (we see a nice shot of Winnie's green and black striped stockings...very Wicked Witch of the West) and the townspeople head home. It's very sad because Thackery, as a cat, tries to get his father's attention by meowing and rubbing against his leg but his father just kicks the poor cat away and tells him, "Away, beast!" DUDE. You just hanged three witches, your son is missing, and this black cat (totally synonymous with witches) is trying to get your attention. Put the pieces together, dude!

The movie transfers to "present day" 1993 (that's 300 years later if you're keeping count) to a high school class in Salem (still Massachusetts; not the capital of Oregon!) where a teacher has been telling the story of the Sanderson sisters to her class. She adds that some people believe on Halloween, a black cat stands guard at the Sanderson house, "warning off any who might make the witches come back to life." Everyone in this class is totally into this story and believes the legend of the Sanderson sisters. Everyone that is, except a kid named Max Dennison (Omri Katz), about fourteen or fifteen and who has recently moved to Salem from L.A. and he hates his new home. Everyone boos him when he tells them he doesn't believe in this malarky (excuse me, hocus pocus!) and tells them Halloween was invented by the candy corporations. The girl he has a crush on, Allison (Shaw), informs him that "Halloween is based on the ancient feast called All Hollow' Eve - the one night of the year where the spirits of the dead can return to Earth." All the students and teacher are clapping and cheering her and giving her high fives because she just schooled him and it's so ridiculous. Look, I've never been to Salem and I don't know anybody from Salem, but I doubt the residents are like, "Whoo! We persecuted and killed people because we thought they were witches! Go us!" Though, I guess in their defense, there were really witches who lived back then. 

 Max comes home in a bad mood because he gave Allison his number, but she gave it right back to him, then later he runs into these two bullies (one of them is wearing a leather jacket and has a flannel shirt tied around his waist and the other has the word "ICE" (his nickname) shaved in the back of his head. They are the most '90s Disney bullies ever) and they steal his cool new kicks.

We meet Max's younger sister, Dani (Birch), about eight years old, who is hiding in Max's closet andwatches as he lays on his bed, hugging his pillow and pretending it's Allison. (I guess he doesn't hate everything about his new town!) Dani jumps out of the closet, scaring him (though he's probably more embarrassed than scared). Their parents are going to a Halloween party and Dani tells Max he has to take her trick-or-treating. Even though it's still daylight, she's all ready to go in her witch's costume. Max isn't into this at all because he just wants to stay home and mope, but he has no other choice. He's wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and jacket, sunglasses (don't ask me why when it's dark outside), and a baseball cap. His dad asks him what he's supposed to be and he replies, "A rap singer." So either the word "rapper" was not yet a thing in 1993 or the script was written by an 80-year-old. I'm going with the latter. I think it would have made more sense if his dad had said to him, "What are you supposed to be? A rap singer?" His dad moves his hat so the brim is on the side. 

While trick-or-treating, Max sees the two bullies and a few of their friends, smashing pumpkins and stealing candy from kids. He tries to get Dani to go another way, but Dani isn't scared of the older boys because she's got her big brother with her. One of the bullies asks Max if he's supposed to be a New Kid on the Block and laughs hysterically, and okay, I'll give them that; that was kind of funny. But then, when Dani informs them he's a Little Leaguer (where did she get that from? He's not even wearing a baseball uniform), Ice pretends to hit a fly ball while Leather Jacket (don't remember his name) shades his eyes as though he's watching it. They both laugh HYSTERICALLY over this and give each other a double high five, up top. I'm laughing too because it's absolutely ridiculous that they think this is so funny. Max and Dani are able to get away by Max giving them their candy. He's not very happy with Dani for getting them in this situation and they bicker and Dani cries, then they apologize and everything is good for the moment.

They come across a house that is just a perfectly normal-sized two-story house. It is a nice house for a middle class family, but it's not the mansion they're acting like it is. Turns out it's the hone of Allison whose parents are throwing an elaborate 18th century party. Allison is wearing one of those 18th century gowns with the bodice, but she's not wearing the proper undergarments underneath it, so her dress doesn't poof out in an authentic way; instead it just lays flat on her body. I guess they were like, eff it, this girl will only be in this costume for less than five minutes, it doesn't really matter how authentic it looks. 

Allison tells them she's on candy duty and asks them if they want some apple cider. We get a really inappropriate exchange when Allison tells Dani she likes her costume and Dani tells her the same. She says she wouldn't be able to wear it beccause she doesn't have any "yabos" and tells Allison that Max likes her "yabos"; "in fact, he loves them." The f***? I get that Dani is trying to embarrass her brother, but why is she embarrassing poor Allison, too? (She just sort of laughs it away). Also, how does Dani know this? Did she hear her brother tell his pillow he was pretending was Allison that he loves her yabos while Dani was hiding in his closet? 

The conversation turns to the Sanderson sisters and we learn that Allison's mother used to run the museum (their old home which is still standing all these 300 years later!) dedicated to them, but it was shut down because "a lot of spooky things happened there." We never learn exactly what these spooky things were. Max suggests they all go check it out and Allison agrees and goes upstairs to change. Dani doesn't want to go because she's heard about the spooky things from her classmates. Max tells her if she does this for him, he'll do anything she wants. He is treading in murky water because she gets an evil grin on her face and tells him next Halloween she wants them to go together as Peter Pan and Wendy. "With tights or it's no deal." Max quickly agrees to this. How much do you want to bet that Max didn't follow up with this deal? He already got what he wanted by spending the evening with his crush, excuse me "the girl of [his] dreams"; it's no skin off his back if he conveniently "forgets" about this deal. 

They reach the museum which is covered in cobwebs and dust. It literally looks like it hasn't been touched inthe 300 years since the sisters have been gone even though it now has modern amenities like a light switch and a postcard swivel stand. There are also plaque cards by certain objects. Max reads one about the Black Flame Candle: "Legend says that, on a full moon, it will raise the spirits of the dead when lit by a virgin on Halloween night." He wants to light the candle with a lighter he found and bring the "old broads" back, but clearly doesn't believe it will happens and calls it "just a bunch of hocus pocus." A black cat jumps on him from out of nowhere, knocking him out of the way of the candle. This does not deter Max and he nonchalantly lights the candle anyway and the house begins to shake as thought there's an earthquake and all the lights go out before the door opens revealing the three witches. The three kids hide, but Dani is quickly detected by Mary who sniffs her out. They're about to push her into the cauldron, but Max tries to stop them. While Winnie uses her magic to restrain him, Allison grabs a broom and whacks her. The cat jumps on her and a bunch of commotion is going on. Max gets them to back off by telling them he's conjuring "The Burning Rain of Death" where he sets the sprinklers off by lighting the lighter. 

The cat tells Max to grab the spell book and this is the first time we see the cat can talk. Of course, this is Thackery Binx, living out his eternal life as a cat. He goes by Binx now (because Thackery is a stupid name for a cat, probably). Now you may be wondering why he just didn't tell his dad he was a cat when he was trying to get his attention all those years before, but my theory is he hadn't learned to speak as a cat yet and now he's had all this time to evolve. Although, I'm pretty sure it's physically impossible for a cat to speak human words (even one who used to be human), but let's not get into semantics. For some reason, the three kids (with the spell book) and Binx run to the graveyard. Great place to be on Halloween night with three witches after you. Max tries to burn the book, but of course it's protected by magic. 

Winnie realizes it's just regular water falling from the ceiling (and ditzy Sarah opens her mouth to drink it) and tells them to follow her. They run outside, but halt quickly when they see a black asphalt road thinking it's a black river. Winnie and Mary push Sarah into to see how deep it is, but Sarah is able to stand on the "river" and announces, "'Tis firm!" and they are able to continue on their way. Winnie tells her sisters (but mainly the viewing audience so we can have some exposition), "The magic that brought us back only works tonight, on All Hallows' Eve. When the sun comes up, we're dust. Fortunately, the potion I brewed the night we were hanged would keep us alive and young forever. Unfortunately, the recipe for that potion is in my spell book, and the little wretches have stolen it." As long as they find the book, brew the potion, and suck the lives out of the children of Salem before sunrise, then they'll be fine. "Otherwise, it's curtains! We evaporate!" Not to get into semantics again, but doesn't Halloween end at midnight? When the sun rises the next day, it will be November 1st! Oh, well. 

The go to the graveyard where Winnie resurrects her old lover, Billy Butcherson, who she killed herself by poisoning him and sewing his mouth shut with a needle so he "couldn't tell her secrets even in death" She killed him because she found him "sporting" with Sarah. She wants him to go after the kids, but they are quick to get away from him when Max snaps a branch in front of his face and his head falls off his body and while he's wasting time finding it, the kids escape in a tunnel that leads to the sewer. 

The witches get on a bus with a bus driver who should be fired because he's acting like a creep to them and coming on to them pretty strongly. Mary smells children so they get off at the next stop where many kids are trick-or-treating, but the witches are confused because they don't realize those are children in costumes. They see a guy dressed as the devil come out of his house and they exclaim, "Master! He loves that these three women are dressed as the Sanderson sisters and invites them inside. This is a little weird that this guy is inviting three women inside his house when his wife is inside. It's also a little weird that this husband and wife are played by real life siblings Garry and Penny Marshall. While the sisters are inside the house, three young girls dressed as the Sanderson sisters see the brooms the real Sanderson sisters left outside and take them. 

There's really no reason for this scene with the Garry and Penny Marshall cameo, (Bette Midler must have called in a favor since Garry directed her in Beaches), but I did laugh when Winnie goes into the kitchen, picks up a mallet, and exclaims, "Behold! A torture chamber!" I can see someone from the 17th century thinking that about a kitchen: there are sharp objects, hot objects, weird electronic devices. When the wife sees Sarah dancing with her husband, she chases the women out (well, really her little terrier chases them out) and Winnie figures out that really wasn't their master and declares the costumed figures are actually children.  

The kids decide to go to the party their parents are at to find them and tell them what's going on. It was a bit odd that they had no idea what their parents' costumes were. Their dad is Dracula, or "Dadcula" as he tells Max to call him. Dani finds their mom who is dressed as Madonna with a blonde wig and a cone bra. Maybe it's a good thing their parents (especially the mom) didn't tell their kids about their costumes so they wouldn't embarrass them! Dani tells her mom (with a very straight face, I might add), "[Max] lit the Black Flame. The withes are back from the dead, and they're after us. We need help." She also adds that the cat she's holding can talk. Her mom asks her how much candy she's had. I don't think that a lot of candy is really going to affect a person that much except give them a major stomachache. 

The witches find their way to the party and Max sees them and makes an announcement about them and how dangerous they are and they're after everyone's children. The crowd laughs, thinking it's a big funny joke. They also love it when the sisters sing "I Put a Spell On You". 

Allison gets an idea and the kids lure the witches to the high school into a kiln. I'm not really sure how they lured them there...we hear a tape playing of a French lesson and for some reason this entices the witches to find out where it's coming from. I don't really know much about kilns. I'm not sure how big they typically are, but this one is big enough for all of them to walk into. The kids lock the door and proceed to burn them alive and we see green smoke escaping from the chimney. I'm looking at the time stamp and there is still half an hour left of the movie, so I know more shenanigans are to be had! After burning the witches, the kids are outside the school, cheering and doing cartwheels. This reaction is a bit extreme considering they just burned three people alive. I realize they were trying to kill Dani (and other children) and killed little Emily 300 years ago so I'm sure they felt they got justice for Binx, but look, we we just shot Bin Laden; it's not like we burned him alive. Their reaction of jubilance is a bit much.

Binx tells Max he's wanted to do that for 300 years, since they took Emily away from him. After telling Max to take good care of Dani, he starts to run in the opposite direction, but Max tells him he's a Dennison now and can live with them. They all go to the Dennison house where they hang out in Max's room; Dani and Binx on the bed and Max and Allison sitting on the steps. Oh, did I mention that Max has steps in his room? Yeah, they lead up to a widow's walk. Um, like how cool is that? Why is he complaining about his new town when he has a super cool room that leads to a widow's walk?? You know Dani is moving into that room after Max goes to college!

Dani tells her new pet, "You'll have milk and tuna fish every day. And you'll only hunt mice for fun." (Earlier, Binx had told them he hunted mice in the sewer). Milk and tuna fish sounds like a disgusting combination (though I think anything with milk (with the exception of chocolate) is disgusting). Sidenote: don't give your cat milk; give them water. There was also an earlier incident where poor Binx gets flattened by a bus when they come out of the sewer (the same bus the sisters were on) and yes, it was very traumatizing for both poor Dani and me! Binx is able to inflate himself back to life and he tells Dani and the others about his curse; that he can't die and will live forever. This is why when Binx cuddles with Dani she tells him, "I'll always take care of you. My children will always take care of you. And their children after that. And theirs after that." He starts purring and it's so sweet. There's nothing better than cuddling with a purring kitty! And it's also sad because poor Binx is going to have to watch all the people he loves and who takes care of him die one after the other while he lives on. Though, I won't lie, I was a little jealous that Dani's cat will never die. My cat is in his senior years and it makes me so sad that he only has a few years left of his life; the majority of his life has already passed and it's like, where did the time go? I still remember bringing him home in my car in his little cardboard box with the holes poked in it from the Humane Society! 

Allison ends up falling asleep at the Dennison house (both she and Max falls asleep on the stairs which can not be comfortable!) When she realizes it's five am, she tells Max she should go since her parents will kill her. They're probably worried sick about her! If it's five am, her parents' party probably ended hours ago and, yeah, they're probably wondering where their daughter is! But she quickly forgets about going home when she gets sidetracked when they see Binx snuggling up to Dani and Max tells her, "We owe him a lot." Allison gets the idea to look through the spell book (yep, still in in their possession) and see if they can find a spell that will reverse the curse. Max reminds her that Binx warned them not to open the book, but Allison just replies, "The witches are dead. What harm can it do?" 

Plenty, Allison, plenty. You see, ALLISON, the witches aren't actually dead. Somehow, being burned alive didn't kill them...or maybe those kids don't know how to work a kiln, who knows? We see the door open and the three sisters walk out of the kiln with disheveled hair. There isn't even a trace of ash or soot on them.

They return to their home and Winnie is trying to remember the potion from memory since they don't have the book. She says she remembers that Sarah was "dancing idiotically over there", which Sarah hilarious reenacts her for. When Winnie is trying to remember one of the key ingredients, she just can't quite get it. Is it dead man's nose?  Dead man's thumb? Dead man's gum? Sarah jumps in excitedly with, "Dead man's toes!", but Winnie just tells her to hush. 

It's no use, Winnie can't remember the recipe for the potion and she starts sobbing and tells Mary in the most dramatic way, "This is the end, I feel it. We are dooooooomed. I feel the icy breath of death upon my neck." She requests that Mary take her to the window because, "I wish to say goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye, cruel world. Goodbye to life. Goodbye to all that."

Well, it just so happens that when Allison and Max opened the spell book, it shot a stream of red light right out of the widow's walk, illuminating where the book is and Winnie's tune quickly changes from depressed to ecstatic. She tells Mary, "We fly!"  Mary isn't sure what they're going to fly on since all their brooms were stolen, but they open the supply closet and Winnie flies on a broom, Sarah flies on a mop, and Mary flies on a vacuum. I guess the criteria is that witches have to fly on something that cleans floors! Where is the Swiffer? That's what I would ride! 

I must say the practical effects they used for the flying scenes look pretty realistic. I'm not sure how they did it, but props to the special effects department for this movie. 

While Max and Allison are reading the book, they find out if they surround themselves with a circle of salt, they are protected from the witches' powers. Of course, this is going to come up later, but it's kind of weird they're even mentioning this because, as far as they know, the witches are dead and they don't need to protect themselves from them. 

Max checks his parents' room to see if they're home, but they're not. How is it five am and the parents still aren't home? Is it because Winnie cast a spell at the party telling everyone to, "Dance until they die?" (Which she did, but I didn't think anyone was going to take literally!) Why haven't they shown us shots of the parents at the party, still dancing to show us why they're still not home? 

While Max and Allison are in the kitchen getting salt (I guess you can never be too prepared), we see a creepy shot of a long fingernail cutting through the screen. The older kids hear a crash from upstairs and run up to check on Dani. She looks like she's laying in the bed, under the covers, but when the covers are pulled off, Sarah is lying in the bed. I have to admit, that reveal scared me because I wasn't expecting it! The closet door opens to reveal Winnie and Mary hiding with Dani and the book. They take Dani, Binx, the book, and shoot through the widow's walk, just leaving a huge gaping hole. I'm sure the Dennison parents are going to love to pay for that! 

There's a cool shot of the silhouette of three witches flying over Salem where you can see the coastline and a lighthouse flashing its light. 

Not sure if this movie is a musical, but we had the witch sisters singing "I Put a Spell On You" and now we get another musical number where Sarah sings a song to lure the children to them: "Come, little children, I'll take three away into a land of enchantment." As she sings this sing, we see kids, walking like zombies, toward the Sanderson home. Some are in their pajamas and some are still in their costumes. At five am? Why? Some kids are even in their pajamas with elements of their costume. The witches have tied Dani up in a chair and Binx is tied up in a bag while they brew the potion.

Allison and Max get an idea to fool the witches into thinking the sun has come up (even though there's still probably another hour before the sun actually comes up). They drive to the Sanderson house (I guess it's one of Max's parents' car; I don't think they just jacked this car from off the street) and right before the sisters are about to feed Dani the potion, Max bursts in and tells Winnie there's something called Daylight Saving Time, then Allison turns on the car's headlights, making the witches think the sun is coming up and they hide for cover. This gives Max time to get Dani and Binx out of there and he kicks over the cauldron with the potion. Very similiar to the first scene when Thackery knocks over the potion. 

The witches realize they've been duped and Winnie inspects the caldron, declaring there's just enough potion left "for one child" and pours the potion into a vial. Even though the children they've summoned are still walking towars their home in a trance, Winnie has her sights set on Dani as payback since she called Winnie ugly while Winnie was brewing the potion and lauding how she was going to be young and beautiful forever. Dani told her, "It doesn't matter how young or old you are! You sold your soul! You're the ugliest thing that's ever lived and you know it!" The look Bette Midler gives Thora Birch in this scene is absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, Winnie does not like being called "ugly" and she tells Dani that she'll be the first to die. And Winnie plans to keep that promise! 

The kids drive to the graveyard with the witches following them on their flying cleaning supplies. (Again, what is with the graveyard setting?) They run into Billy who takes the pocketknife that Max threatens him  with to cut open the stitches in his mouth. He is finally able to tell Winnie off and Max realizes this zombie is on their side. 

Max and Allison put Dani in the grave that Billy was in (because that's not creepy at all) and create a circle of salt around her to protect her. When the witches show up, Billy tells Winnie to go to hell and she replies with, "Oh, I've been there, thank you. I found it quite lovely." She comes after him and poor Billy loses his head for the second time since he's been raised from the dead. Dani leave the Circle of Salt Safety to retrieve Billy's head and give it back to him. I think at this point, Allison and Max are contending with Mary and Sarah. This allows Winnie to come down and scoop Dani up. Binx runs up a tree and along one of the branches and jumps on Winnie which makes her drop the potion which Max catches. Winnie throws Binx and he hits a rock and becomes unconscious. Poor Binx gets a lot of physical harm done to him in this movie.

Max tells Winnie to put down his sister or he'll smash the vial. She retaliates by telling him if he smashes it, Danie dies. He drinks the potion instead and tells her she has no choice; she'll have to take him. It's very noble that he's sacrificing his own life for his little sister's, but hopefully he has a plan NOT to die! Max starts to emit the same glow Emily did at the beginning of the movie and Winnie, still on her broom, lifts up Max so she's basically holding him by the collar of his sweatshirt (that thing's gonna stretch out!) or even by his hair at times (ouch!) She's trying to suck the life out of him as he's struggling to let go. Sarah and Mary are trying to help her, but Allison, Dani, and Billy are pulling on the cord of the vacuum to prevent them, so Sarah has to pull on Mary's hand to help HER.

But, guess what? Time's up! Game over! The sun starts to come up (and this is a massive Sahara sunrise; no way this sunrise would ever occur in New England, especially in the fall). Winnie is surprised by this and both she and Max fall to the ground. But Winnie won't give up! She's determined to get the life force from Max before the sun has completely risen. She still's holding Max by his sweatshirt, but is distracted and freaked out when she starts to turn to stone, starting with her feet until she has turned into a statue standing in the middle of the graveyard (and still holding onto Max, but he's able to get away from her stone grip). I was confused for a second because I thought they were supposed to turn to dust, but then I liked the idea of Winnie remaining a statue forever in the cemetery and it would add more to the lore. Sarah and Mary, still flying on their brooms (just for a split second more!) are like "Uh-oh!" when they see the sun and they both turn into dust, though it looked more like glitter since Sarah turns into purple dust and Mary turns into red dust. Then the statue of Winnie explodes into green glitter dust and I was a little disappointed that her statue didn't stay. The sequel to this movie is supposed to come out next year with Midler, Parker, and Najimy reprising their roles. I bet the screenwriters are kicking themselves that they didn't leave Winnie as a statue! Oh, well, I'm sure they'll find a way to resurrect these witch sisters from being turned into millions of dust particles!

So the witches are dead for good now (at least for the next 29 years! (but by then Max, Dani, and Allison will be adults by then and probably not be living in Salem anymore and will be like, "Not my problem anymore" if/when they hear about the resurrection of the Sanderson sisters)), so everyone should be happy, right? Well, not quite. After Winnie threw Binx to the ground, we did see him raise his head and meow pathetically, so we know that didn't kill him. However, after the witches died, the curse broke and Binx died too. Poor Dani is so sad and crying over his little furry body. At least Dani gets some closure because she sees the ghost of Thackery Binx (as a human) telling her not to cry and say, "The witches are dead. My soul's finally free." He thanks Dani for freeing him and thanks Max for lighting the candle. Then it turns into a ghost family reunion because the ghost of Emily just appears, looking for Thackery. (I guess she was buried at the graveyard, so it makes sense she was already "in the neighborhood". Max, Dani, and Allison watch as the 18th century ghost sibling walk away together in the sunrise. 

The great mood the Dennison siblings are in now won't last long when their parents return home and see the top of the house has been blown off!

So I really enjoyed this movie even though I have no nostalgic attachment to it. I can see why it's turned into a Halloween cult classic over the years. I do find it odd that this movie came out in July; this is a movie you must see during October during the Halloween season. 

Happy Halloween, everyone!