Why Is ‘Hocus Pocus’ Popular?
Oh, my sweet summer child.
What a delightfully simple question regarding the classic film Hocus Pocus, with a delightfully simple answer: because the movie is delightfully simple. And I’m sure the sequel will be as well. But why does that matter? Allow me to explain…
When adults get drunk, why do they crave pizza? Or McDonald’s? Why don’t they want to tuck in to a fine, five course meal? Because that would be too much effort. When adults get horny, why do they go on dating apps? Why don’t they focus their time pursing their interests in the real world? Take a dance class? Go to a museum? Go to places that they enjoy and meet someone who shares a common interest? Because that would also be too much effort. Why do adults watch Hocus Pocus during the Halloween season to put themselves back in touch with the magic of their spooky little inner child? Why don’t they go up into the attic, squeeze themselves back into the Halloween costume they wore in 5th grade, and go around knocking on their neighbor’s doors asking for candy? Because that would really be too much effort.
Hocus Pocus is not a “critically lauded” film. In fact, going by pretentious film critic standards, Hocus Pocus is not a “film” at all. It is not “cinema.” It is not “le arte.” It is not an “auteur piece.” It is a movie. And a beloved one.
“But why?” you might say. “The plot is simple!” “The children do not act well!” “It does not make sense that these 17th century witches know the words to the 1956 hit ‘I Put A Spell On You’!” Your points are all true, my sweet summer child. But indeed, that is the point.
Sometimes one’s work is exhausting. Sometimes one’s romantic relationships falter. Sometimes one isn’t in a good mood. And when such situations arise, sometimes one does not want to be eye-fucked by the long hard dick of “culturally significant works.” One doesn’t want to “think” be “challenged” and all those ideas the pretentious think to be the sole purpose of art. One simply wants to be entertained. One does not need to be “challenged” because one’s life is challenging enough as it is. Sometimes one just wants to laugh. To chill out. To be happy. Because this is the fact that many artists and auteurs forget: one of the greatest gifts that art can give is respite from the world. Art is able to offer solace and comfort. Art is able to offer joy. The Shining is a culturally significant film, and perfect Halloween film, but one cannot say that it is a particularly joyful. Hocus Pocus is joy. It doesn’t take itself so seriously. It’s fun. And it reminds us that it’s okay to not take ourselves to seriously and have a little fun too.
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