REVIEW: Hocus Pocus: Books vs Movies

Hocus Pocus has always been one of my all time favorite Halloween movies. Yeah it’s cheezy, some of the acting is terrible, and doesn’t have much of a scare factor to it, but it’s just a lot of fun, has a pretty cool soundtrack, and c’mon who doesn’t love the Sanderson Sisters. It has always been a movie tradition that my sister and I shared, made even better when my nieces came along and we got to share it with them.

When I found out about Hocus Pocus 2, I could not wait. And with it, I created a new tradition by sharing the movie (and the original, since she had not seen that) with my mother.

Go big or go home is my motto haha… So of course I had to get a bunch of Hocus Pocus paraphernalia for our evening’s fun…

And with it some yummy treats…

A couple of years ago, I found that the first movie had been turned into a book, and with that book, the story of Hocus Pocus 2 was included. Now, I know that there are some good and bad reviews out there about the book, and truth is that it is HARD to turn a good movie into a good book without missing out on nuances that people who loved it will want included, but for a short, fast, fun read, the book is worth taking a look at. I think they could have done more, of course, and I think some of the descriptions did not do the actions of the movie justice, but it will always be a beloved book on my shelf.

I was even more intrigued by the second story “The All-New Sequel” because, as with most of the books and movies I enjoy, I had always been curious what happened next. What happened between Max and Allison? Did Dani grow up to be the cool girl I expected her to be? How long did it take “Ice” and Jay to be released from the cages? Were the Sisters really gone? (Though I knew the answer was no based on the way it ended.)

The book brought back so many of these characters I loved and shared a new part of their story, years later, with Max and Allison married – with a kid – and Dani definitely the aunt everyone wish they had. Of course the story was out of what happened that night, but most didn’t believe. Only the people who LIVED it knew the real truth. And during the book we were able to see how that night left its toll on each person, and how that toll invaded its way into the lives of their children. And, of course, in that book, the Sisters come back to wreck even more havoc.

So, of course, excitement for the second movie, wanting to see how they turned that story into another cult classic.

Except it wasn’t that story.

It was completely different.

Let’s try to look past Midler’s very plastic face, Kathy’s weight loss (that left her looking beautiful in real life but left her just looking wrong as Mary), and Sarah’s weird eyebrow thing. Oh and the iffy soundtrack.

The second book centered around Poppy, the child of Allison and Max, with them, and others from that Halloween night as part of the story, including her parents, along with a few new characters. Like Poppy’s two friends, one of which she has a crush on. They find themselves bored at a party, and because Poppy wants to impress her crush, she takes her to the Sanderson Sister’s home and… well… the Sisters come back to life and they have to save the day from the problem they caused in the first place. (Sound familiar?)

The second movie did not include them at all. Instead we have some neat Sisters backstory, which makes the end make complete sense, and a new batch of people for the Sisters to rail against based on that backstory. We see a new side of Winifred and an understanding of how much her sisters mean to her, and what she is willing to do to be the most powerful person… or to get revenge… which both seem to go hand in hand with her. And we see where her anger and revenge gets her. We also meet three young ladies who go to school together, two of which felt abandoned by one, but the story brings them together, as all good wholesome endings do.

They should have taken more time with the story. But then I’ve always thought that about movie number one as well.

I’m a bit disappointed with the end, but as always with Disney movies, a lesson is learned. For everyone, if I’m honest.

The end left us with potential for a third movie, though without the Sanderson Sisters (they would not make it another 30 years) – ya know, like Ghostbusters did without Venkman, Ray, Egon, and Winston. And I’d probably watch that one as well.

Would I watch it again? Yeah. But I would still feel wanting for more…

like the story I expected based on the book.


Meghan: Hey, Danger! Welcome welcome welcome!! What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Danger: Eating candy. Duh. I don’t have kids so I gotta buy all my own candy though. I’m an adult though so I suppose I could do that at any time. Hmm. Why haven’t I thought of that before. I could be eating candy for dinner every day!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Danger: I have a black cat so I use it as a day to pay tribute to him. Usually by carving his face onto a pumpkin.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Danger: I mean, I’m into horror stuff all year round, so it’s cool that there’s a month/holiday for other people to get spooky with me.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Danger: I have to brush my teeth before I go to bed. I don’t know if that’s a superstition or just basic hygiene, but if I don’t do it, then I feel real icky.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Danger: Frankenstein. HE’S JUST MISUNDERSTOOD. Unlike Dracula who is just a straight-up dick.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Danger: I don’t follow this kind of stuff too much, but I did watch this fascinating documentary called Casting JonBenet on Netflix that is less about the actual crime and more about how the people audition for a reenactment of the JonBenet story feel about the crime. It’s hard to explain, but it’s more about people’s fascination and interpretation of the truth than it is about the actual truth. Very interesting film.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Danger: Pop Rocks and Coke. My cousin’s best friend from grade school died that way.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Danger: None. Fuck those guys.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Danger: First horror movie I remember scaring me was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I had a cousin who was obsessed with Freddy Krueger growing up. He even made his own knife glove.

My first horror books were Goosebumps, though I only got to read a few. My mom stopped buying them for me pretty quick, not because of the content, but because I was reading them too fast and she didn’t have the money. I was in like 3rd grade when she handed me a copy of Jurassic Park and was like, “There, that should keep you occupied for a while.”

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Danger: I don’t get scared by books or movies, generally speaking. I usually have a difficult time removing myself from the edifice of it. Especially as a creator myself, I’m always thinking about the process that goes into a story (or a scene in a movie, or a performance, or any aspect of how these things are put together) so I rarely find myself so immersed that I actually am scared of what I’m reading/seeing.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Danger: Same answer as above, though I will add a few movies that I did find actually scary were Melancholia – the Lars von Trier film – and Vivarium. These are more about existential horrors though. Movies that make me reflect back on my own life choices and experiences are the ones that hit hardest for me.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Danger: Last year I put on my girlfriends kimono and a captain’s hat and was just a ‘good time party dude’ and it was comfortable as hell.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Danger: Halloween by the Misfits, of course.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat?

Danger: Kit Kats are the best. I’m trying to eat every flavor. Did you know there are over 300? Crazy!

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Danger. It is ALWAYS a pleasure. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Danger: You’re talking about movies that specifically take place on Halloween, right? In that case:

Donnie Darko
Halloween III
The Nightmare Before Christmas
House of 1000 Corpses
Tales of Halloween

Danger Slater is the Wonderland Award-winning writer of I Will Rot Without You and several other books that haven’t won awards, but are okay still. He lives in Portland, OR with his cat and his girlfriend.

I Will Rot Without You
Meet Ernie. His life is a mess. Gretchen’s gone, and the apartment they once shared is this grey, grim city is now overrun with intelligent mold and sinister bugs.

Then his neighbor Dee shows up, so smart and lovely. If he can just get past the fact that her jealous boyfriend could reach out of her blouse and punch him in the face at any moment, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Unfortunately for all involved, a Great Storm is coming and it will wash away everything we’ve ever known about the human heart.

Impossible James
My father was dying. There was no hope. Then he took a screwdriver to the brain. Got pregnant. And found the cure for death.

Impossible? That’s my dad.

Impossible James

My Disney Vacation AKA Why I’m Behind on Posts

It’s inevitable. Every October, no matter what I do, no matter how much I plan or don’t plan, no matter how ahead of the game I am, something ALWAYS happens which leaves me behind on posts.

I don’t blame my Disney Vacation, as I worked that into my schedule – at least the idea of it – months ago. What I didn’t “plan” was leaving the plug to my laptop at home on my desk, ready to put in my bag.

I know NOW why that happened. I make a point the night before any trip to plug in ALL of my electronics (phone, watch, iPad, laptop, Kindle) so that everything is fully charged before we leave. Sitting next to the pile of electronics is a Vera Bradley bag that I use to hold all of these plugs, as well as the two Vera Bradley bags that hold, for the most part, all of my electronics (minus my phone and watch, of course).

For this particular vacation, for some unfathomable reason, I decided to pack all of my electronics the night before, and I didn’t pack them at my desk like I usually do. Hence, all plugs not making it to Orlando… and my laptop going dead the night we arrived.

Since it IS my excuse, I might as well share the fun I had…

Anyone who knows me (and it doesn’t have to be that you know me well) knows that I am… obsessed, for lack of a better word… with Disney. It’s not just the happiest place on earth, but truly my happy place. Now that we’re living in Florida, I get to go a lot more than I have in the past, and I take full advantage of my Passholder status.

One of the perks of being a Passholder is that, every few months, they offer another free character magnet at Epcot. I don’t always make it up there to grab mine (you have to go to the park), but it is something that I am working to rectify.

This character magnet, to go with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, was Chef Minnie. And I adore Minnie.

We had not been to the Food & Wine Festival yet, and it was a lot of fun. A lot less flowers, sadly, than the Flower & Garden Festival, which we have gone to the last two years, as our birthdays (we now take a yearly birthday trip) fall during that festival, but lovely nonetheless.

Eating and drinking around the world is always a lot of fun, and with thirty plus kiosks to choose from, we definitely weren’t disappointed. Travel Tip: Buy one of each and share, and don’t make a reservation for meals. We learned this during the Flower & Garden Festival. They give you enough of a portion that a party of two or three will have the opportunity to taste and enjoy the item, without leaving you so stuffed that you want nothing else to eat, and it’s a lot easier on the wallet.

I highly recommend stopping by each one, especially the China and Japan one (in their respective pavilions), as their food was especially good this year. Canada had an apple orchard theme for both their kiosk and wine tasting (which were actually housed in the theater they do their movie in), and everything we tasted was delicious. (Who can say no to an Apple Pie Ale? Certainly not me.)

After having such a good time doing the Easter Egg Hunt when we were there last, we decided to join Remy for his Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. For under $8, you can purchase a map and stickers, then set off throughout the park to find Remy and his ingredients. Once you find him, you place the matching sticker on your map, and when it is completed, there are several stores you can go to in order to receive your prize.

These were TOUGH. With the Easter eggs, they were a relatively good size, but these are small Remys that are sometimes hard to see. I had to get a clue from a couple of different people, especially at the beginning, as the places he’s hiding in the front of the park are not actually mapped well. (Want a hint? Look up. All of them were located above my head. And all of the places, except two, have Remy outside.)

I think that this is a fantastic idea, as well as the Easter Egg Hunt, because it gives families a chance to do something together, and it keeps the children occupied when they begin to get bored or tired.

This year’s prize was a travel mug. There are four designs: Chef Minnie, Chef Mickie, Chef Remy, and Chef Figment. I can’t tell you how hard this was to pick, as all four characters are loved in my household.

Much to my mother’s dismay, we have go to visit the Imagination Institute once a trip (she should be thankful I don’t drag her to it every time we set foot in Epcot, as it is one of my favorite rides, and has been since I was a child).

Interestingly enough, with all of her eye rolling (haha), she saw something this time that she had not noticed before – so maybe… just maybe… Figment is wearing off on her.

My favorite part of any trip to Epcot is the gardens. I absolutely love seeing how things have changed, and find it very interesting how they keep them up and change them with the seasons.

There is actually a behind-the-scenes tour of Epcot that is specifically focused on the gardens, which I highly recommended. It happens during the Flower & Garden Festival each year. It is extra, and a ticket to the park is required, but they take you into the park before it opens, so you get to explore without anyone there. One of their horticulturists comes with you to point things out and show you how they keep their gardens looking so gorgeous, and the gentleman that took us around gave us lots of tips. The best part is that you get to go back into the World Showcase when no one is there (that part opens after the front half, for those of y’all who don’t know), which means no crowds, and you get a chance to take some gorgeous pictures, as well as see some things that are not always available to the public. If you are a gardener and love Disney, this is something you should definitely put in your plans.

The Canada Pavilion always has the most gorgeous gardens. They are called the Victoria Gardens and are inspired by Butchart Gardens of British Columbia. “These gardens are a reminder and a reflection of horticulture as a work of art and a labor of love.”

The Mexico Pavilion, on the complete opposite side of the park, also has some beautiful gardens, especially the Rainforest Garden, which is alongside the ramp that takes you up into the side of the giant building. It is so peaceful here, even with people going up and down the ramp at different times, and is one of my most favorite places to visit when we are there.

Japan is one of the pavilions that you absolutely have to take time to explore. I knew of the koi pond, but until I was searching for Remy this year, I had never gone up the steps to the left side (surrounding the building where they do the drum show) until now. It is absolutely gorgeous back there, and even though there were tons of people in this pavilion, back by these bridges, you couldn’t hear any of them. (It’s always nice to find a little bit of peace in a very loud world.)

There is one more MUST visit when it comes to Epcot. The Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in Norway. We found this place back in April – they have an absolutely amazing (and gorgeous) rainbow cheesecake – and vowed that every time we were here, we would stop there for a treat once per trip.

This year, after I came across an article on All Ears about someone’s top ten favorite sweets that can be found at Walt Disney World, I knew what I wanted to try. It’s called the School Bread and is a cardamom bun (I love cardamom) with coconut shavings and a dollop of cream on the top, and a little bit different cream (almost a pudding) on the inside, but not so much of it that it’s like a filled donut. It is delicious. My mother purchased an item we tried on a previous visit – a sweet Kringla, which is like a pretzel made of pastry, with a sweet coating on one side and almond slivers (it is so good) – and we shared them while taking a break in a small eating area they have behind the bakery. Sometimes it’s filled when you get back there, but people are always moving in and out, so if you go, give it a few minutes, and someone is bound to get up.

And, of course, no trip is complete to Disney without a Dole Whip.

Well, now that I’m back from my Orlando trip, be prepared to have a whole slew of authors thrown at you at once, as I am almost caught up with all of the posts. Most likely tonight. Here is your warning haha.

I might be a little behind, but the trip, despite forgetting my gosh-darned cord to my cotton-pickin laptop, was well worth it.