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.

2020 Just Keeps Getting Harder

2020 has been an insane year almost from it’s beginning. Each month – can you believe it’s already the beginning of August? – has brought us a new thing to worry about, and sadly we all seem to be waiting with bated breath for the next big thing, almost joking about how it can’t possibly get worse than it already is.

As I sit here waiting for a hurricane – now tropical storm – that may or may not be hitting us (didn’t I go through this last year?), I can’t help but think about just how much loss has happened in this world.

I woke up this morning to the news that Wilford Brimley had died.

Such unfair news in this world today. Wilford Brimley was one of the best, and always will be. A lot of people know him because of The Thing and his Diabetes commercials, but I was obsessed with The Waltons and Our House growing up because of this man. And I watched the VHS tapes we had of Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return so much that they started to deteriorate.

He was the loving and caring person that he portrayed on TV and the world will truly miss his talent and his heart. It hurts that things seemed to stand in the way of me getting to meet him again, as every convention that we were both going to be attending, either he had to back out of or I did. But just having met him once was enough to know the man that he was.

This just days after the horror community found out about the loss of Jon Recluse.

He was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. A really good friend. Someone who meant the world to me.

People have tried discussing the loss with me, people who knew how much he meant to me, how much I admired him, but I just can’t right now. Losing a friend is hard, but losing a friend that truly inspired people in this world, a friend that had a lot more to give, is just hard. So so hard.

We originally met on Goodreads, what seems like eons ago. He was always there for a conversation about books, and there were many times that we messaged into the wee hours about a book one or both of us were reading. He was such a horror connoisseur, and a really dedicated fan. There wasn’t much about horror he didn’t know, and he was spot-on every time he recommended I read something, after learning that I loved something else. His reviews were always so thought out, so perfect. He was such an asset to the horror community, and I actually feel more for the people who never got the chance to get to know him, having never had that experience, than the people who knew him and loved him who are now grieving.

Somehow our friendship ended up going beyond just books, almost like we were just meant to know each other. Even when he was down, he was there when people were having a bad time of this or that, and would defend those who were treated poorly with everything he had. He was my biggest supporter, and he made me feel important, made me feel strong, just knowing that was how he saw me in this world. He would never let me give up on what I loved, and would remind me how much I was hurting myself (and others) by taking a step back, reminded me that I was better than that. I didn’t always listen to his advice, didn’t always be the friend that he needed, no matter how hard I tried. His loss is crushing.

We talked about family – his and mine – and I don’t think he ever recovered from the deaths of his sweet dog (his brother) and his mom. I’m happy to know that he is with them again, and that thought brings me comfort.

In my sadness, I try to remind myself of what my priest told me when my father died: On that day, there was a child being born, and God looked everywhere – in heaven and on earth – for the perfect guardian angel, and when he saw Jon, he just knew. Having known Jon the way I did, I can tell you that he would be the perfect guardian angel, and I hope that the baby he is watching over today lives a long and happy life, one filled with love, friendship, and definitely a love for horror.

Maybe the two are up there together now…