Many a witch’s moon has passed since Hocus Pocus made its theatrical debut in 1993. The film became an instant Halloween classic, thanks to the trio of frighteningly funny witches known as the Sanderson Sisters. After years of clamoring for a sequel, fans will finally have their wish granted when Hocus Pocus 2 releases on Disney+ on September 30, 2022. With only a month to go, fans are anxious to see if the long-awaited film can live up to the contagious magic of the original.
A slew of fan fiction scripts and story ideas have been floating around the internet for years. That said, expectations are high for Hocus Pocus 2. Will Disney deliver the endearing sequel that spellbound fans have been hoping for? Let’s take a quick look at some essential ingredients Hocus Pocus 2 needs to bring to the cauldron in order to live up to the otherworldly hype.
The Original Sanderson Sisters Are Back
This may seem like a given, but for years the return of everybody’s favorite spooky trio wasn’t a sure thing. Disney is well-known for capitalizing on the success of a film by churning out a sequel, even if the original stars aren’t attached to the project. Thankfully, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker will all be returning to haunt the land of the living once more.
Yet, there’s simply more to the successful return of these beloved characters than securing the original actors. Though maintaining casting integrity is essential, it is also paramount to develop a script that allows the characters to remind us of why we fell in love with them in the first place.
A Return to Salem, Massachusetts
When it comes to crazed witches and enduring curses, no place in the United States lays a better claim than Salem, Massachusetts. As most know, Salem is a town with deep roots in witches and magic. In fact, the inhabitants go out of their way to proclaim their history with an annual festival called Salem Haunted Happenings. Hocus Pocus 2 needs to return to the historically haunted town where viewers can once again be emersed in cobblestone streets, old-growth trees, and colonial housing that binds the past to the present. Fortunately, the recent teaser trailer dispelled any fear of the plot taking us outside this spooky little corner of Massachusetts.
Similar to retaining the original cast, truly taking the story back to Salem means more than just setting the scope of the film in that location. The original Hocus Pocus made sure to give the landscape and history of the bewitched town plenty of screen time, helping Salem to become a character all its own.
Hocus Pocus 2 director Anne Fletcher recently confirmed that parts of the film will take place in 1600s New England. The film’s opening sequence focuses on how the Sanderson Sisters came to be the lovably wicked witches we know them as today. From dimly lit streets to disheveled graveyards, Hocus Pocus 2 needs to return the viewer to a town built on a fascination for witches, spells, and all things that go bump in the night.
A Musical Number That Will Put a Spell on You
Though the entire film is widely treasured, perhaps no scene receives more love than the Sanderson Sisters performing their bewitching rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” The musical sequence is thoroughly enjoyable and, in the best way possible, adds that bit of magical color that makes the viewer certain that they are indeed watching a Disney film.
The Sanderson Sisters hope to deliver a similarly spell-binding number in Hocus Pocus 2. This time, the ghoulish trio will be performing “One Way or Another,” originally written and performed by ’70s rock band Blondie. Luckily, audiences don’t have to wait long to discover whether this new performance will become a welcome ear-worm like its predecessor.
A Wicked Sense of Humor
Hocus Pocus wouldn’t be the enduring film it is today without its particular witch’s brew of comedy. Like an over-stuffed candy bag, the movie is filled with hilarious moments sure to generate laughs from kids and adults alike. When Billy, the zombie, cuts free the stitches that have sealed his mouth shut for centuries, he lets loose an immediate flurry of insults toward his ex-lover, Winnie, who bound him to his undead fate:
“Wench! Trollop! You buck-toothed, mop-riding, firefly from hell!”
And who can forget when the Sanderson Sisters think they meet Satan? While looking for Winnie’s spell-book, the sisters find themselves at the house of an elderly man dressed as the devil. Believing him to be the real lord of darkness, the Sandersons gush over his supposed vileness in a scene designed for pure, comedic amusement.
The sequel needs to deliver on laughs. Clever one-liners, witty turns of phrase, and subtle adult jokes that went over the innocent heads of child audiences helped to keep parents tuned into the film’s quirky antics along with their kids. Fans everywhere are whispering quiet incantations in hopes that Hocus Pocus 2 will live up to the wicked humor of the original.
Crunchy Leaves, Costumes, and Everything Autumn
Hocus Pocus 2 needs to feel like Halloween. There is something firmly unquantifiable about the autumnal magic that takes hold around the year’s spookiest holiday. There is a quiet magic that embodies the chilly breeze of the fall and creeps through the corn mazes, electrifying the air with a definitively spooky yet exhilarating sense of potential. It may be hard to define, but you can hear it in the crunch of fallen leaves and smell it with the taste of apple cider.
Hopefully, viewers will see it in every frame of Hocus Pocus 2 when it makes its Disney+ debut on September 30, 2022.