Hocus Pocus

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1993 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 92:13 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Kenny Ortega

Warner Home Video
Starring Bette Midler
Sarah Jessica Parker
Kathy Najimy
Omri Katz
Thora Birch
Vinessa Shaw
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music John Debney

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, very mildly
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    IN SHORT: The three stoogettes do Beetlejuice.

    Three witches are put to death in Salem (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) but are raised from the dead by a virgin lighting a cursed candle on Halloween (a running gag). Mayhem ensues as these three witches try to consolidate their power and keep from turning to dust at dawn.

    I was rather looking forward to this movie, since it sounded like so much fun - I was disappointed. It dragged for the first 30 minutes, and then just remained silly in a dull kind of way. The witches also came back from what appeared to be an impossible situation at about 60 minutes into the film and wreaked more mayhem. Even the great comedic talents of Bette Midler couldn't save this turkey.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is generally clear and sharp, though it falls considerably short of the best contemporary transfers. A significant number of scenes were lacking in the fine detail that I have become accustomed to seeing in the best transfers, almost to the extent of seeming somewhat out of focus. The overall white balance of this transfer was a little on the low side, which contributed to the lack of definition. Shadow detail was lacking, and most shadows were rendered as large areas of blackness. There was no low level noise.

    The colours were very strongly rendered, to the point of oversaturation, particularly in the witches' house. This is one transfer where you may need to back off a little on the colour adjustment to obtain a pleasing picture.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. Film artefacts are present more frequently and more prominently than I would have expected for a film of this vintage. They consisted mainly of white flecks throughout the transfer which were a minor distraction.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue had a processed and ADRed quality about it. Generally, it was not well-integrated with the rest of the soundtrack and at times appeared on the verge of going out of sync. Nonetheless, all the dialogue remained easily understood.

    The score by John Debney was frequently present and was very whimsical, very much in the style of Danny Elfman's work (Beetlejuice).

    The surround channels were used for music but little else - this created a semi-enveloping sound since the music was almost omnipresent, but there was little in the way of special effects in the surrounds.

    The .1 channel had little use.




R4 vs R1

    This disc has not yet been released in Region 1.


    Hocus Pocus disappointed me as a movie.

    The video quality is acceptable without being great.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
21st October 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer