A paranormal expert and his daughter bunk in an abandoned house populated by three mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.
"Casper" doesn't get the credit it deserves today, but the children's film was a blockbuster in 1995 and a major breakthrough for CG characters. The film grossed over $287 million globally at the box office. How could you not love the friendly Casper? Back in 1995, San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle called the film lovable:
This doesn't usually happen to me, but 15 minutes before the end of "Casper" I suddenly realized that if I didn't take a deep breath and distance myself from this movie right away, I was going to start sobbing -- sobbing in the middle of a theater packed with 300 happy 8-year-olds.
A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.
"Hocus Pocus" puts a spell on everyone who watches the film. While it wasn't a huge box office hit like "Casper," the film has built a cult following years and years of play on cable. Millennials stan the film. After all, back in 1993, The Seattle Times' Jeff Shannon wrote that the film was magical:
The fun of "Hocus Pocus" comes not from its carefree plot, but from the way Ortega, Midler & Co. have used it as a springboard for zaniness, without slowing the story.
Some will justifiably argue that the film lacks the purity of such similar Disney classics as "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" while co-opting the studio's finest resources for astounding set design and special effects. And with Midler involved, the one-liners are occasionally less than innocent.
But "Hocus Pocus" remains a delightful family comedy, spooky but never scary as it romps its merry way through the graveyard. Here's hoping it doesn't bomb.