Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic
Hocus Pocus in Focus: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Disney’s Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace. September 2016. Pensive Pen Publishing, 206 p. $15.95 ISBN: 099805920X.
“In the first and only book ever written about the beloved 1993 Halloween movie, Aaron Wallace takes readers deep into the world of Hocus Pocus to learn everything they never knew. He provides a lighthearted but scholarly look at the film in its all spooky-kooky glory.
• The fascinating history behind “Come, Little Children (Sarah’s Song)” and “I Put a Spell on You”
• How Steven Spielberg shaped the movie
• Why there’s all that talk about yabbos and virgins
• How Hocus Pocus got away with being the edgiest Disney movie ever made
• Whether a sequel could really happen
• And much, much more
Featuring a foreword by Golden Globe nominee Thora Birch (Hocus Pocus’s Dani), afterword by Mick Garris (the film’s writer and producer), and the largest collection of Hocus Pocus fun facts and trivia ever assembled, this is the ultimate unofficial fan guide for Halloween and movie lovers everywhere. Finally, Hocus Pocus is celebrated as the classic it’s become. You’ll love the movie more than you ever knew you could.” — Publisher’s Description
Just in time for Halloween, Hocus Pocus in Focus is the second book in a series of “thinking fan’s guides” by author Aaron Wallace. Keeping true to the formula he developed in The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World (reviewed here), Mr. Wallace closely examines the 1993 film on a variety of levels. While some might be leery that a “campy” 1990s film can warrant an entire book, Mr. Wallace is able to fill his 206 pages with a wealth of information and trivia included with some in-depth analysis to make it worth the read.
Without giving away too many of the details (What fun would it be for you to read then?), Mr. Wallace is able to take apart the plot, settings, and intimate details of the film and allow you to look at it from an entirely new perspective. You can see after reading how this was really an atypical Disney film, even for the “new look” Michael Eisner Disney of the 1990s. By placing itself in the context of Disney trying to branch out and expand to more audiences, Hocus Pocus was actually rather groundbreaking for the company. Learning about the inner workings of the production, how certain elements of horror, suspense, and established movie tropes blended together, and the immense love of the cast for the film really brings the importance and the love for this film “in focus”.
All that said, Hocus Pocus in Focus is definitely a book primarily for the hardcore fans of the film as the smaller details would be lost on a casual fan who had only seen it a few times. However, it is also accessible to those who are interested in film (specifically Disney films!) in general. It’s well worth doing yourself a favor and following the author’s advice to watch Hocus Pocus both before and after reading as both a preparation for the details in the book, as well as being able to look for everything discussed after! I did this myself, as I believe the last time I saw Hocus Pocus was close to 15 years ago and it was well worth it!
Many thanks to Pensive Pen Publishing and Aaron Wallace for the opportunity to read and review Hocus Pocus in Focus.
Four of Five Stars
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