Hocus Pocus #MovieReview

Hocus Pocus Synopsis: After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to their reign of terror once and for all.

Release Date: 07/16/1993 | Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min. | Coolthulhus Earned: 4 out of 5

Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw, and Sean Murray






Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite movies. Halloween just gives me a excuse to watch it more than normal. It’s a perfect family watch for the season with just the right mix of scariness, humour and action. I will say one thing, though, its PG rating is well-earned. Near the beginning there are some scenes that could be a little intense for younger viewers. If you want to take a peek under the spoiler tag I’ll lay them out for you so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Spoiler Tidbit

There is also some very light swearing, I believe the only two that are used are ‘damn’ and ‘hell’.

For being evil witches they are also hilarious. I’m not that big of a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker but in this movie she’s hilarious as the scatter-brained Sarah Sanderson. Some of the funniest scenes are just her being a goofball in the background while the main action is taking place. Kathy Najimy is awesome as the ‘nice’ sister, Mary Sanderson. Bette Midler is in fine ‘ Ye Olde Broad’ form as the eldest sister, Winifred Sanderson. Even though the main focus of the movie is on the kids the Sanderson Sisters are given equal screen time and are the real ‘stars’. Which maybe is a little unfair since the actresses have a lot more comedic acting under their belts. It’s also a little unusual since the villains, particularly in movies made for kids, usually have less screen time to keep them more mysterious and scary. Here you see the Sanderson Sisters in all of their bumblingly evil glory. While you don’t exactly root for them (y’know, because of the whole kid soul-sucking thing) they’re a hell of a good time to watch.

The three kids Max (Omri Katz, Eerie Indiana), Alison (Vinessa Shaw) and Dani (Thora Birch, The Hole) are pretty capable with their parts. Even though Max is nominally the focus of the three, Alison and Dani have more than enough charisma to keep from getting over-shadowed. Of the three Max is probably the more stereotypical ‘teenager’ than the other two. He hates the new town they’ve moved to (didn’t see that coming) and argues a bit with his younger sister. They could have easily made Alison be the ‘mean rich girl’ but instead they decided to make her intelligent, confident and not overly sex-kitten looking. Which is a nice change of pace. Dani is perhaps the hardest to like, particularly at the start of the movie. She’s bratty and bossy but that slowly fades after the first ten minutes or so. She’s still bossy but not a total bratsicle. They balance her traits pretty nicely because if she had remained a brat the whole way through then I would have willingly thrown her to the witches.

Thackery Binx (Sean Murray, NCIS) does a great job in both his (short) human roles and doing the voice-over work for the cursed feline the witches turn him into. For the longest time I always thought his name was Zachary and I was mis-hearing him. Then I discovered subtitles but still thought his name was Zachary and the subtitles were getting it wrong (they’re not perfect). Then I found IMDB where I learned that his name, indeed, is Thackery. I just have one queston…why?? It’s not a name! Maybe because it sounds old-fashioned but it’s not even a name! Try it, right now. Start typing in Thackery and you’ll either bring up Thackery Binx or the author.

They keep the action moving along nicely and of course we get a wonderful Bette Midler song. It amused me that while checking some things on the movie I found out that apparently I’m not the only one who had a mini-crush on the Skeleton Guy singing at the party the parents go to. This is not to downplay Sarah Jessica Parker though, who sings the song that hypnotizes children. Creatively titled Sarah’s Theme. I personally think that Sarah’s Lullaby would have been a better title but that’s just me. She does her own singing and does a great job of making the song soothing and creepy at the same time.

There are a few things that take it down just a wee bit in that I can’t give it five stars but they are minor so think of it as more like a 4.5 score. It’s mostly Dani. She’s a freaking brat. From throwing a screech fit to get Max to take her trick or treating and just about getting him beat up by the neighborhood bullies, in the first ten to fifteen minutes she’s annoying. Luckily that fades and for the rest of the movie she can be pretty dang funny.

It’s a great movie to watch whether you’re ten or…as old as I am.

The Lords of Salem (#Horror)

 The Lords of Salem Synopsis: Heidi, a radio DJ, is sent a box containing a record – a “gift from the Lords”. The sounds within the grooves trigger flashbacks of her town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the Lords back to take revenge on Salem, Massachusetts?

Tagline: The Lords Are Coming

Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Meg Foster


Soundtrack Available: Amazon




The Lords of Salem Review

Ah, Rob Zombie. How up and down our relationship has been. Well, one-sided relationship. I love your music. I haven’t heard the latest one but holy hell, What a title. Movies however, have been up and down. I loved ‘House of 1000 Corpses‘. I wasn’t too crazy about the sequel, ‘The Devil’s Rejects‘. Apparently I’m in the minority on that one. I’ll give you some leeway with the Halloween remake and it’s sequel as I know you didn’t have full artistic control. Which brings me to The Lords of Salem.

Again, I believe I’m slightly in the minority on this one, I loved it. I think people do Sheri Moon Zombie a disservice. I hear the usual snarky stuff about how she wouldn’t be an actress if it weren’t for her husband. And people love to point to the fact that she’s not been in any other movies. I haven’t heard from her one way or the other but it’s possible she doesn’t want to do any others. I would love to see her in something else, though, because I think she would surprise a lot of people. Her roles have been varied throughout the Zombie movies she’s been in and she performs each one admirably. She’s scary as the psychotic ‘Baby’ in House of 1000 Corpses. I loved her interview question. They asked if she enjoyed the stabby part of it. Her answer? “No! And I don’t think I’d want to meet anyone who would!”. In Halloween she wavers between a sympathetic mom and a mom you kind of want to yell at. I have yet to see 31.

In Lords of Salem, however, she’s someone you desperately want to root for. You can see her playfulness in the DJ scenes and her attempt to make it through her addiction problem. But you also get a sense of impending dread and doom hanging over her as the Forces That Be Evil coalesce around her. And, since it’s a Zombie movie, you can pretty much tell that things will not end well for poor Heidi.

The pace keeps along quite well. There are maybe one or two laggy parts but even they move along at a decent clip. Zombie has a flair for imagery. Some of the best parts might as well be still shots because they’re clips that are just so visual they don’t seem to be a part of a motion picture. Zombie also always has a (not too surprising considering his background) knack for joining the music well with the movie scenes. And, to give him credit, although he usually does write a song for his movies, they are never prominently displayed throughout, They are typically reserved for the credit roll.

Watching Zombie’s movies you can tell that he has a great love for the classic horror movies. His former band used to be called White Zombie after the 1932 Bela Lugosi zombie flick. The Lords of Salem definitely has overtones of the Christopher Lee movie – City of the Dead (Horror Hotel is it’s alternate title). And he can’t say he hasn’t seen it. In the intro to Dragula there’s a direct quote from Christopher Lee from the movie.

I know, I know. You didn’t come here to listen to me ramble about the music. You want to hear about the movie. The only reason I’ve gone so in-depth is because it’s rather hard to separate the two. Especially since a bit of the movie revolves around a radio station.

Heidi is very likable and really the only fault I can find in the character itself was the choice to make her an ex-junkie. It seemed kind of unnecessary to the plot as it didn’t add much to it. Her interactions with the other characters are great, particularly the chemistry between her and Herman Jackson (Ken Foree). Her chemistry with Bruce Davison is great, too and it’s a shame there’s so little of it in the movie. In fact, the only chemistry that I found lacking was that between her and Herman ‘Whitey’ Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips). He seemed to be a love interest, at least in the past and seemed to want to pick it up again. Heidi’s feelings seem to be a bit more ambiguous until the end. But they never seemed to click for me. I honestly couldn’t see why she liked him. And he seemed rather ambivalent throughout. Some of my favorite scenes are the three DJ’s in the radio station. They seem to be having so much fun together.

One of the main complaints I’ve heard was that Zombie didn’t use the town of Salem to full effect. I think it showed a bit grungier side that tourists overlook and the Chamber of Commerce is very happy to not have thrust to the forefront. I think it works well. It seems to me to subvert it’s current reputation for being of the benign Wiccans and Neo-Pagans. The grungy side is where you would find the true evil of The Lords lurking.

To me, the movie and it’s scenes flow together smoothly. Which might sound strange as it can be choppy at times. But the choppiness comes in only when Heidi is slowly falling under the spell of The Lords and reality is getting harder and harder to hang onto. There are also two scenes which one of them I found unnecessary

and the other slightly giggle-inducing.

For all it’s weirdness I couldn’t help but be drawn in. And the end scene? It’s Zombie using his visual imagery at it’s best. And the music that plays through is perfect (All Tomorrow’s Parties’ by The Velvet Underground). The wrap-up reminds me strongly of the ending of Night of the Living Dead but in the light of an homage, not a rip-off.

I would certainly recommend it but it seems to be a love it or hate it type of movie so be warned. There are also two scenes that may be intense. The following is hidden for spoilers but they could also be triggering for some viewers so please take a look. Without the context they’re only light spoilers 


It’s not a subtle movie. But when has Rob Zombie ever been accused of being subtle?

3 out of 5 Skulls



Wicked Witches (Horror Anthology)

Title: Wicked Witches | Author: edited by Scott T. Goudsward, David Price and Daniel G. Keohane | Publisher: NEHW Press | Pub. Date: 10/11/2016 | Pages: 328 | ISBN13: 9780998185408 | Genre: Horror Anthology | Language: English | Triggers: Child abuse, miscarriage, witch-burning | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received from Netgalley for an honest review


Wicked Witches

New England has a rich, dark history with the supernatural. From this region many writers of dark fiction have fueled their stories. One chapter in history has been the stuff of legends and nightmares: the Witch. Look to ancient mythology or your next door neighbor and you will find them, practicing arts both Dark and Light. The New England Horror Writers proudly present a new anthology which pays tribute to those whose ancestors were accused, hung, pressed, drowned, or burned at the stake. Enter these pages, wander the hard roads of Colonial America or modern corporate boardrooms, to face the Witch. Wicked Witches, fiction from New England’s most talented writers: G.D. Dearborn, Barry Lee Dejasu, Peter N. Dudar, Jeremy Flagg, Joshua Goudreau, Catherine Grant, Jan Kozlowski, Patrick Lacey, Izzy Lee, Nick Manzolillo, John McIlveen, Paul McMahon, James A. Moore, Errick A. Nunnally, Ogmios, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Doug Rinaldi, Rob Smales, Morgan Sylvia, K.H. Vaughan, Morven Westfield and Trisha J. Wooldridge Introduction by Penny Dreadful; Cover art by Mikio Murakami – Goodreads

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Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #7

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

02/11/2017 – 02/17/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

Each day I’ll be reading one story per day with a weekly wrap-up on Fridays. If you missed the first post you can find it here.

So let’s dive in to this week’s bloody pool of horror. Better hold your breath.

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