Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Halloween Movies Was Critically Panned, But Became A Cult Classic?

Beetlejuice
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Hocus Pocus
The Exorcist

Answer: Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus (1993) is a comedy horror/fantasy film starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters—three witches captured and hung in Salem, Massachusetts who, hundreds of years later, are resurrected on Halloween night by the inadvertent meddling of a virginal teenage male when he lights the Black Flame Candle.

The film is now an absolute cult classic, with many people rewatching the film with the same regularity that others watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer around the holidays.

When released, the film was critically panned by the New York Times, The Associated Press, and Siskel and Ebert gave it one sad star, with Ebert writing:

The witches are led by Bette Midler, who knows a good line of dialogue when she hears one, and must have suspected that she wasn’t hearing many from this screenplay, because she goes into her hyper mode and tries to use noise as a substitute for acting. Her sidekicks, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, are more fortunate, in that they are given less to do.

Ouch. With that kind of scorn, what turned the tide for the film such that it’s now a beloved Halloween staple? Well, despite critics savaging the film as unpolished and a poor fit for both kids and adults alike, it turns out that kids and adults loved watching it together. The film has been run annually, appearing on ABC Family (now Freeform) and the Disney Channel while also getting plenty of replays on various other networks every year. In 2011 alone, 2.8 million people tuned in to watch the movie on ABC Family (making it one of the consistently highest rated titles in their entire Halloween lineup).

So perhaps the real question isn’t why the movie achieved cult film status, but why the critics contemporary to its release were unable to see the genius of casting Bette Midler as a crazy eyed, loud, child-stealing witch flanked by adorably incompetent lackeys and put up against the foil of teenagers teamed up with a talking cat.

Trivia

Hard

The Japanese Style Of Horizontally-Read Emoticons Are Called?

Trivia

Hard

At The Top Of The First Escalator Installed In London, An Attendant Would Offer Shoppers?

Trivia

Hard

Which Handheld Game System Sold Less Than 5,000 Units Upon Release?

Trivia

Hard

The Phrase “Ground Rules” Originated In?

Trivia

Hard

The Costume Design Of The Ewoks In The Star Wars Universe Was Based On?

Trivia

Hard

Which Computer Engineer Is Best Known For Giving The Mother Of All Demos?

Trivia

Hard

In Japan, You Can Find Hundreds Of Variations Of Which Of These American Candies?

Trivia

Hard

The Belief Electric Fans Cause “Fan Death” Is A Persistent Urban Legend In?

Trivia

Hard

Before Mike Judge, The Creator Of King Of The Hill, Was A Cartoonist He?

Trivia

Hard

The Costumes Of Which Sci-Fi Show Proved So Painful The Cast Campaigned For An Upgrade?