As audiences attempt to decode the many easter eggs and references in Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2, many other viewers will be eagerly awaiting their next fix of family-friendly holiday adventures to fill the movie’s hole. Luckily, there are plenty of great movies that adopt a similar tone and style to the latest Hocus Pocus sequel.
One of the most entertaining things about Hocus Pocus and its sequel is their ability to have fun with themselves without taking the story or the characters too seriously. The films know exactly what space they’re designed to occupy, and that’s why so many audiences resonate strongly with them.
10/10 The Witches (2020)
It’s not just the subject matter of Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches that will remind audiences of Hocus Pocus, but also the film’s camp storytelling and over-the-top theatrics. Based on the Roald Dahl story of the same name, The Witches subverts plenty of familiar tropes to craft a fun and engaging narrative that the whole family can enjoy.
Whilst The Witches certainly draws a lot of inspiration from Hocus Pocus, there are also a lot of differences. Zemeckis’ film revels more in the melodrama than the comedy, whereas the Hocus Pocus franchise is well-known for its sharp quips and slapstick humor.
9/10 The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Wizard of Oz predates both Hocus Pocus movies by several decades, but there are a surprising number of similarities between the two films that most audiences may not catch. Not only do they both deal with witchcraft, but they both use eccentric characters and lively music to make their stories engaging for a younger audience.
The Wizard of Oz was one of the most influential movies ever made, so it’s not surprising that so many modern classics contain traces of its DNA in some form. Hocus Pocus is just one example of this, owing much of its success to Victor Fleming’s 1939 framework.
8/10 Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Although the other movies in the Harry Potter franchise adopt a much darker and more mature tone, there’s something about the original installment that still feels magical today. It’s much lighter in tone, a lot more colorful, and boasts a narrative that’s pretty much contained to this particular story.
Hocus Pocus fans will discover plenty to love with the first Harry Potter movie – if there isn’t a huge overlap between fandoms already. Whilst The Sorcerer’s Stone is part of something much bigger than Hocus Pocus, there’s no denying the surface-level similarities.
7/10 Goosebumps (2015)
Hocus Pocus is a prime example of a great not-so-scary Halloween movie, and Rob Letterman’s Goosebumps definitely feels like a continuation of this subgenre for a brand-new age. It’s both funny and exciting, recounting a fictional story about R.L. Stine’s books that fans of the author will surely appreciate.
Goosebumps shines mostly thanks to Jack Black’s hugely entertaining lead performance, stealing the show whenever he appears and bringing every single scene to life. He keeps the film afloat even when it begins to drift into the absurd, clearly reveling in the story’s silliness.
6/10 Paranorman (2012)
For many of today’s children, Paranorman played a huge role in their Halloween movie-watching traditions. Filled with fine-tuned humor and a well-crafted plot, the film knows exactly how to grab the audience’s attention and take them on a brisk journey through an unforgettable world.
Films like Paranorman have often been cited as this generation’s Hocus Pocus – an instant staple of the genre that might not be the most critically acclaimed out there, but whose dedication to flair and style made thousands of families fall in love with it.
5/10 Beetlejuice (1988)
There are plenty of reasons that Beetlejuice has become so deeply entrenched in pop culture over the years, and Michael Keaton’s memorable lead performance is merely one of those. He gives 100% effort in every single scene, transforming Beetlejuice into one of the most iconic movie antagonists ever.
Beetlejuice is also filled to the brim with Tim Burton’s excessive style and boldness, never fearing to wander too far into the unconventional. It’s this confidence and dedication that makes Beetlejuice one of Michael Keaton’s best films ever and a worthy addition to the family-friendly spooky genre.
4/10 Dark Shadows (2012)
Dark Shadows is another great soft horror from auteur director Tim Burton, telling the story of a rich playboy named Barnabas Collins who finds himself turned into a vampire in the fallout of a particularly nasty romance. The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green in two of their most amusing roles to date.
Although Tim Burton’s unique style is pretty distinct from the lighthearted tone of the Hocus Pocus films, Dark Shadows still has that colorful flair and excessive melodrama that they both share. Though Burton’s films might be aimed at slightly older audiences, this might simply come at a later stage in life for those same Hocus Pocus fans.
3/10 Into The Woods (2014)
Into The Woods is one of the most rewatchable movie musicals out there thanks to its catchy music and captivating storytelling, which brings to life a stylish fairytale of magic, witchcraft, and dark curses. It has everything that a Hocus Pocus fan could want, including a tendency to poke fun at its own campiness.
Much like the Hocus Pocus films, Into The Woods also features a trilogy of fantastic female performances at its center that really bring the film to life and allow these actresses to fully let loose, embracing the films own eccentricity.
2/10 A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Lemony Snicket’s original series of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” stories remain popular today, with many people citing the author as one of the greatest children’s writers ever. Brad Silberling’s 2004 adaptation features all the style and confidence of Snicket’s works, propelled by a hilarious lead performance from Jim Carrey.
Though A Series of Unfortunate Events lacks the magic and supernatural elements of Hocus Pocus, the film makes up for that by crafting a much more human, grounded story about parenthood and independence that shines through in spite of the story’s silly tone.
1/10 Matilda (1996)
Most audiences will know Danny Devito from his iconic comedy roles, but the actor proved in 1996 that he’s just as talented behind the camera as he is in front of it. Matilda is another adaptation of Roald Dahl’s successful works, telling a story of ambition and success that many children grew up on.
Much like Hocus Pocus and its sequel, Matilda manages to tell a mature and thoughtful story whilst still containing enough comedy and silliness to keep the younger audiences entertained. Both films perfectly strike the balance of seriousness and silliness to cement themselves as family classics of their era.