All this makes Hocus Pocus a holiday phenomenon like no other. Well… actually, maybe like one other.

Mariah Carey’s megahit “All I Want for Christmas is You,” released in 1994, rose from an unexceptional part of the Christmas music canon in the 2000s to cultural ubiquity today. Just like Hocus Pocus, no one could have seen its popularity coming at the start of the millennium.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Hocus Pocus and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” came out within one year of each other. TV critic Jen Chaney attributes the success of Hocus Pocus today to 1990s nostalgia. People who saw Hocus Pocus as children are now in their 30s and have their own children, to whom they expose the kitschy movie in turn.

Having watched the movie for the first time recently, I find nostalgia the only plausible explanation, as I have to agree with the critics that it’s not particularly charming on initial watch. I did think Bette Midler was spectacular as Winnie, though. Perhaps I will also find myself bewitched by Hocus Pocus in future screenings.

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