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SYFY WIRE Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus reunion fundraiser summons many famous faces

By Nivea Serrao
Hocus Pocus

It's been 27 years since Hocus Pocus first debuted in theaters, but it seems like the Sanderson Sisters' spell has yet to wear off their fans — or anyone else who's met them, really.

But as the virtual reunion fundraiser held on Friday night quickly proved, there's a reason why fans of the original cult classic movie are still clamoring for a sequel even all these years later, and it has nothing to do with magic.

Organized by host Bette Midler as part of her annual "Hulaween" fundraiser, the event saw the Addams Family 2 actress once again don her fake teeth and join her fellow witchy co-stars Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as they reprised their now-iconic characters Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson for the evening, even putting on the same costumes.

Titled "In Search of the Sanderson Sisters," the scripted special was framed as a mockumentary written and directed by horror-movie hostess Elvira as she went in search of the trio of evil witches in the hopes of bringing them back again, following the same process as in the movie: having a virgin light a Black Flame Candle.

Over the course of its quest to track down the since-defeated witches, the "indie" production encountered a bevy of famous faces, including Meryl Streep, Martin Short, Glenn Close (as Cruella de Vil), Sarah Silverman, George Lopez, and Billy Eichner (as one of Harry Potter's brothers Barry and Garry Potter).

It also featured appearances from some of the movie's original cast, providing fans with an "update" on their characters. Vinessa Shaw appeared as Allison, who remains a Salem native even after the events of the film. She noted that Salem has remained "Sanderson-free" since 1993 (the year the movie came out) and that people now dress up as the three sisters and make jokes about them.

She was soon followed by Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery), once again reprising the witches' zombie boyfriend Billy Butcherson as he recounted the tale of how Winifred sewed his lips shut after seeing him with Sarah, stating, "I never intended to hurt anyone, none of us did … except maybe Winifred." 

Screenshot of Doug Jones in Hocus Pocus Reunion Special

Of course, it wouldn't be a Hocus Pocus reunion without Max and Dani themselves. Omri Katz and Thora Burch joined Elvira as older versions of their characters, unknowingly helping her with her spell to summon the Sanderson Sisters, as Max (who the special made a point of noting remains a virgin even at 44 years old) lit a match that Elvira then used to light the Black Flame Candle.

However, her spell wasn't completely successful, as it only brought back Winifred and Mary, with Sarah remaining missing. Unable to wreak havoc without their sister, both Midler and Najimy's characters went on a quest for their missing sibling, thus prompting a few more celebrity cameos, including Billy Crystal (as his Princess Bride character Max), Kenan Thompson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Kors, Tiffany Hadish, and John Stamos (as a character called "The Master"). The latter, in particular, encouraged Winifred to use her abilities to support a worthy cause, even though it's against who she is and what she believes in.

The event was also peppered with musical performances, with one from Adam Lambert, who did a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising," and two from YouTuber Todrick Hall, who was joined by Jennifer Hudson for one number.

The final song of the night was performed by Midler, Najimy, and Parker as the three sisters reunited once again and performed a rendition of "I Put A Spell On You," much like the one they'd performed in the original movie, complete with choreography. 

Hocus Pocus - I Put A Spell On You HD

The event also featured a costume contest featuring submissions of contestants dressed as three sisters sent in via TikTok.

All proceeds from the event will go toward the New York Restoration Project, in order to aid critical environmental and social justice work. 

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