The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away.
Such was my experience when I found out earlier this week that a long-awaited sequel to the Disney cult-classic film, “Hocus Pocus,” was being released for Halloween this year. The Internet had giveth via my Facebook feed.
Then, a day-and-a-half later, sitting down to write of my unbridled joy at this development, I found out that it was all a hoax and just as quickly as it had giveth, the Internet took away via Snopes.
The world is divided into two kinds of people; those who are absolutely enthralled with “Hocus Pocus” and those who have absolutely no idea what it is.
If you are one of the latter, let me explain it for you as I am definitely one of the former.
“Hocus Pocus” is a Disney spooky-comedy musical film released in 1993 in which three witches burned during the Salem Witch trials come back to life in modern day Salem. Hijinks ensue. And with Bette Midler leading the cast, there are some pretty over the top musical numbers as well. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t that big of a hit at the time but it struck a chord with the children of the 80s and 90s who grew up watching it.
Clearly, I am not of that demographic but my daughter is. She was three-and-a-half when the movie was released in 1993 and we watched it together every year. Her mother didn’t like “horror” movies so it was our thing to do together and unlike most of the parent/child bonding activities that fizzle out by the time puberty kicks in, this one never did. We were still watching “Hocus Pocus” every Halloween when she moved out of the house. Not too many years ago, we were on the floor belting along with the songs and quoting the lines and her college boyfriend was sitting on the couch looking lost and perplexed. Apparently, “Hocus Pocus” had not been as big a deal in his house as it was in ours.
Monday night a poster for the sequel, entitled “Hocus Pocus 2: The Witch is Back” appeared in my Facebook feed from a friend who is also a fan. I wasted no time messaging my daughter to ask her if I could take her kids to see it on Halloween night, the new movie’s opening day, according to the poster. Arrangements were made and other “Hocus Pocus” fans who don’t have children or grandchildren quickly volunteered to come along and help me with the kids.
My granddaughter will be three-and-a-half by Halloween, the exact same age her mom was when she and I started watching the first movie and I was already anticipating another generation of annual movie watching rituals and papa/grandkids bonding.
But alas, it is not to be. It was all just an elaborate, cruel hoax. Imagine that. Something untrue on the Internet and on Facebook, nonetheless.
Hope, however, springs eternal. The faux poster was shared several hundred thousand times in less than 24 hours which does seem to indicate there is a good deal of interest out there for a sequel. Bette Midler has taken to doing the character in her stage act and has said publicly that she and the other two stars of the first film would like to do a sequel and told her fans that it’s all in Disney’s hands so talk to them about it. Apparently, some of them have because Disney is adding a stage version to a Disney World Halloween show, unless that report is also a hoax.
For all I know the fake sequel poster was actually put out by Disney as cheap market research. If that’s the case, I’d be willing to bet Midler is already in contract negotiations.
On the other hand, Snopes could be wrong and there really is a movie coming this fall. Now I’m really grasping at straws. Even though I know full well not to believe everything I see on the Internet and am always amazed that people actually fall for those Kenyan inheritance scams, I sure got snookered on this one. Big time.
I guess we believe what we want to believe.
Bill Colvard is lifestyle writer for The Mount Airy News. Reach him at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.