Items | Revisiting ‘Abracadabra’, Kenny Ortega’s Halloween classic

Before directing the beloved “High School Musical” franchise, Kenny Ortega, an acclaimed choreographer who worked with Gloria Estefan and Michael Jackson, delighted children around the world by bringing the Halloween classic “Abracadabra” to life.

Released in 1993, the film was not well received by critics (with only 38% approval) and was a moderate success at the box office, crossing the $44 million mark. Among the main comments on the production, pundits commented on the unbalanced script and the fact that the story is only intended for younger audiences – i.e. not appealing to adults at all.

But is it really true?

When ‘Abracadabra’ hit theaters, the one you’re talking about wasn’t born yet. I discovered the film years later, at the age of eight, and fell in love with the plot of the Sanderson Sisters and the multiple references to the Salem trial – after all, the chemistry between Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.. is undeniable. After embarking on reviews of films and series, I went looking for texts that spoke of the film and I did not understand the hatred that the authors had for it; Sure, like most Hollywood forays, the work lacks some structural aspects – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun, unassuming adventure.

Have fun watching:

For those unfamiliar, the plot centers on Winifred, Sarah, and Mary (played respectively by the trio mentioned in the paragraph above), an unconventional trio of witches who are brought back to life by a group of teenagers (played by Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw) and who resumes the mission she had in the 17th century, before being condemned to death: the search for eternal life.

Technically, the plot is not and is not intended to revolutionize anything; on the contrary, Ortega, allying himself with screenwriters Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert, is fully aware of the stereotypical universe that goes in and embraces all the clichés of supernatural tales to build a simple Halloween homage – something that would have better results if the film had premiered a few months later, and not a few weeks after the July 4 holiday. Here, the boundaries between good and evil are well drawn and separate the two protagonists like a solid wall – which is also welcome, given the obvious invitation to children to understand the difference between what is good and what is which is wrong.

Year after year – and with ‘Abracadabra’ constantly airing on both the Disney Channel and the Freeform Channel (now streaming on Disney+), children of the 1990s were able to re-watch the film with new eyes and find a part of nostalgia for when they were babies; Plus, the iteration’s aesthetic, as theatrical as it sounds, has aged very well, in a way, helping new generations fall in love with the chilling atmosphere created by Ortega – and the performance of names like Midler, Parker and Najimy, reintroduced for those who didn’t know them. It is no surprise that, 28 years later, the title is needed to celebrate this mystical date.

Such belated fame helped the film achieve cult status, garnering a legion of fans who would never let it be forgotten – and, ultimately, it’s the highest honor a production can receive. In celebration of its two-decade anniversary, Casa Mouse’s D23 event ‘Abracadabra’ had a special screening and invited nine members of the original cast to comment on their experience on set and the unexpected immortalization of history – while ensuring hundreds of spectators to attend the special. In 2015, the Magic Kingdom (one of the parks in the Disney complex) introduced the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, hiring new actresses to play the Sanderson sisters; three years later, the city of Salem celebrated the film’s 25th anniversary and opened a theme park in honor of the film and the fact that the production called several tourists who noticed the relationship between the two parties.

The icing on the cake came not too long ago: in 2020, Walt Disney announced that due to constant requests from various cast members and countless fans around the world, he was working on a sequel. well deserved – with Midler, Parker and Najimy. reprising the roles from the original feature film. With little information revealed, we know that the sequel will be directed by Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”) and that Jen D’Angelo will be responsible for the screenplay – becoming, in a few months, one of the most anticipated titles of 2022. .

It’s remarkable how ‘Abracadabra’ has had an interesting run, going from being one of Casa Mouse’s great flops to a disappointing iteration that began gaining recognition much later – and, for those who still don’t know not whether to verify it or not, I leave it below one of the most iconic and fun scenes to watch and draw your own conclusions.

Don’t forget to watch:

Robert King

I am Robert. I am the Managing editor of and I am responsible for deciding what goes on the website and what doesn’t. I have over twenty years of experience in online news publishing and by education I am a Masters in mass communication.
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