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The Sanderson Sisters

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The Sanderson Sisters

The Sanderson Sisters are the main antagonists in the 1993 live-action film Hocus Pocus. They are witches. There is Winifred, the eldest and meanest. She loves her spellbook that holds her most powerful ones, and hates being called ugly. She has curly, red hair, and wears a green dress. Her power is shooting electric bolts from her long, sharp fingernails. She was portrayed by Bette Midler. Then there is Mary, the middle sister. She is always trying to please Winifred. She loves to eat, and hates candy. Her power is smelling children from a long distance. She has black, wavy hair, and wears a red dress. She was portrayed by Kathy Najimy. Last, but not least, there is Sarah, the youngest. She loves to play with people, and hates boys who reject her. Her power is singing and hypnotizing people. She is also very dim-witted. She has long, blonde hair, and wears a purple dress. She was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker.

History

In 1693 Salem, Massachusetts, Thackery Binx is awakened and notices that his little sister, Emily, is being lured into the woods by an old woman while his best friend, Elijah, shows that the witches in the woods are conjuring. He gives chase, arriving at a cottage as Emily is led inside by one of the three women. It is home of the Sanderson Sisters. It is revealed that they are brewing a potion with which to suck the life force out of young children to use as their own. Thackery is too late, however and Emily drinks the potion. After subduing him with her powers, Winifred, along with Mary and Sarah, shares the life force from Emily making them young ("Well, younger"). When he calls her a hag, she decides not to kill him as punishment and to their amusement they transform him into a black cat who must live forever with the guilt of letting Emily die. The townspeople, led by their parents come and capture the sisters to hang them; however Winifred casts a spell that on Halloween night when the moon is full a virgin will summon them back from the dead so they can claim all the lives of the children in Salem.

300 years later, a teenager named Max Dennison is angry because of the fact that he has to move to Salem from his hometown of Los Angeles, California. He is also less enthusiastic and skeptical of the story of the Sanderson Sisters. One day, he is accosted by two numskull dimwitted high school bullies Jay and Ernie who steal his shoes when he doesn't have cash or bud. His younger sister, Dani, on the other hand, is completely enthralled with the holiday and dresses up as a witch for Halloween. He, who objects to taking her trick-or-treating, is suddenly forced to do so by their parents as they will be going to the town hall for an adult party and won't be able to take her. After another confrontation with Jay and Ernie, he upsets her and apologizes for his behavior. They arrive at a large mansion that just so happens to be the home of his crush, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), when Dani expresses an interest in the Sanderson sisters, they leave and go to the old Sanderson house, a former museum which was soon abandoned due to "spooky things" happening there. While they're there, Max finds the Black Flame Candle, which is rumored to raise the spirits of the dead on Halloween night if lit by a virgin. Still disbelieving all the "hocus pocus" he lights it and the house suddenly comes to life; candles light in place of the glass bulbs, the floorboards glow green and shake, the cauldron lights and culminates in the sisters reentering the front door for the first time in three centuries. Mary quickly finds Dani with her power to sniff out children, but Max interrupts before they can partake on a long overdue dinner. He tricks them into thinking he is a wizard using a lighter to summon the "Burning Rain of Death" (the fire alarm system) in the house. Before he can leave, however, thackery, who can now talk as a cat, makes him grab the spellbook so the sisters can't create their life stealing potion. They soon give chase and Thackery leads them to a graveyard, telling them stories of the sisters, Allison deduces who he is. As the sisters can't set foot on hallowed ground, and air assaults are useless to the quickly moving children, Winifred summons her old lover Billy Butcherson, a zombie whose mouth was sewn shut with a dull needle so he can't divulge her secrets, to chase them. They escape through the sewers and Max knocks Billy's head off.

The sisters encounter a bus and Sarah is driving it when Thackery emerges from the sewers. Max and the others witness his death and resurrection due to the curse that he can't die. Meanwhile, unable to track Max and the others, the sisters encounter trick-or-treaters furthering their confusion of Halloween night. After an encounter with a man dressed as Satan and mistaking him for their true master who is wed to Medusa (a woman with snakes for hair), Winifred realizes the truth of Halloween, while their broomsticks are stolen by children dressed as them. Max and the others try to tell the police, but find a man dressed as a police officer instead. They go to warn their parents, but the sisters arrive and in a big song and dance number, discredit their claims and curse the adults to dance until they die. The kids lure the sisters to the high school and into a kiln where they are apparently burned to death. They are resurrected and return home defeated, Winifred is unable to remember the ingredients to the potion and they fall into despair as it was earlier established that the candle only brought them back to life for that night, and unless they can use the potion on children by sunrise, they are dust and cease to exist. As Dani and Thackery rest, Allison and Max, despite the warnings that nothing good can come from the book, open it to find a cure for his immortality. It signals the sisters who use a corn broom, a mop, and a Hoover vacuum cleaner to fly to its location. They secretly invade the house and grab the book, Thackery, and Dani before violently exploding from the house, but not before Winifred reveals the nature of the spell that brought them back to Allison. Sarah uses her power, a siren song to lure the children of Salem to the house.

Max and Allison give chase and Max manages to trick the sisters again using the headlights of his parents' car to simulate sunrise. In the confusion, he frees Dani and Thackery and they return to the graveyard to hold out against the sisters. They encounter Billy and after using a knife to sever the stitches on his mouth, he apparently breaks the control Winifred has over him and joins the kids against them. They hold out well to start with, but Dani exits her protected grave plot when Winifred kicks off Billy's head and uses it to her advantage, swooping down and taking Dani. Thackery saves her by knocking the last vial of the life stealing potion out of Winifred's hand, which Max catches and drinks it to take her place. Winifred drops Dani and picks up Max to drain his life force, but Allison, Dani. and Billy cause a distraction using Sarah and Mary which gives Max the opportunity to knock both himself and Winifred to the ground as the other two fly up into the sky out of control. Winifred recovers and tries to steal Max's life force, but because she is standing on hallowed ground, she turns to stone. As the sun comes up, Mary and Sarah bid their goodbyes dramatically before exploding, followed shortly after by Winifred's statue exploding. They bid farewell to Billy, who returns to his grave, and Dani finds Thackery, who had died after being thrown against the rock. The sisters are dead, the spell was broken, and his soul was finally freed to move on. They meet his ghost and he bids farewell to Allison and Max, before kissing Dani on the cheek and leaving with Emily. As they walk out of sight, he is apologizing to her for taking so long to find her, and they disappear into the afterlife together.

Meanwhile, Jay and Ernie, who had been kidnapped and caged by the sisters, are singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat in their boredom. The eye of the book below them opens up and looks around, hinting that perhaps the sisters aren't completely gone after all. Shown as the credits roll, the adults, including Max and Dani's parents are shown emerging from the town hall, covered in sweat and complimenting on how Salem knows how to throw a party, unaware they were uncontrollably dancing the night away.

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