Honors Movie Night- “Hocus Pocus”


Photo by: Julia Fulmer

An inflatable projector shows “Hocus Pocus” for honors students on the Founders Hall lawn.

With the end of October just around the corner, a dozen FMU honors students laid out blankets on the Founders Hall lawn for a Halloween-themed movie night at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15. 

Shown on an inflatable projector screen, the movie of choice for the night was “Hocus Pocus,” a fantasy comedy film released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1993. In addition to the film, the event setup also included individual bags of popcorn and cans of soda for attendees to partake from during the night.  

Every semester, the Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC) is responsible for planning and organizing events for its members. This year, some students requested a movie night as an addition to the schedule, which the council delivered with a spooky twist in accordance to the holiday season.  

According to Jon Tuttle, FMU Honors Program director and professor of English, the students usually take a trip to Kreepy Hollow or Haunted Acres when the Halloween season rolls around. However, due to COVID-19 risks, they determined it would be safer to hold a socially-distanced movie night outdoors.  

The film’s premise begins when three Salem witches, named the Sanderson Sisters, are killed in the late 1600s and revived 300 years later by an unsuspecting teenage boy named Max Dennison. The rest of the movie follows the witches as they seek out children from which to steal souls; all the while, Max, with the help of his little sister Dani and some friends along the way, tries to stop them.   

Though the description of the plot may sound dark at first to some, according to many students, it is considered a classic family movie.  

Kelsey Ioffreda, HSAC vice president and senior double major in pre-med and Spanish, said she has fond memories of the movie from when she was growing up and thought others might enjoy a blast from the past.   

“We chose Hocus Pocus because it’s a classic Halloween movie that most people saw as a child,” Ioffreda said. “I remember sitting on my couch while having a sleepover, and all my friends would watch Hocus Pocus to get us in the Halloween and fall spirit…It’s not too bloody or gory, and there isn’t demonic activity, so it’s a fun good-feel movie.”  

Director Tuttle mentioned before the screening that he had not seen the movie before. By the end of the night, he was notably disturbed by the outcome of the character Binx, a former child from the late 1600s, turned immortal cat.   

“In the middle, [Binx] got crushed by a truck,” Tuttle said. “At the end, the same cat collapsed and died from the effects of being over 300 years old. Sure, a Bette Midler film is always fun, and sure, it didn’t take itself too seriously, but you can’t kill a cat twice and expect me not to take that seriously.”  

Despite the film’s ending, Tuttle said he enjoyed the event and appreciated everyone who came out that Friday.   

“There’s something to be said for laying on a blanket eating popcorn with your friends and watching a corny movie,” Tuttle said.  “It just creates a nice vibe.”  

The FMU Honors Program provides unique courses, study abroad opportunities and events for its nearly 200 student members from all disciplines. Students interested in the honors program can apply online at fmarion.edu/honors or contact Tuttle for more information.