We’re back with another Disney+ Battle series and since we’re in the spooky season, I thought I would do something special and pit two Halloween cult classics against each other: “Hocus Pocus” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Full disclosure, these are my two absolute favorite Halloween films, and I’m interested to see how they fare against each other. So, let’s begin:

PROTAGONIST

The main protagonist of “Hocus Pocus” is Max Denisen, a California kids who just moved to Salem, Massachusetts who has no appreciation for Halloween. He’s your typical teenage boy only thinking about dating and fitting in while ignoring his little sister who is the perfect age to enjoy Halloween. He lights the candle that brings the Sanderson sisters back and then most team up with his classmate and future girlfriend Alison, sister Dani and a seemingly immortal cat named Thackery Binx to stop the sisters.. While he grows to be a hero, he’s far from it in the very beginning. Meanwhile, Jack Skellington is the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town who discovers a door to Christmas Town. There, he learns about Christmas and tries to take over before eventually fixing his mess while saving his love, Sally, and Santa Claus. I think Jack Skellington is a better protagonist. He does a better job of driving the story while Max mostly react to the actions of the Sanderson sisters. Point to “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Hocus Pocus 0 | The Nightmare Before Christmas 1


ANTAGONIST

The villains of the “Hocus Pocus” are the Sanderson sisters; Winifred, Mary and Sarah. They are brought back by Max and try to lure the children of Salem to their home to suck out their life force and live forever. While they are played for laughs, their evil scheme is truly diabolical. They are excellent villains. While Jack Skellington can certainly seem like the villain in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” when he’s trying to take over Christmas, the real villain is Oogie Boogie who captures Sally and Santa Claus. He’s a definite threat, but he feels a little weak compared to the Sanderson sisters. Point to “Hocus Pocus.”

Hocus Pocus 1 | The Nightmare Before Christmas 1

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

Both of these films have some excellent supporting characters that help tell the story. “Hocus Pocus” features Max’s classmate; Alison; who serves as a love interest, his younger sister; Dani; whose love of Halloween starts the adventure; the boy turned cat; Thackery Binx; who is trying to protect others from the Sanderson sisters and Billy Bones, the ex-boyfriend of Winifred Sanderson who had his mouth sewn shut when she caught him cheating with her sister. There’s also Jay and Ice, foils for Max, who are trapped and imprisoned by the Sanderson sisters. Meanwhile, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” features Dr. Finklestein, his creation; Sally; who becomes Jack Skellington’s love interest, Santa Claus and Jack’s dog Zero. This is a tough one, but I’m going to give the point to “Hocus Pocus.”


Hocus Pocus 2 | The Nightmare Before Christmas 1

MUSIC

Both of these films feature an iconic song that carries the movie. In “Hocus Pocus,” that song is “I Put a Spell on You.” It’s sung wonderfully by Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson. She uses the song to put a spell on the parents of Salem leading to them partying all night. In “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” that song is “This is Halloween” performed by Danny Elfman. It’s a wonderful song that has been covered by Marilyn Manson. While those songs carry their films, the score of “Nightmare” gives it the edge as I can tell how it complements the film. The only other song I remember in “Hocus Pocus” is the song Sarah sings to lure the children into a trap. Point to “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Hocus Pocus 2 | The Nightmare Before Christmas 2

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

Now to the most subjective category: the memorable moments. For “Hocus Pocus,” the memorable moments for me include the witches turning Thackery Binx into a cat and subsequent arrest and hanging, Max lighting the candle bringing back the Sanderson sisters, Winifred singing “I Put a Spell on You,” the kids burning the witches; but not really getting rid of them, Sarah’s song and the battle in the graveyard. For “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” I find Jack discovering Christmas, Jack taking over as Santa, Oogie Boogie capturing Santa and Sally and Jack freeing them as memorable. “Hocus Pocus” has more memorable moments for me. Point to “Hocus Pocus.”


Hocus Pocus 3 | The Nightmare Before Christmas 2

In this battle, “Hocus Pocus” has edge out “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in this battle. They are two excellent Halloween films that deserved to perform better at the box office than either actually did. So, which film do you think is better?

 












Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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3 Comments

  1. Amy October 18, 2020

    I finally watched the whole entire movie of Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m not sure why it took so long because it was really good. However Hocus Pocus is just good fun and is choice for the winner too.

  2. Jamie October 19, 2020

    Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a timeless work of art whereas Hocus Pocus is dated with bad acting and cheesy dialogue. There is just more nostalgia for the latter as it was the more commercial one that more people saw.

  3. Kiara October 25, 2020

    Hocus Pocus is my favorite Halloween movie and I watch it every year. Nightmare Before Christmas is good too though!