TV SeriesNegative (Niche)TV Special

In Search of the Sanderson Sisters – A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Community Rating: 50.35% (2)

“In Search of the Sanderson Sisters” is truly a labor of love with moments that remind you why Bette Midler is often associated with being camp.


Director(s)Seanne Farmer
Screenplay ByEric Kornfeld, Bonnie McFarlane
Date Released (Digital)10/30/2020
Genre(s)Comedy, Documentary
Duration1 Hour
RatingNot Rated
Noted Cast
ElviraCassandra Peterson
Damien DarksideMartin Short
HerselfMariah Carey
MaryKathy Najimy
SarahSarah Jessica Parker
WinifredBette Midler
AlyssonVinessa Shaw
BillyDoug Jones
Dani              Thora Birch
MaxOmri Katz
Cruella De VilGlenn Close
SeancéTodrick Hall

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Summary

Alongside being an event for charity, one could submit that the point of “In Search of the Sanderson Sisters – A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover” was made to set up the often talked about sequel. For as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, presents her documentary on the Sandersons, we explore their story like never before. Be it that they are the daughters of Morgan Le Fay and Merlin, the affairs they had, and even that they went to Hogwarts. Details that you may not have imagined are gone into, as well as celebrities who have claimed to see them and stars from the original movie making an appearance.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Fun cameos: Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil, as well as Allison, Billy, Dani, and Max, from the original movie, showing up.

Review

Low Points

It’s Not Camp – It’s Just Doing The Best With What You Got

Sometimes, there is a need to repeat over and over to yourself, this was done for charity, the pandemic made getting people together hard, so you need to be understanding. However, considering “Hocus Pocus” damn near was the #1 movie in America, mind you since very few new movies are being released, it makes what you get so disappointing at times. Especially when you get the most random and ridiculous guests who don’t add to the Sanderson Sisters’ stories. Rather, their appearance seems about them more than the franchise.

As Damien Darkside, Martin Short, for example, if I didn’t pay to watch this, his scene could have been it for me. For him talking about being the Sanderson Sisters’ manager in purgatory set a tone that the special struggled to recover from.

On The Fence

While Entertaining At Times, It Doesn’t Give The Nostalgia Expected

Mariah Carey making a cameo

Which isn’t to say there aren’t moments that you’ll enjoy. Elvira’s jokes, as corny as they are, still will make you laugh as long as you don’t take things too seriously. Also, some appearances are funny. Be it Mariah Carey, at the end, noting that, with Halloween over, it is time for her to take over.

However, the main event, the reunion of the Sanderson Sisters, it feels lackluster. I’d even say, like cheap silver paint, the luster of watching them together wears off quick. Mind you, Najimy snaps right back into character like it was just yesterday, but with spending time alone, with Mary, you’re left wondering if this is the best example of not touching a classic – at all.

As Sarah, Sarah Jessica Parker is perhaps a prime example because it seems like this was done as a favor since there just isn’t the vibe she enjoys being this character. Does she enjoy reuniting with old friends? Yes. But playing Sarah again? Absolutely not.

Then with Bette Midler as Winifred? Sometimes you’re left feeling like this is a drag queen doing a comedy skit than the person who originated the role tapping into decades of fans and giving them a taste of what’s to come. Because the whole gag of Winifred knocking on doors, someone giving a monologue, and slamming the door in her face? It got tired so quickly.

Add in Todrick Hall, in drag, being a 4th sister, and eventually this becoming more of a variety show than about the Sanderson Sisters; it’s hard to not be left disappointed.

Overall

Rating: Negative (Niche)

If this was for free, we probably would have stopped watching long before Midler, and the rest even showed up. Heck, if this wasn’t for charity, we’d be mad we spent money on this. Because “In Search of the Sanderson Sisters,” while clearly done with good intentions, just doesn’t bring the sense of nostalgia you expect. Rather, it makes you think the franchise should not continue and stay dead. If not, despite fan protest, keep the Sanderson Sisters only in name, or sparingly use the actresses.

Summary

It's Not Camp – It's Just Doing The Best With What You Got - 64%
While Entertaining At Times, It Doesn't Give The Nostalgia Expected - 73%

69%

"In Search of the Sanderson Sisters," while clearly done with good intentions, just doesn't bring the sense of nostalgia you expect.

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Amari Allah

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and from movies, TV, the occasional book, play, and Broadway show, have been trying to bridge the gap between a critic and an avid lover of various forms of media.

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