Three wacky witches, two magic spells, one hilarious comedy — it’s all part of everyone’s favorite spooktacular cult classic: Hocus Pocus, part of ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween.
It’s been 22 years (now that’s scary) since the world first met the Sanderson sisters, and we’ll never forget how awesome it was to watch them run amok — amok, amok, amok! — through Salem, trying to steal the souls of children so they could live forever.
I watch their hijinks in what is quite possibly the best Halloween movie EVER each year, and now that my kids are old enough to watch it, too, I can happily geek out when they ask if we have enough salt in the house, ignore them when they want to know what “yabos” are, and pull out old Madonna albums when they point out that Mrs. Dennison is wearing a really pointy cone bustier. (I’ll always love you, Vogue.)
Every time we watch, I notice something I missed before — glaring goofs, historical inconsistencies, and “facts” that may or may not be true. But hey, no one said it was a documentary. Besides, it gives me a good reason to nerd out about all kinds of random trivia I’ve picked up over the years..
Everyone loves a movie like Hocus Pocus because all its lumps and bumps make you so happy that you want to grab the nearest vacuum and soar beneath a full moon, singing at the top of your lungs.
Dost thou comprehend?
To that end, here are 20 things you didn’t know you wanted to know about this mainstay of camp Disney culture:
1. One good turn deserves another.
Leonardo DiCaprio was reportedly offered the part of Max Dennison, but turned it down to star in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I think we’re all okay with how things turned out.
2. Get well swoon.
Omri Katz was sick during his first audition and was initially rejected for the role of Max Dennison. Apparently he made a better impression at callbacks. Good thing, too, or who knows who we would have crushed on back in the day?
3. Lucky 7.
The studio made seven “stone” statues of Winifred Sanderson. As one does.
4. A league of her own.
Rosie O’Donnell was originally offered the role of Mary Sanderson, but turned it down because she didn’t want to play a “scary witch.”
5. A musical fable.
During the musical number “I Put A Spell On You,” Bette Midler makes a reference to the movie Gypsy (the movie version of which, incidentally, she starred in the same year that Hocus Pocus came out.)
6. Deleted scenes.
In the original trailer, two scenes were shown that didn’t end up in the final movie. YouTube has grainy, VHS-y proof.
7. What a character!
During a 2008 BBC interview, Bette Midler said that out of all her movie characters, Winifred Sanderson was her favorite. Because of course it was.
8. Movie magic.
Hocus Pocus was originally written as a Disney Channel Original Movie , but ended up being made into a motion picture because it’s that awesome.
Strangely, the movie was released in the summer of 1993 instead of in the fall, which obviously would have made more sense.
10. Blurred lines.
Max gives Allison his number in class, but when she returns it in the next scene outside the school, it’s a different note. The number isn’t even written on the same side of the paper.
11. Sunday school.
Speaking of class, the movie takes place on Halloween — October 31 — of 1993 which fell on a Sunday. School would not have been in session.
12. History lesson.
The Sanderson sisters were hanged on October 31, 1693. However, the Salem Witch Trials ended in May 1693.
13. Cat got your tongue?
Sean Murray, the actor who played Thackery Binx, did not provide the voice for Binx the cat. Binx was voiced by another actor named Jason Marsden (no relation to James Marsden.) Anyone else insanely distracted by the drop of sweat hanging precariously from the end of his flared nostril in this scene?
14. The voice.
Sarah Jessica Parker actually sang “Come Little Children” for the movie, and hopelessly stuck in your head for days after hearing.
15. Bus pass.
Salem didn’t have its own bus line in 1993, and so commuters would have been using the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Bus System.
16. Sunrise, sunset.
During one of Max’s many failed attempts to thwart the Sanderson sisters early in the movie, he claims it’s Daylight Savings Time, which is actually true. October 31 was the first day of Daylight Savings Time in 1993. However, in Hocus Pocus, the sun rises at 5:00 a.m., despite the fact that it wouldn’t have been up for another hour.
17. Filling in the gaps.
Witches from 1693 would not have had fillings. Sorry, SJP.
18. A grave situation.
At the end of the movie, when Dani is crying over Binx’s weirdly deflated cat body, you can see that he’s lying on his sister Emily’s grave. Sob! So poetic! And so depressing.
19. Fashion police.
The executioner who hanged the Sanderson sisters is wearing a leather ensemble with metal spikes, which would have been way too modern for late 17th century Salem. Yes, I watch a lot of Game of Thrones and The White Queen.
20. Come fly with me.
When the Sanderson sisters are dropped off in front of “Satan’s” house, their brooms are taken by three little girls dressed up just like them for Halloween. They fly away on the brooms by accident, and we don’t see them again. This obviously leaves room for sequel potential, amirite? Giddyup, Hollywood.
Ready to get in the Halloween spirit? ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween kicks off Monday, October 19th. Check out the lineup here and tune in to your favorite Halloween classics!