Hocus Pocus is a highlight of the Halloween season and a true cult classic. Here are some bewitching facts about the film.
Hocus Pocus tells the story of three witch sisters executed in the Salem witch trials who are brought back to life 300 years later and terrorize the town in hopes of living forever.
The idea for the film came from a bedtime story. Producer David Kirschner came up with the story and used to tell it to his daughters.
The Sanderson sister are played by Bette Milder, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.
Though Najimy’s part was initially set to go to Rosie O’Donnell, O’Donnell turned down the part because she was reportedly “uneasy” about playing a witch that kills children.
Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the role of Max to make What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Bette Milder reportedly had two people with her at all times carrying dictionaries of old curse words.
One of Sarah Jessica Parker’s ancestors is Esther Elwell, who was accused of being a witch during the Salem Trials.
Sarah Sanderson’s “Come Little Children” song was actually sung by Sarah Jessica Parker. And it was written by acclaimed songwriter James Horner, whom you may know him from his bigger hit, “My Heart Will Go On.”
Multiple cats were used in the making of the film, each with a different skill. It’s said that one specialized in swatting, one in jumping, one in laying down and so on.
“Satan” and his wife are played by Penny and Garry Marshall who are brother and sister in real life.
The house featured in the background after the witches are burned was the Burnham’s house in American Beauty which also starred Thora Birch.
Doug Jones, who played Billy, wrote the insult monologue himself. He changed the word “bitch” to “wench” because he thought the b-word was a bit too racy. And he actually did have live moths in his mouth. They were kept in by a dental dam-like device that prevented them from going down his throat.
Choreographer Peggy Holmes met with Midler, Parker, and Najimi to teach them how to fly on their brooms.
Holmes reportedly rode with them in their cards and used how they drove as a basis for their flying styles.
The film was released in July, which aided in its poor theatrical run though now it’s considered a cult classic, and a must-watch Halloween movie. And Bette Midler has said that of all the characters she’s played, Winfred Sanderson is her favorite.