Over the years there have been countless movies featuring witches, from Teen Witch (1989) and The Craft (1996) to Practical Magic (1998) and more. Yet none of these films have proved quite as popular as Disney’s Hocus Pocus (1993).
The movie – which stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy – has developed a huge following since its release. And with each year, Hocus Pocus expands its fanbase.
So, what do you know about Hocus Pocus? Well, whether you’re a Hocus Pocus novice, or the film is a firm favourite, this post is for you.
I’m about to run through ten facts about the movie. Let’s see what you know.
The origins of Hocus Pocus
Did you know, Hocus Pocus was initially devised as an original movie for the Disney Channel? It was only a little later down the line, when Disney realised the film’s potential, that Hocus Pocus was given the go-ahead to be a big screen movie instead.
Producer and co-writer, David Kirschner, came up with the story for Hocus Pocus whilst telling his daughter a tall tale about the neighbour’s cat.
Speaking about his story idea at the Disney D23 event back in 2013, Kirschner, said: “I contrived a legend that 300 years ago, a young boy was trying to protect his little sister from three witches who then cast a hex on him. The story terrified and delighted her.”
The role of Thackery Binx was played by two actors. Sean Murray played Thackery as a boy, whilst Jason Marsden provided the voice of Binx the cat.
Marsden also dubbed over Murray’s lines for the character’s human dialogue.
Actor and former contortionist, Doug Jones, played the role of Winifred’s ex-lover, Billy Butcherson. Jones has appeared in many films over the years including Batman Returns (1992), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017).
Better the devil you know
Real-life brother and sister, Garry and Penny Marshall appear in cameo roles in Hocus Pocus. The pair play ‘The Devil’ and his wife respectively.
Location, location, location
Hocus Pocus was filmed at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, as well as on location throughout LA. Only one week of production was actually spent in Salem, Massachusetts – the town where the film was set!
Rhythm of the night
Composer James Horner was originally lined up to score Hocus Pocus – but it never came to pass due to scheduling conflicts. However, Horner did write the song, ‘Come Little Children’, which is sung in the movie by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Brock Walsh wrote the lyrics.
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy rehearsed for six weeks prior to shooting the movie, in order to create the right performances for the spooky Sanderson Sisters.
Arguably the most famous scene in Hocus Pocus involves Bette Midler singing the song, ‘I Put a Spell on You’. The song was originally written by Jay Hawkins (1956), but has since been re-recorded by artists including Nina Simone, Bryan Ferry and Sonique, amongst others.
In recent years, Bette Midler has been known to perform the song – dressed in a Winnifred Sanderson costume – for charity events.
And finally, did you know Hocus Pocus was not a hit on its initial release? In fact, the movie was considered a flop.
The reviews for Hocus Pocus were less than encouraging, which didn’t help it attract an audience. The fact the Halloween-themed movie was released in July (in the US) was also a likely factor in its disappointing box-office take.
The reason the movie is so popular today is all thanks to TV re-runs, VHS tapes, DVDs, Blu-ray releases and streaming! Hocus Pocus has built up its following over the course of time.
So, what did you know? Some of the facts above? None of them? Well, hopefully this post has provided you with a little more knowledge about this hugely entertaining film.
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