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Trivia / Hocus Pocus

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  • Actor-Shared Background: zig-zagged; Sarah Jessica Parker's ancestor Esther Elwell was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Adored by the Network: In 2016, the Freeform network's annual 13 Nights of Halloween line-up became an all-out Hocus Pocus lovefest; the channel played it every day during those two weeks, at different parts of the day. If you haven't figured it out by now that Hocus Pocus is a cult phenomenon, well...
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  • Big Name Fan: Vinessa Shaw recalls getting a phone call from Michael Jackson and him telling her he was a huge fan of the movie.
  • California Doubling: Partial aversion. All the on-location scenes were shot in Massachusetts. But most of the film was made on a sound stage in California.
  • The Cast Showoff: With Bette Midler as a main character, they were naturally going to have the witches do a musical number. (Sarah Jessica Parker was no slouch, either.)
  • Creator's Favorite: Bette Midler said that this was her all-time favorite role. As a hammy, Shock and Awe leader of a witch coven with an Ear Worm song, it's easy to see why.
  • The Danza: Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson.
  • Dawson Casting: Averted - Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw and Thora Birch were the same ages as their characters.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • When the film was being developed in the mid-1980s, it was intended to be much darker, and the young leads were all 12-year-olds. Subsequent rewrites lightened the tone and made two of its protagonists into teenagers.
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    • The studio also requested that the cat model used for Binx be re-designed. The initial model was more realistic, and they were worried the fangs and teeth might be too scary. The fangs were made shorter to make him cuter and more appealing.
    • The film was released in July because Disney already had The Nightmare Before Christmas slated as their October release and didn't want any box office competition.
  • Fake Brit: Jason Marsden (American) puts on an English accent for Binx.
  • Fake Nationality: The three White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Sanderson sisters are played by two Ashkenazi Jews and an Arab Catholic.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The fountain from the Friends opening can be seen when Alison and Dani dance after apparently burning the sisters in the kiln.
  • Jossed: The song that Sarah sings is often attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. Experts on the writer have debunked this, as it doesn't carry the style or metres he would have used. It was written especially for the film.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The original trailer includes three scenes that aren't in the film.
    • The children attempting to push the witches into a pool.
    • The witches being surrounded by trick or treaters.
    • Winnie dragging Mary out of a grocery store when she tries to snack.
  • Real-Life Relative: "The Master" and his wife are played by (uncredited) real-life siblings Garry and Penny Marshall.
  • Saved from Development Hell: Disney bought the script in 1984, then sat on the project for eight years. The original title was Disney's Halloween House and was supposed to be much darker and scarier. Rumors that Disney considered turning it into a made-for-TV movie at one point have spread over the Internet, but have not been confirmed by the cast and crew.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The casting director's other choice for Thackery was Leonardo DiCaprio. He chose not to do it because it was too family-friendly, and ended up getting Oscar nominated in What's Eating Gilbert Grape the same year.
    • Jennifer Lopez auditioned for the role of Sarah Sanderson.
    • James Horner was originally supposed to score the film but pulled out due to scheduling conflicts and recommended John Debney to score the film (after Rachel Portman turned it down). Horner still did a theme for the film and is credited.
    • At one time, the song by Roxette, "Almost Unreal", was going to be used for the film in the end credits. However, thanks to a bit of Executive Meddling, it didn't make the cut, and ended up on the soundtrack for another Disney film (albeit an outside production distributed by Hollywood Pictures), the film adaptation of Super Mario Bros., instead. Ironically, an ad for this film's then-upcoming VHS release appeared in the beginning of the original VHS of Super Mario Bros.
    • Alison was supposed to spend the whole film in her Halloween costume. Both Vinessa Shaw and the costume designer argued that it would be impossible for her to do so much running and fighting in a 17th century party dress, so producers had Alison change into normal clothes after she leaves the house.
  • Word of God: Binx was not able to speak until the Black Flame Candle was lit - hence why he couldn't tell his parents who he was or warn Max not to light the candle.
  • Working Title: Halloween House.


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