Hocus Pocus wins at Halloween.
You know it’s true.
And though 22 years have passed since the Sanderson sisters made their spellbinding presence known, we’ll never get tired of watching them run amok through Salem.
Because most spooktacular cult classic ever.
Goofs and historical inconsistencies are of course part of its campy charm, so we pulled together 20 random bits of trivia you didn’t even know you wanted to know about this mainstay of Disney culture:
Hocus Pocus was originally written as a Disney Channel Original Movie, but ended up being made into a motion picture.
There are two scenes in the original trailer that didn’t end up in the final cut. VHS-era proof.
Neither Omri Katz nor Kathy Najimy were originally supposed to appear in the film. Their roles were offered to Leonardo DiCaprio and Rosie O’Donnell.
Max gives Alison his number in class, but when she returns it to him outside school, it’s a different note.
The movie takes place on Halloween in 1993. Halloween that year was on a Sunday and there was no full moon. There hadn’t been a full moon on Halloween since 1974, and the next Halloween full moon won’t appear until 2020.
When Max offers to let Allison (yabos) light the black flame candle, she declines. Only a virgin can light the black flame candle, which means IMPLICATIONS.
The cursed black cat’s name is Thackery Binx, not Zachary Binx. (It’s ok, we all thought it was a lisp as kids too.) It’s also a common misspelling of the surname of William Makepeace Thackeray, an 18th century novelist, which is probably where Disney got the name.
Jason Marsden, not Sean Murray (who played human Thackery Binx), voiced feline Thackery and went on to become a prolific voice actor. Murray was later in NCIS, but made his big-screen debut in This Boy’s Life, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Six degrees!
The Sanderson sisters often refer to cooking with margarine. Margarine wasn’t invented until the 1800s.
Sarah Jessica Parker actually sang spell-turned-lullaby, “Come Little Children.” We’re impressed.
Less impressive are SJP’s fillings, which can be spotted throughout the movie. Witches from 1693 obviously wouldn’t have had them, and while we get that CGI was pretty bad back then, still.
The Salem Witch Trials ended in May 1692, yet the Sanderson sisters were hanged on October 31, 1693.
When Mary Sanderson flies away on a vacuum cleaner, the joke is that she couldn’t find a broom, so she improvised. Sarah flies away on a mop, which makes more sense because mops have been around since at least the 15th century and she would have recognized it. However, the first manual vacuum cleaner wasn’t invented until the 1860s, so Mary wouldn’t have known to associate it with a broom and a mop.
Salem, Massachusetts didn’t have its own bus line in 1993 and would have been using the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority bus system.
When Winifred resurrects Billy Butcherson, the subsequent Zombie Billy still has skin. If he’s been dead for 300 years, that’s a whole lot of NOPE.
Winifred quotes Max (and the movie title) when she says, “It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!” Max said it while lighting the black flame candle. But Winifred was still dead at that time, and since she didn’t even know who lit the candle, it’s unlikely she could have heard him.
Throughout the movie, you can spot the wires holding Mary Sanderson’s broom aloft.
Sarah Sanderson’s hair switches from curly to straight and straight to curly throughout the film. Dorothy’s hair famously changes lengths throughout The Wizard of Oz, and since the film alludes to Oz – and even plays the witch theme music at one point – this is probably just another of its many in-jokes.
One thing the movie does get right is that the Sanderson sisters would not have known what blacktop was. Paved roads didn’t become a thing until the early 1800s, when macadam roads, which mixed stones and pebbles bound with tar to simulate pavement were introduced. Accuracy hi-five!
Winifred, Sarah and Mary’s brooms are taken by three little girls dressed up like the Sanderson sisters for Halloween. They accidentally fly away on them and don’t come back, which gives the film sequel potential. So get on that, Hollywood. We’re waiting.
Photo credits: Disney