19 surprising things you never knew about 'Hocus Pocus'

Walt Disney‘Hocus Pocus’ will surely get you in the Halloween mood.

Despite it being 25 years since the initial release of “Hocus Pocus,” the movie is still a Halloween favourite. Each October, fans ring in the season of spookiness by re-watching the Disney classic.

Read more: 14 Halloween movies to watch if you don’t like scary movies

This year, celebrate your yearly viewing of the film with some hauntingly good film trivia.

Without further ado, grab your witch’s hat and settle in for 19 facts you probably didn’t know about “Hocus Pocus.”

Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned for the film.

In an with Variety, DiCaprio talked about turning down the role of Max Dennison in Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”

According to DiCaprio, he said no to the part to hold out hope for a part in 1993’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” which he hadn’t even auditioned for at the time.

“I don’t know where the hell I got the nerve,” DiCaprio said. “You live in an environment where you’re influenced by people telling you to make a lot of money and strike while the iron’s hot. But if there’s one thing I’m very proud of, it’s being a young man who was sticking to my guns.”

Two actors helped bring Thackery Binx’s character to life.

Walt Disney ProductionsDifferent actors played the cat and human versions of Binx.

“NCIS” star Sean Murray played the human version of Binx and actor Jason Marsden provided the voice of Binx in feline form.

The director of “Hocus Pocus” also worked on other popular Disney films.

Kenny Ortega, the director of your favourite Halloween film, was also involved in the creation of Disney’s “Newsies,” the “High School Musical” films, and “The Cheetah Girls 2.

The movie was reportedly based on a bedtime story.

Buena Vista PicturesThe producer used to tell the spooky tale to his children.

The idea for “Hocus Pocus” started as a bedtime story the film’s producer, David Kirschner, told his children, according to HelloGiggles.

There was broomstick choreography.

Walt Disney PicturesPeggy Holmes gave each character distinct traits when flying.

According to an archived press release, the film’s choreographer, Peggy Holmes, said each of the Sanderson sisters flew their brooms “in character.”

“Each actress flew in character,” explained Holmes. “Winifred is in charge and much more aggressive than the other two. She’s always leading the way and looking for children. Sarah loves to fly. She’s always lifting up with her mop and can’t wait to get up in the air, whereas Mary is more cautious. Like a good driver, she signals with her hand. Mary is the safe and steady flier.”

Multiple cats were used on set.

alexavol/ ShutterstockYou probably wouldn’t notice the difference between the cats.

Due to the length of the film and the variety of tricks required by Binx’s character, several cats were used on the “Hocus Pocus” set, reported Humane Hollywood.

Vinessa Shaw, who played “Allison” said she was close to Omri Katz, who played “Max.”

DisneyThe cast was close in real life.

Talking to ABC in 2015, Vinessa Shaw said, “Omri’s such a cool dude. We were best buds. We were good friends. He didn’t make me feel nervous at all. Anything that was tension-building, we’d just laugh.”

Real moths fly out of Billy’s mouth in the film.

Walt Disney PicturesThe actor had to use a dental dam to stop the moths from flying down his throat.

The actor who played Billy in “Hocus Pocus” actually had real moths in his mouth.

In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Alterian Inc’s makeup FX master Tony Gardner said, “Alterian’s Vance Hartwell was in charge of fabricating a ‘mouth rig’ that was essentially a latex pocket attached between upper and lower dentures which completely blocked Doug Jones’ throat. There was a small hole in the very back of the pocket so that Doug could cough some air through it and force the fuller’s earth and the mouths up and out of his mouth. Once the pocket was loaded with the Fuller’s earth, an animal wrangler would place several moths in the pocket with tweezers, under the supervision of a representative from the Humane Society.”

Rosie O’Donnell was reportedly almost a Sanderson sister.

Cindy Ord/Getty ImagesO’Donnell reportedly didn’t feel great about playing the witch.

While Kathy Najimy is truly iconic in her role as Mary Sanderson, her part almost went to Rosie O’Donnell, but O’Donnell reportedly didn’t want to play a “scary witch,” according to IMDB.

The film was almost called “Halloween House.”

Walt Disney Studios‘Hocus Pocus’ was originally called ‘Halloween House.’

According to the Post Mortem Podcast with Mick Garris, “Hocus Pocus” was originally bought by Walt Disney Pictures in 1984 under the name “Disney’s Halloween House.”

“Hocus Pocus” wasn’t released around Halloween.

Walt Disney PicturesThe movie was released in July.

Originally released in the US in July 1993, the Halloween-centric film wasn’t released in the autumn, which may have contributed to its less than stellarbox office performance.

There are a lot of famous houses in the film.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation/Warner Bros.You might recognise some houses in the film.

The houses from films “American Beauty,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and the show “Bewitched” can all be spotted around the town of Salem, according to IMDB.

There are stipulations on when Binx can talk.

Walt Disney PicturesApparently Binx can’t talk unless the ‘black flame candle’ is lit.

Although never specified in the movie, according to IMDB,Binx the cat isn’t able to talk unless the “black flame candle” is lit. Even then, he is only allowed to speak to those involved in the lighting of the candle.

A statue of Bette Midler in the film is now at Disney Springs.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesBette Midler has her own statue in Orlando.

A statue of Bette Midler can be found in Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs in Florida.

One visitor said it was the “coolest thing” they saw while visiting Orlando.

Omri Katz was sick when he first auditioned for the film.

Walt DisneyKatz almost didn’t get the part.

According to IMDB,Katz was sick during his initial audition for the role of Max. But, after a round of callbacks, he nailed his audition and landed the role.

The original trailer features deleted scenes.

fertonan/YoutubeThere are some scenes you might not recognise.

In the original trailer of the film, two scenes were shown that didn’t end up in the final movie. You can still see the original trailer, albeit grainy, on YouTube.

The film was pitched to Steven Spielberg’s company.

Hocus Pocus, screenshotHe saw the film as a ‘rival.’

Mick Garris and David Kirschner originally pitched the film to Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment but Spielberg apparently saw Disney as a competitor to Amblin in the family film market at the time and refused to co-produce a film with his “rival,” according to the Post Mortem Podcast with Mick Garris.

The “Friends” couch is in the film.

The WBThe ‘Friends’ fountain is in the back of a shot.

The famed fountain from the opening credits of “Friends” can be seen in the background of “Hocus Pocus” when Dani and Allison dance together post-Sanderson take-down, according to IMDB.

“Hocus Pocus” has a book sequel.

Courtesy of AmazonDisney recently announced a movie sequel is in the works.

There is a sequel to “Hocus Pocus” in book form. “Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel” was released for the 25th anniversary of the film.

And in 2017, Disney Channel announced plans to remake the cult classic “Hocus Pocus” as a TV movie.


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