Hocus Pocus wasn’t what the cast anticipated.
Rather than being a lighthearted family comedy about a witch attacking young children, the film was almost a straight-up horror movie. The original cast said it wasn’t what they expected.
“I remember reading an original draft that was much scarier. And that was the draft we auditioned with,” Vinessa Shaw said in an interview with EW. Shaw played Allison – one of the three children from the original film.
“When we started shooting, it became a funny version, much lighter. It had the female Three Stooges element in it. And all the choreography that was added lent itself to a much more comedic movie bringing out the strength of the actresses,” she added.
The new sequel brings back Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters. The sisters are three witches from the Puritan era.
“I think that’s why the movie is beloved,” she stated. “Obviously, the witches and what they’re doing – sucking the lives out of children – is scary. But the fact that it’s done in a comedic fashion is palatable.”
Contrast on Draft
Shaw noted the Sanderson sisters’ dialogue when asked for information about the differences from the original script for the film directed by Kenny Ortega.
“It wasn’t them fumbling around and bumping each other. And it was straightforward. It was more like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. It had a darker, ‘I’ll get you, my pretty’ quality. They’re a trifecta and can’t do anything without the other, which was stronger in the second draft,” she recounted.
Furthermore, Omri Katz, who played Alison’s love team, Max, remembers his audition. The drafts are scarier, he said.
“Once they had an idea of who they wanted to cast, I’m sure they had their two cents on it, too, and brought a more comedic, family-friendly, happier, not-so-sinister movie,” he elaborated.
“It was a different approach. I don’t remember a lot of those punchlines or one-liners being present.”
However, Kratz also admitted that he got stoned while filming some scenes. Maybe that’s why he found it all so hilarious.
Hocus Pocus on Disney
While Hocus Pocus didn’t gain much traction during its release, it marked a pop cultural event. All credited to season premieres on different Disney networks, eventually creating a Disney+ sequel in September.
The sequel broke the viewership record for streaming films in Nielsen tracking.
Furthermore, it stars Midler, Parker, Najimy, Doug Jones, Belissa Escobedo, Sam Richardson, Whitney Peak, Tony Hale, and Hannah Waddingham.
The shooting occurred starting October 2021 up to January 2022 in Rhode Island – from the previous Salem, Massachusetts location. Later on September 30, 2022, the prod released the movie.
Moreover, the film earned mixed feedback on performance, humor, and plot. People complimented the cast’s performances and humor while they criticized the plot.
Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 both are now available for streaming on Disney+.
Photo: CC Discovery