Hocus Pocus star, Vinessa Shaw, recently explained that the original version of the Halloween comedy was much scarier initially. Released in 1993, Hocus Pocus Centered on the Sanderson Sisters, a trio of mischievous witches played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. When Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his sister Dani (Thora Birch) and Max’s classmate, Allison Watts (Shaw), accidentally summon the Sanderson Sisters, the three kids must work together to defeat the witches before stealing Dani’s life force.
Although the film did not fare well at the box office and received mixed reviews from critics, Hocus Pocus revived on home media and annual television broadcasts. The family-friendly comedy quickly developed a cult following, prompting Disney to develop a sequel nearly 30 years after the original film’s release. Hocus pocus 2 was released in September and quickly became Disney+’s most-watched movie on the streaming service.
In a recent interview with EWShaw remembered that the original Hocus Pocus script was initially much scarier. The actor revealed that the first version she got had more traditional witches, similar to: The Wizard of Oz rather than the slapstick humor present in the final film. Read what Shaw said about the original Hocus Pocus scenario below:
“I remember reading an original version that was much scarier, and that was the version we auditioned for. When we started filming, 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 film that brought out the actresses’ strengths.”
“I think that’s why the movie is so loved. Obviously the witches and what they’re doing – sucking the life out of kids – is scary, but the fact that it’s done in a comedic way is tasty. “
“[The original script] they weren’t messing around and bumping into each other, it was simple. It was more like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz; it had a darker ‘I get you, my beautiful’ quality. [The Sanderson Sisters are] one trifecta and can do nothing without the other, who was stronger in the second version.”
Why It’s Good Hocus Pocus Wasn’t Scarier
Although a darker and scary approach to Hocus Pocus would undoubtedly be intriguing, such a recording probably wouldn’t have been as impactful to the public as the more family-friendly version. What Hocus Pocus lacks in story, the film makes up for in charm. The undeniably strong chemistry of Midler, Najimy and Parker captured the hearts of viewers both young and old, bringing them back year after year to illuminate the hilarious tale of the Sanderson Sisters’ brief resurrection.
Through Hocus Pocus‘ family-friendly nature, the film’s demographics are incredibly broad. Halloween already has tons of terrifying and violent movies to watch, including the graphic Nightmare in Elm Street franchise on Halloween ends, a horror film that concludes the story of one of Hollywood’s most iconic slashers. A Halloween themed movie for the whole family just gives the movie more staying power. If Midler, Najimy and Parker had never been cast and the tone of… Hocus Pocus kept darker, the film probably never would have become a Halloween cultural phenomenon, boasting decades of costume ideas and a hugely popular sequel.
Following: Hocus Pocus 2 Proves The Sanderson Sisters’ Songs Still Don’t Make It Right