Maybe The Sanderson Sisters Really Did Invent Margarine?
Throughout Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson sisters talk about cooking with margarine quite often. According to the movie, the sisters died for the first time in 1693. However, margarine wasn’t even invented until the 1800s, with the discovery of margaric acid in 1813. So, margarine wouldn’t be available as a butter substitute until 1869. So what were the Sanderson sisters really using instead of butter? Was it a magic butter substitute to keep the pounds off their hips?
The Secret Is Out
There may be a hidden message that our young little minds were unaware of while watching Hocus Pocus. Max (Omri Katz) offers to let his love interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw) light the black flame candle, she smiles and coyly declines. And here comes the real reason behind her sly decline. This is because only someone one’s chase can light the black flame candle. So it’s implying that she’s not chaste. Say what?!
Full Moons Are A Werewolf’s Best Friend
Hocus Pocus takes place on Halloween in 1993. In reality, Halloween that year was on a Sunday and there was no full moon. And there actually had not been a full moon on Halloween since 1974.
Here’s the real kicker, however, the next full moon to land on Halloween won’t happen until 2020. Apparently, the directors wanted to make the movie more Halloween-esque by adding in the full moon aspect. It does make it a bit more prime for werewolves!
The Sanderson Sisters Also Invented The Vacuum Cleaner
During one of the scenes in the movie, Mary Sanderson flies away on a vacuum cleaner because she couldn’t find a broom to use. So the next logical thing is the closest vacuum cleaner, right? Right.
Her sister, Sarah, flies away on a mop, which makes sense because mops have been around since at least the 15th century. But, if you know a little bit about the history of vacuum cleaners, the first manual vacuum cleaner wasn’t invented until the 1860s. So, Mary wouldn’t know what a vacuum cleaner is, in order to associate it with a broom and a mop. It looks like Mary Sanderson was really the inventor of this modern day cleaning standby.
The Forgotten Witch Trials
The movie claims that the Sanderson sisters were hanged in Salem on October 31, 1693, despite the fact that the real Salem Witch Trials ended in 1692.
Maybe they escaped the first few rounds and weren’t caught until the next year? Who knows for certain? They got to come back, at any rate.
How Long Does Skin Last Anyway?
When Winifred resurrects Billy Butcherson (aka Billy the Butcher), the zombie still has actual skin. Gross right? According to the movie, Billy has been dead for around 300 years! Talk about a change coming back after being buried for 300 years.
If he’s been dead that long, that skin would have long decayed, leaving him nothing but a skeleton. So where did that fab look come from, Mr. Billy the Butcher?
Did I Spot Dorothy?
Sarah Sanderson’s hair makes constant changes from curly to straight and back again throughout the film. Dorothy’s hair famously changes lengths throughout The Wizard of Oz. Hocus Pocus features a number of allusions to Oz and directly features the Wicked Witch theme music at one point.
Coincidence? We think not! All hail The Wizard of Oz.
You Sly Cat, Binx
During one of the cemetery scenes the cat, Thackery, makes a mad dash through a locked gate, despite the fact that the bars were too close together for him to logically jump through. What a sneaky, sneaky cat that Thackery is.
This would make you think he is a ghost, right? Well, Dani is seen holding Thackery throughout the film and one can’t hold a ghost. Also, Thackery dies at the end of the film, so a ghost cat likely would not turn into a ghost kid.
Maybe She Was A Cop In A Past Life
While chasing Max down on her flying broom, Winifred Sanderson asks to see his “driver’s permit.” However, before this happens in the movie, it seems Winifred doesn’t know what the heck a blacktop road, a car, or a bus are. So maybe conclusions are being drawn here or maybe we’re on to something, but given this, she definitely wouldn’t know what a driver’s permit is. Also, she would not have known the police procedure for pulling over a driver, which she suddenly is aware of. How you know this information Winifred?!
The One True Fact In The Film
In the film, Max claims that it’s Daylight Savings’ Time, which is one thing the movie actually did get right. October 31 was the first day of DST in 1993. However, the sun rises in Hocus Pocus at 5:00 am, despite the fact that it wouldn’t have been up for another hour. (6:25 am, to be exact.) At least they got one part of the story right.
Happy Halloween In July
Most Halloween films are released in the fall, during September or October, because of the timeliness factor, but Hocus Pocus was released in July. Who thinks about Halloween in July? Not even the pumpkin spice latte lovers are on that train yet. Because of the release date, Hocus Pocus was not successful at the time. It was said the movie was released in July to avoid competition with other Halloween movies released that year, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Addams Family Values. Oddly enough, none of these movies were big hits at the time, but they all went on to become cult classics.
A Strange Relation
Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Sarah Sanderson, discovered in doing research for “Who Do You Think You Are?” in 2004 that her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Elwell, was accused of witchcraft.
Elwell was not killed though, because the witch trials ended before she was accused of “sundry acts of witchcraft.” Parker said the revelation changed everything she thought she knew about herself. And here she is years later, playing a witch in a classic Halloween movie!
The moths that flew out of Billy Hutcherson’s mouth were actually real and not computer-generated imagery, actor Doug Jones said at the 20th-anniversary screening of Hocus Pocus. Talk about disgusting! A mouth full of moths? No thank you!
Setting The Stage
When the filmmakers pitched Hocus Pocus to the Disney executives from the studio, they decorated the conference room with two hanging broomsticks, one hanging vacuum cleaner (all suspended from the ceiling with wire), and 15 pounds of candy.
Who could say no to 15 pounds of candy? We sure couldn’t. And we’re glad the Disney executives didn’t either, or we wouldn’t have this Halloween masterpiece.
The cemetery and Sanderson Sisters’ house (including the moat) were both built from the ground up entirely on Stage 2 on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA. We wonder how much time it took to create such elaborate sets.
All The Kitties
The star kitty Thackery Binx, actually had to be played by dozens of cats and their acting skills. Each cat had their own special talent. Some of the cats could jump, some would sit still, and others would move their paws on cue. Audio-animatronic cats were also used. Talk about a lot of work going into one kitty character.
A Scary Bedtime Story
The film actually came about when Hocus Pocus producer, David Kirschner, started telling it as a bedtime story to his kids. It then became a published story in “Muppet Magazine” and grew into a feature film from there.
Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson) ad-libbed his first line, “wench!” in an attempt to convey his characters’ emotional “three hundred years of build-up.” Our first words may have been a little more vulgar after 300 years underground.
Lots Of Dedication
Peggy Holmes (director Kenny Ortega’s assistant choreographer) gave Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy lessons on how to ride their broomsticks. She did this by first studying how they drove their cars and then transferred their individual steering styles to their brooms. Woah! Now that is pure dedication to broom-flying skills.
In South America, the film was released under the title “Abracadabra” instead of Hocus Pocus, as that phrase is more commonly associated with magic.