The greatest Halloween movie ever made has always been less trick, more treat. We’re obviously talking about Hocus Pocus, and as the spooky holiday creeps closer, we’re learning the first version of the 1993 classic was actually quite a bit creepier than the one we quote endlessly every year.
For one thing, long before Carrie Bradshaw and the Divine Miss M brought the Sanderson sisters to life, the story of three resurrected Salem witches was a bedtime story producer David Kirschner told his kids.
While talking to Entertainment Weekly, screenwriter Mick Harris explains that when he wrote the movie’s first draft, he took things in a darker direction. The kids being terrorized by the witches were quite a bit younger than teens Max and Allison (around 12), which is slightly more messed up and therefore more terrifying, too. (Leonardo DiCaprio also almost played Max!) The funnier feel came about later, and we’ve gotta say, we appreciate the change. We love Billy’s head getting knocked off and all (which was, apparently, in the first script), but we’ll take Mary flying off into the night on an old vacuum any day, thanks.
On the other hand, the original’s title — Halloween House — seems less scary than Hocus Pocus. If that sounds like a Disney Original Movie title to anybody else, you’re not too far off: The first draft, written in the ’80s, was written for Disney. Maybe the most fun fact we found out from the cast and crew looking back? During the original pitch, the movie makers spread candy corn across the presentation room table so the potential investors could “smell October 31st” (not children, like the Sanderson sisters could).
The rest is All Hallows Eve history, though Hocus Pocus fans know their favorite flick may soon be brought back, just like Winnefred, Sarah, and Mary were. Reports of a Disney Channel Original remake were swirling around last month. Director Kenny Ortega has come out against the plan, and we may well be with him on this. They’ll have to do some serious black magic to even come close to the cinematic perfection Thackery Binx and his human friends concocted the first time around.