Vinessa Shaw, who plays Hocus Pocus, reportedly remarked that the Halloween comedy's first script was considerably scarier. The Sanderson Sisters, a trio of cunning witches played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, were the main characters in the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. The Sanderson Sisters are accidentally summoned by Max Dennison (Omri Katz), his sister Dani (Thora Birch), and Max's classmate Allison Watts (Shaw). The three kids must cooperate to defeat the witches before they steal Dani's life energy.
Hocus Pocus acquired new life on home media and yearly television broadcasts despite the movie's poor box office performance and conflicting critical reception. Nearly 30 years after the premiere of the first film, Disney decided to create a sequel as a result of the family-friendly comedy's fast cult success. After its September release, the sequel to Hocus Pocus became Disney+'s most-watched movie.
Shaw noted that the original Hocus Pocus draught was more scarier in a recent interview with EW. The actress claimed that the original version of the script she was handed featured less slapstick humour and more conventional witches reminiscent of those in The Wizard of Oz. Below, you can read what Shaw had to say about the original Hocus Pocus screenplay:
When we began filming, it had the female Three Stooges element, and all the choreography that was added lent itself to a much more humorous movie bringing out the abilities of the actresses. "I remember reading an early copy that was much scarier, and that was the draught we auditioned with.
The witches and what they're doing, sucking the lives out of youngsters, are obviously terrifying, but the fact that it's done in a humorous way makes it bearable, in my opinion, and that's why the movie is so well-liked.
"[The Sanderson Sisters are] a trifecta and can't do anything without the other, which was stronger in the second draught. [The original script] wasn't them fumbling around and bumping into each other, 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.
Why Hocus Pocus Wasn't Scarier Is a Good Thing
Even if a darker and scarier Hocus Pocus would undoubtedly be intriguing, audiences would likely not have responded to it as strongly as the more family-friendly version. Hocus Pocus makes up for its story's shortcomings with charm. Young and old viewers alike were won over by Midler, Najimy, and Parker's undoubtedly powerful chemistry, which kept them coming back year after year to laugh out loud at the story of the Sanderson Sisters' fleeting comeback.
Hocus Pocus has a very diverse audience because it is a family-friendly movie. Halloween already offers a wide variety of spooky and bloody films to watch, from the gory Nightmare on Elm Street series to Halloween Ends, a horror film that wraps up the story of one of Hollywood's most recognisable slashers. A family-friendly Halloween movie only strengthens the film's appeal. Hocus Pocus would probably never have become a Halloween cultural phenomenon, inspiring decades of costume ideas and a hugely successful sequel, if Midler, Najimy, and Parker had never been hired and the tone of the film had been maintained harsher.