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Hocus Pocus (1993) Poster

(1993)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (7)
During a 20th anniversary screening of this film, Doug Jones revealed the moths that come out of his mouth at the end are real, not CGI. In a 2018 interview with Bloody Disgusting, makeup and special-effects designer Tony Gardner said that the actor wore a "mouth rig" a latex pocket attached to dentures that blocked off Jones' throat to make the moths come out "There was a small hole in the very back of the pocket so that Doug could cough some air through it ... An animal wrangler would place several moths in the pocket with tweezers, Then the stitches would be glued shut, and we'd run out of frame so that they could get to the shot as fast as possible," Gardner said.
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The role of Max Dennison was originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio. He turned it down to appear in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
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Sarah Jessica Parker has said that she found being in the flying broom harness so comfortable that, instead of being lowered back to the ground during the extended downtime between certain takes, she would stash a copy of The New York Times on her person to read while remaining suspended in the air.
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Sarah Jessica Parker plays a witch who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials. While researching her family history for the show Who Do You Think You Are? (2004), Parker was shocked to discover that her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Elwell, was arrested in Salem, MA in the late 1600s for committing "sundry acts of witchcraft" and choking a neighbor to death. Esther's case never went to court, she escaped with her life and the accusation ended the Salem Witch Trials. Parker said, "It has changed everything about who I thought I was."
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The Devil's dog was Kathy Najimy's.
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During a February 10, 2008, interview on the BBC show "Breakfast", Bette Midler stated that this was her favorite of all of her films. Her other favorite film role, according to her autobiography "Bette Midler: Still Divine," was voicing the poodle Georgette in Oliver & Company (1988).
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The city of Salem, Massachusetts, used the film as a theme for the opening parade of their 2018 Haunted Happenings, to coincide with the film's 25th anniversary. The local National Parks Service office made a doll of Winifred dressed in one of their uniforms, while the Saltonstall School made a float based on Thackery.
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Brother and sister Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall play husband and wife. He's the one dressed as Satan.
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Sean Murray played the human Thackery Binx. Although American, he had been living in Australia and picked up the Australian accent. He was dubbed over by Jason Marsden, voice of the cat Binx, for consistency and because Marsden had a more "Old World" sounding voice.
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Disney bought the script in 1984, then sat on the project for eight years. The original title was "Disney's Halloween House" and was supposed to be much darker and scarier. Rumors that Disney considered turning it into a made-for-TV movie at one point have spread over the Internet, but have not been confirmed by the cast and crew.
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Rhythm and Hues, who created the CGI Thackery Binx, went to great lengths to ensure that his facial features were those of an actual cat. The studio found it too realistic, notably the fangs and teeth, and felt that he might be too scary and sinister. To make him appear friendlier, Rhythm and Hues made his fangs smaller and less pointed.
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Several scenes appear in the various original trailers that are not included in the released version of the film. They include Mary and Sarah pushing Winnifred into the school swimming pool, the witches being surrounded by trick-or-treaters holding out their hands, the witches meeting up with Billy only to complain about his "foul stench", Mary and Winnifred inspecting the school's lockers, and Mary snacking in a grocery store only to be dragged out by Winifred.
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Hocus Pocus was filmed over the course of five months in Salem, Massachusetts and numerous other locations. Filming started on October 12, 1992, and finished on February 10, 1993.
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The film grossed only $39,514,713 when it was first released during the summer of 1993, although it became more and more popular over the years and it still is very, very popular now due to many annual October television airings of the film and also due to many home media edition releases of the film too. It appears on television annually many times during the month of October. It now airs on "FREEFORM" many times throughout October annually. It also used to be aired in the past for many years on "DISNEY CHANNEL" many times throughout October annually too.
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On The Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash (2018), Sarah Jessica Parker revealed that she actually ate the spider.
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The film was released in July 1993 to take advantage of children being off from school during the summer. Avoiding competition with The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Disney's other Halloween release that year, may have also played a part.
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When Bette Midler takes the stage at the town Halloween Party, she says "Hello Salem, my name is Winifred. What's yours?". This is a take-off of the famous line, "Hello everybody, my name is Rose, what's yours?" spoken by Madam Rose in the musical "Gypsy". Midler played Madam Rose in the television version, Gypsy (1993), the same year this film was released.
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Contrary to popular rumor, the song Sarah Sanderson sings from the sky was not written by Edgar Allan Poe, nor does it carry the style or meters he would have used. It was written specifically for the film by composer John Debney.
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Omri Katz was unwell at the time of his first audition, and was initially rejected for the role of Max.
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Several long lost deleted scenes were finally included on the 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray in 2018. These include: Mary asking if "she left the cauldron burning" before the witches are hanged; Max arguing with his father about taking Dani trick or treating; extended dialogue from Max's parents after the kids have left for trick or treating; extended scene of Billy searching the underground tomb for the kids; the Bus Driver discussing payment with the witches; and Mary wiggling a candy crow in her hand.
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Although not specified, it makes sense that Binx can't speak until the Black Flame Candle has been lit, and then, only with those involved in the lighting. Otherwise, he would've been able to talk to his father at the hanging at the beginning of the film, or at the Town Hall when Max tries to tell the crowd that the Sanderson sisters have returned.
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The last witch trial in the New England witchcraft scare was of a mother and daughter, both named Winifred (Winifred Benham) in 1697. Winifred Sr's mother was named Mary (Mary Hale), and was also accused of witchcraft.
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Thackery Binx was animated by filming the scenes with a real cat and replacing its head with a computer-generated model.
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Disney Easter egg: a child is dressed up as Mrs. Potts trick or treating when the sisters get off the bus
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In a 2015 interview on Today (1952), Kathy Najimy said she was initially reluctant to take the role of Mary, afraid she would offend real witches by stereotyping a fictitious fairy tale witch.
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The first Disney production to use digital visual effects.
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The cemetery set was filmed at the largest soundstage at the Walt Disney studios. Real birch and elm trees from the East Coast were uprooted and moved to the set.
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Early in the film, Mary says to Winifred, "Winifred, thou art divine!" Bette Midler is known for her nickname, "The Divine Miss M."
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Contrary to popular belief, this was not the first Disney movie to mention virgins; Dragonslayer (1981) was.
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The stitches keeping Billy's mouth shut are sewn in the pattern of XIII, the Roman numerals for 13.
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During the costume party scene, a guest is dressed as a character from TRON (1982), another Disney movie. He can be seen in the background when Billy is trying to grab Max and then in the end of the song after Winnifred sings, "Dance until you die!"
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Allison's house is only two doors from the original witch house.
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Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler co-starred together in The First Wives Club (1996). Parker's character played the younger woman Midler's husband left her for.
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The colors of Max's tie dye shirt during the classroom scene are the same colors as each of the witches: green (Winifred), purple (Sarah) and red (Mary).
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Early in the film, after his teacher has finished telling the Sanderson Sisters' story, Max doodles on a piece of paper. The doodle reads "the grateful dead," with a marijuana leaf above it.
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The three little girls who steal the witches' brooms from in front of the house are dressed as the sisters themselves: Winifred has red hair and a green cape, Mary has black hair and a red cape, and Sarah has blonde hair and a purple cape.
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Jennifer Lopez auditioned for the role of Sarah Sanderson.
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Rosie O'Donnell was originally offered the role of Mary Sanderson. Rosie claims on her blog that she turned down the offer to work with Bette Midler because she didn't want to be a "scary witch."
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Cloris Leachman was the producers' first choice to play Winifred.
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At Satan's house, the commercial with the baby playing is an actual commercial for stain-resistant carpet.
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The cast of Hocus Pocus got back together for a virtual reunion special in October 2020, hosted by Bette Midler, to benefit the New York Restoration Project. The one-time-only event was made available only to fans who bought tickets to watch that night. Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Doug Jones, and other stars from the movie were featured along with special guests like Elvira, Jamie Lee Curtis, Meryl Streep, John Stamos, Glenn Close, Billy Crystal, and Adam Lambert.
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William "Billy" Butcherson died on May 1, 1693.
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A sequel is set for release next Halloween (Fall 2022) with a teaser released on the 31st of October 2021.
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The film takes place on October 31, 1693 and from October 31 to November 1, 1993.
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All 3 witches are of Semitic descent: Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker are Jewish while Kathy Najimy is of Lebanese descent.
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In 2018 toy makers Funko produced a set of their popular Pop vinyl figures based on the film. The series includes all 3 Sanderson sisters and were sold exclusively through Spirit Halloween stores.
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The ballad hit "Almost Unreal" by Swedish pop duo Roxette was originally meant to be included in the movie's soundtrack. It was dropped and used in Super Mario Bros. (1993) instead.
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Charles Rocket says to Max, "Watch your language!" Rocket is notorious for swearing on air at the end of the Saturday Night Live episode Saturday Night Live: Charlene Tilton/Todd Rundgren/Prince (1981).
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David Kirschner and Mick Garris, both of whom had collaborated with Steven Spielberg in the past, set the project up at Disney in the mid-1980s. Garris and Kirchner pitched "Hocus Pocus" to Spielberg, who turned it down. He had no intention of working with Disney, which he saw as his biggest competitor. Spielberg eventually collaborated with the Disney studios within a few years, but by the time this film was made, the filmmaker had long abandoned it.
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When taking photos on the steps before trick-or-treating a painting of the Dennisons' house is behind them.
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Omri Katz (Max Dennison) and Jason Marsden (Voice of Binx the Cat) both previously stared in the kids supernatural-themed TV series Eerie, Indiana (1991) as Marshall Teller and Dash X respectively.
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A kid wearing a Michael Myers mask and clown suit is in front of the Devil's house.
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Final film of Leigh Hamilton.
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Emily Binx died on October 31, 1693.
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Max has a skateboard featuring Pinhead from Hellraiser (1987).
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Bette Midler worked with Garry Marshall on Beaches (1988), five years earlier.
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Better Midler was 48 when his was filmed and 76 in the new sequel.
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Legally speaking, because the man on the motorcycle did not identify himself as not being a cop he could have gotten in trouble. Laws against impersonating a peace officer do not prohibit someone from dressing as one for Halloween, but they do prevent someone from letting others believe they are a cop. Max and the others were clearly trying to inform an authority figure of a situation, however preposterous it may seem, so the fact that the man led them on is actually a violation of the law.
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Bette Midler used both Margaret Hamilton's character of 'The Wicked Witch if the West' from The Wizard of Oz [1939], and Anjelica Houston's character of 'The Grand High Witch' from The Witches [1991] as inspiration for her performance of Winifred Sanderson.
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The project of the high school art class, seen when the sisters were forced into the kiln, was to reproduce the famous Discobolus of Myron.
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Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson) played her character as if she were a hound dog on the hunt for her prey.
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During the scene where the Sanderson sisters are singing "I Put a Spell on You", a clown can be seen in the party audience. He has red hair, a bald cap, a green tie, a red and white striped shirt and blue-jean overalls. At first this would appear to be just a generic clown but actually he's dressed as Malcolm as he performed Cliff's stunt show routine in The Rocketeer (1991).
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Ernie "Ice", also has 'ice' shaved into the back of his head. His nickname and appearance is a rip on the early 90s rapper, Vanilla Ice.
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Dani Dennison was born in 1985.
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If you pause at the beginning of the film you will see a book showing the following zodiac signs Taurus, Scorpio, Aries, and Gemini. This could be a nod to the actresses that play the Sanderson sisters and their actual zodiac signs.
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Mary and Sarah are actually named after the actresses that play them. Kathy's middle name is Mary.
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Sean Murray played the human version of Binx, and actor Jason Marsden voiced the character, both in his human and feline forms. In 2017, Marsden told the Daily Beast that producers dubbed his voice over Murray's because the actor sounded "contemporary" and they thought it would be more realistic if Binx had "an affected accent" from the same time period as the witches.
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Due to the length of the film and the variety of tricks Binx performs, several cats were used on the "Hocus Pocus" set. Humane Hollywood reported that the crew chose which cat to feature in each scene based on the animal's skills and personality. Still, the animal stunts required training and creativity. According to Humane Hollywood, "When the children first meet Binx at the witches' house, Binx surprises Max by jumping on him and Max falls down. To achieve this scene, one trainer released the cat, while a second trainer called the cat by way of a buzzer hidden in the actor's clothing." For some scenes, animatronics were used in place of a real cat.
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Winnie's iconic curses like "maggoty malfeasance" and "trollimog" weren't scripted, but are authentic insults. They came from a book of old curses Midler referenced on set. Thora Birch said in a D23 and Creature Features 2013 panel, "Bette had two people running around behind her with dictionaries of old curse words."
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Two scenes featured in original trailer of the film didn't end up in the final movie -- the Sanderson sisters surrounded by trick-or-treaters and Mary running wild in a grocery store. Kathy Najimy, who played Mary Sanderson in the film, told SYFY Wire in 2018 that the movie originally was centered around the witches, but was later edited to be more kid-friendly. As a result, five major Sanderson sister scenes were cut. One of the deleted scenes found in the trailer involved Mary being set loose in a supermarket, Najimy said.
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Kathy Najimy and Penny Marshall previously worked together on The Hard Way (1991).
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The fake cop's motorcycle is a Kawasaki KZ 1000 P.
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When Ice and the others are bullying Max and his sister, they call him "The New Kid on The Block," which is a reference to the popular and contemporary early-90s boy band.
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Ron Underwood was initially slated to direct the film.
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The Dennisons' car is a 1991 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer [UN46].
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Released for the film's 25th anniversary, "Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel" was published in 2018 and is a young-adult retelling of and a sequel to the original story. Set 25 years in the future, the new story features Max and Allison's 17-year-old daughter.
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The inspiration for "Hocus Pocus" came from the bedtime story producer and cowriter David Kirschner would tell his kids. "Halloween is a huge deal in our home, and it has been since our daughters were little," Kirschner told Yahoo in 2015. "It speaks to me in a way that becomes so emotional for me and always has." Kirschner went on to pitch the plot of the spooky story to Walt Disney Studios in 1984.
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The bus that the Sanderson sisters ride on is a 1967 GMC TDH 5305.
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David Hirsheser, who produced and wrote Hocus Pocus, also produced Child's Play.
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According to an archived press release, the film's choreographer, Peggy Holmes, said each of the Sanderson sisters flew their brooms "in character." Holmes said, "Winifred is in charge and much more aggressive than the other two. She's always leading the way and looking for children." "Sarah loves to fly. She's always lifting up with her mop and can't wait to get up in the air, whereas Mary is more cautious. Like a good driver, she signals with her hand. Mary is the safe and steady flier," she added.
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In a 2019 interview with Glamour, the film's costume designer, Mary Vogt, said each witch's outfit was tailored to resemble the character's personality. Sarah's dress was inspired by "Sleeping Beauty," and Mary's resembles a baker's uniform. But Bette Midler herself inspired Winnie's look. Vogt recalled, "When I talked [to Ortega] about my vision for Bette, I said, 'You can't put her in some black witch outfit. You have to put her in something that's colorful and fun and has a little sparkle to it.'" "So when I did sketches and talked to Kenny about it, he responded, 'Now let me talk to Bette, because this might not be what she was thinking of,'" she continued. "So he talked to Bette, who said, 'Well, of course. I'm not going to wear some black dress.'"
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The scene where Binx is run over by a bus, you don't actually see him hit, but you see a flattened cat on the pavement. The cat then re-inflates into a living cat again. This scene was shot in cuts and was accomplished with a fake cat and a special effects cat, in addition to the real cat. No vehicle was close to the real cat.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

There were seven statues made of Bette Midler for the scene in which she bursts in the sunlight toward the end of the movie. One of the statues, along with Winnie's spell book, is housed at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Orlando, Florida.
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When Dani and Allison dance after burning the Sanderson Sisters alive, the fountain in the background was also used in the opening credits of Friends (1994).
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In the final scene, when Dani is crying over Binx's cat body, he happened to die right on his sister's grave.
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After the witches are burnt in the kiln, Max celebrates in front of the house from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), down the street from the Darrin and Samantha Stevens' house used on Bewitched (1964)
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After locking the Sanderson sisters in the school kiln, the three kids celebrate as they walk to the park. The house directly behind Max and Thackery while they talk was also used as Thora Birch's home in 1999's American Beauty (1999).
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During the final fight in the cemetery, the background music imitates Miss Gulch's (the Wicked Witch) theme from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
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Body count: 6 (Emily, Binx, Winifred, Sarah, Mary, and Billy). If you count the Sanderson sisters dying twice, the body count is 9.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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