Hocus Pocus: Alternate Versions Of Movie
When shown on UK television in 2005, all instances of Billy losing his head and stumbling around headless were cut (rendering the credit in the cast to ‘Headless Billy’ meaningless). Thus, the scene when Billy loses his head and Dani steps out of the protective salt circle to retrieve it for him (giving Winnie the opportunity to grab her) no longer makes sense. It just cuts to a scene of Dani suddenly outside the protective circle and screaming as Winnie swoops down on her from above. Without knowing about Dani retrieving Billy’s head the viewer is left puzzled as to why Dani left the circle.
When shown on The Disney Channel in the UK on Hallowe’en night 2005, most of the previous cuts were reinstated, with only a few scenes cut out. When the witches are hanged at the start we don’t see their bodies or legs during the scene, we cut straight after Binx’s father orders the hanging to shots of the crowd wincing at the sight of the hanging, and then to Binx’s father ordering the cat away. The scene in which Billy gets his fingers cut off on the street is also cut out, as is the scene where he cuts his mouth open so he can speak with Max’s knife. All other scenes remained intact, including the scenes where Billy loses his head twice. The last time it was shown, the headless scenes were removed and it prompted complaints from viewers who said the film was hard to understand with so many edits. They also complained that the headless scenes were done comically with no references to pain or blood and as the film was only a PG, and made by Disney themselves, so surely it wouldn’t upset children who would find the funny side of it. All recent showing of the movie now have the headless scenes put back in.
When aired on the ITV network in the UK, the scene where the witches were hung and cast the spell that would bring them back were cut. Viewers therefore didn’t know exactly how they would come back.
When aired on the Disney channel in the UK, several places were edited for mild language.
When ITV showed the film at Easter 2001, the following scenes were cut out: the witches hanging, Max swinging a brach at Billy Butcherson and the subsequent loss of his head, the shot of Binx the cat flat after he’s run over by the cat, Billy cutting open his mouth after he snatches the knife off Max, and Billy losing his head for a second time. The ending was also altered, cutting straight to the book’s eyes opening, missing out the parents leaving the party, and Ernie and Jay still stranded in the witches house.
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