9 Hocus Pocus Moments That Are Surprisingly Dark 30 Years Later
BY ADRIENNE TYLER
October 13. 2023
Hocus Pocus is now a must-watch classic during the Halloween season, but even though it’s a family-friendly movie, there are a couple of moments that are actually surprisingly dark. Back in 1993, the fantasy comedy Hocus Pocus arrived to introduce the audience to the Sanderson Sisters – Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) – three powerful witches with a thirst for power and youth. Directed by Kenny Ortega, Hocus Pocus took views to Salem, Massachusetts, at two points in time: first, October 31, 1693, the day the Sandersons were hanged, with Winifred casting a curse that would allow them to resurrect, and later October 31, 1993, the day they finally returned.
Thanks to Max Dennison (Omri Katz), who inadvertently resurrected the Sanderson Sisters, the witches did their best to adapt to the modern world while also looking to suck the soul of at least one child so they could continue living after Halloween night. Hocus Pocus is now considered a cult classic and has gathered a loyal fanbase, with viewers of all ages. However, even though Hocus Pocus is a Disney movie and thus a family-friendly one, the movie has a couple of truly dark moments, of which some have only become more disturbing 30 years after its release.
9. Hocus Pocus Actually Shows The Sandersons Killing A Child
Hocus Pocus wasted no time in showing what the Sanderson Sisters were capable of, and in the first minutes, it takes the audience back to 1693. There, the Sanderson Sisters kidnapped Emily, a young girl, who they took to their cottage with the purpose of sucking her life force so they could be young again. Emily’s brother, Thackery Binx, tried to save his sister but failed, and he witnessed how the Sanderson Sisters took Emily’s life force, killing her. Emily’s body is then seen in the background, on the chair where the sisters sat her to take her life force, and though it’s not a graphic scene, they literally killed a child.
8. The Sanderson Sisters Cursed Thackery To Live Forever As a Cat
Because watching his little sister being killed by the Sanderson Sisters wasn’t enough, the witches then came up with a punishment for Thackery: they cursed him to live forever with the guilt of not being able to save his sister, and to make it worse, he was turned into a black cat. Thackery, then, could never tell his family what happened, and he saw all of his loved ones die. However, when the Sanderson Sisters died at the end of Hocus Pocus, the curse was lifted and Binx’s soul was freed, allowing him to die and reunite with Emily in the afterlife.
7. The Sanderson Sisters Are Hanged In Hocus Pocus’ Opening Sequence
Thanks to Thackery’s friend, Elijah, the town elders learned about the kidnapping of Emily and arrived at the Sanderson Sisters’ cottage after Thackery was transformed into a black cat. The Sanderson Sisters were captured and punished with death by hanging, but not before Winifred continued to laugh at what they had done, angering Thackery and Emily’s father. Right after casting the spell that would allow their return, the Sanderson Sisters were hanged, and this was a very graphic and dark scene for a Disney movie as their hanging feet were shown.
6. The Bus Scene With The Driver and the Sanderson Sisters
Now in 1993, the Sanderson Sisters were caught off guard by the modern world, and on their way to capture Max, Allison, and Dani, they came across a bus. The Sanderson Sisters got on the bus and the bus driver was a bit too nice to them, particularly Sarah, who he let drive the bus while sitting on his lap. The conversation between the bus driver and the Sanderson Sisters is full of sexual innuendo, and it made the driver look like a predator rather than a man who was flirting with three women.
5. The Sanderson Sisters Worship Satan
As the Sanderson Sisters are very old witches, it’s not that surprising that they were Satan worshippers, but it does become a dark addition when remembering this is a Disney family-friendly movie. At one point during their search for Max, Allison, and Dani, the Sanderson Sisters came across a man dressed as the Devil giving out candy at his front door, and as Satan’s worshippers, they mistook the man for the Dark Lord. The scene is dark for two very different reasons: characters worshipping Satan in a kids’ movie and the man dressed as the devil, who came off as creepy, especially as Sarah tried to seduce him.
4. Max Burns The Sanderson Sisters Alive
While hiding from the Sanderson Sisters, Allison came up with the idea of burning the witches in the high school’s pottery kiln. The Sanderson Sisters arrived at the school by following the group’s scent, and once there, Max pretended to be the host of a radio show and lured them inside the oven. Allison and Dani locked the Sanderson Sisters inside and turned the oven on, and they, along with Max and Binx, watched the witches burn alive inside the oven. The scene isn’t graphic as it only showed the witches as the flames started to grow, but it did add the agonizing screams of the sisters.
3. The Sanderson Sisters Kidnap Dani To Kill Her
Unfortunately for Max, Allison, and Dani, the Sanderson Sisters survived the oven and continued looking for them, and thanks to Max and Allison opening Winifred’s spellbook at his house, the sisters found them. Once at Max’s house, the Sanderson Sisters went after Dani, and when Max and Allison went to check on her, Mary and Winifred came out of the closet with Dani, who they then took with the purpose of taking her life force, just like they did with Emily centuries ago.
2. Sarah Lures Salem’s Children To Their Cottage To Kill Them
Kidnapping Dani wasn’t enough, and the Sanderson Sisters decided to take all the children of Salem to take their life force. For that, the witches used Sarah’s power, which is siren singing, allowing her to influence other people’s minds to her and her sisters’ commands. Sarah’s voice, body movements, and the children of Salem walking like zombies on the street while following Sarah is a bit too dark for a movie aimed at a younger audience. Luckily, the Sanderson Sisters didn’t get to harm the kids, but it was a close call.
1. Winnie Killed Billy & Sewed His Mouth Shut
Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) was the unexpected ally of Max, Dani, and Allison in Hocus Pocus, and he had a good reason to go against Winifred. After sharing a kiss, Winifred fell in love with Billy and became obsessed with him, but Billy loved Sarah. When Winifred learned this, she declared it cheating and poisoned Billy. If that wasn’t enough, she also sewed his mouth shut so he couldn’t reveal her secrets even in death. Billy was resurrected in 1993 with the purpose of helping the Sanderson Sisters, but once he cut the stitches of his mouth, he declared himself an ally of the kids and went against Winifred.