The Sanderson sisters are back and ready to get real about making Hocus Pocus

By Maura Hohman
October 22, 2018 12:39 PM

The Sanderson sisters are back and ready to get real about making Hocus Pocus.

The stars of the iconic Halloween movie Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy discussed their favorite behind the scenes moments for Freeform’s Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash, which premiered over the weekend.

Midler, 72, was immediately excited to participate in the project after reading the script, she recalled, because “it was an opportunity to do things that I really loved to do, which is play physical comedy and be more than a little broad. I was very intrigued by it.”

Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus
| Credit: SNAP/REX/Shutterstock

Parker, on the other hand, was shocked by the darkness of the film. It was Disney, after all!

“I guess what I remember most is how awful we were as characters,” she said. “I was surprised that the goal was to get a child and basically destroy them, but because it was done in a really heightened, ridiculous way, it was a lot of fun.”

Hocus Pocus - 1993
Credit: Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The best part for the actresses, though, was getting to fly — like the magical women they truly are!

Midler described it as “one of the greatest joys I’ve ever experienced as an actor,” while Parker, 53, insisted, “I’m going to go out on a broom, and say I enjoyed it more than anybody.”

Buena Vista/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hocus Pocus
| Credit: Buena Vista/Courtesy Everett Collection

According to the special, the sisters soared through to sky thanks to practical effects on set, including harnesses and extensive flying rigs built into the ceiling.

“We would just be hanging up there sometimes for hours until they would swoop us and the faster the better,” Najimy, 61, recounted. “I absolutely loved it.”

Parker joked the harnesses were like “relaxing into a bucket with legs,” and Midler thought the experience was like choreography.

“It’s joyful, it’s also a dance, and there’s a lot of trying to be graceful while not being sure you weren’t going to be turned upside down,” she explained.

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Still, what’s been most magical for the movie’s cast and crew — including flying — was its success in the years after it was released. Entertainment Weekly notes in 1993, it was a flop at the box office and received poor reviews.

“I don’t think any of us who were making it at the time thought Hocus Pocus would have such a long life,” Parker mused. “People tell me all the time they grew up watching it, and that they still watch it. I think it’s wonderful.”

Najimy added, “It was 25 years ago. For it to embraced so wholly, and so rabidly, it’s flattering and it’s an honor.”