Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimi Reflect on Hocus Pocus 25 Years Later

Sisters! Hocus Pocus is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the stars of the beloved Halloween classic gathered to fly once more in Freeform’s Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash, which premiered on Saturday, Oct. 20 on the network.

The special, which was partly filmed live earlier this month at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, reunited much of the original cast, including the Sanderson Sisters — Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi. For Midler, the project was automatic yes — she said in the special, “I read the script of Hocus Pocus and I was very intrigued by it 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.”

While Parker noted that she still can’t quite believe how dark the storyline was for a Disney film. “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.”

The witchy trio reflected on their time making the series throughout the special, including why getting to fly was their favorite part.

Midler called flying, “one of the greatest joys I’ve ever experienced as an actor,” while Parker took it one step further, saying, “I’m going to go out on a broom, and say I enjoyed it more than anybody.” The special revealed some of the behind-the-scenes magic, including the fact that all the flying was done with practical effects on set using harnesses and extensive flying rigs built into the ceiling of soundstages.

“We would just be hanging up there sometimes for hours until they would swoop us and the faster the better, I absolutely loved it,” Najimi remembered, while Parker joked the harnesses were like “relaxing into a bucket with legs.” Midler noted the experience was akin to executing complicated choreography. She said, “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.”

For the trio and the entire team, they mostly can’t believe the staying power of the film. Particularly because when Hocus Pocus debuted in 1993, it was a box office disappointment and failed to resonate with critics. However, with a little bit of magic, the film has now become the  It’s a Wonderful Life (which was also an initial box office failure) of Halloween — playing in repeat showings on Freeform throughout the month of October.

Hocus Pocus Movie Cast members 25 years ago and Now


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