Hallows’ Eve has never been the same after the 1993 cult classic film Hocus Pocus. You can watch this in nearly annual reruns on Halloween. The comedy is about three witches, the Sanderson sisters, who are accidentally resurrected by a teenage boy and his younger sister.
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Twenty-two years after the movie was released, ABC News tracked down the cast of the movie to ask them what it is like to be part of an unexpected cult favorite that was dubbed a box office disappointment when it came out. It has stood the test of time and become a holiday favorite.
Vinessa Shaw or “Allison”
Vinessa says that none of them had any idea that their movie would be so popular even years down the line. She told reporters, “It just goes to show that when you are young you watch things over and over again and it gets in your head, and just sticks.”
She is now 39 years old, but she was only 16 when she played Allison, the love interest of Max Dennison, the new boy in school.
Omri Katz or “Max Dennison”
Omri was good friends with Vinessa during the filming. They have great memories of being on the movie set, and they say the cast and crew developed a good bond.
Being young and able to work with Bette Midler, Kathy Najimi, and Sarah Jessica Parker, before her Sex and the City fame, was a real treat. Vinessa was once advised by SJP that acting is “a wonderful job if you love it.”
With regard to her younger counterparts, Vinessa says they acted like “kids in a candy store” on set. She says they had a good time. She and Thora would sing songs and run around acting crazy on the Disney lot. In the same compound, the Tim Allen show Home Improvement was also filmed so they would interact with the children on that show. They recall having a good time on set interacting with other cast members.
Vinessa has been living in Los Angeles. She’s been married for eight years and recently starred in the Showtime series Ray Donovan.
Thora Birch or “Dani”
Birch was ten years old when she played Dani Dennison, the younger sister of Max. She is now thirty-three, with several movies under her belt including American Beauty, which won an Academy Award. Birch says that she is still recognized as “the girl from Hocus Pocus.”
She told the media, “The fact that Hocus Pocus found a niche in that world where it cannot be extricated from the holiday itself, to me, is really amazing. I’m really surprised, but humbled and happy to be a part of something like that. I had the best time on that film—maybe more than any other movie I worked on.”
Birch says she was close to Vinessa Shaw and Omri Katz throughout the making of the film. There is one big difference in her real-life: while Dani loved Binx the cat, she herself is not fond of felines in her real-life.
Sean Murray or “Thackery Binx”
The now 37-year-old Murray was only 14 when cast as Thackery Binx, a boy from the seventeenth century who was turned into a black cat by the witches. Murray played the mortal being of the character, while the voice for the cat was done by Jason Marsden.
Murray spoke of his experience on the set, saying, “They weren’t quite sure what they were going to do with Binx vocally, although I did provide the voice on-set. It was the most amazing set I’ve ever seen, even ’til this day.”
Murray has since starred on CBS show NCIS since 2003. He says he’s happy to be part of a movie where he was able to develop friendships with the other cast members.
Speaking of the cast, he said, “Vinessa I’d say I was closest too and Thora was the most wonderful thing ever. We’d be on and off with the set teacher in the trailer and she’d write little hearts on the paper I was working on. If you mention it to her today, she’ll say, ‘Oh no, I didn’t do that.'”
Birch added, “Dani was in love with the cat. For me, I had an issue whenever the cat came up. There were a number of live cats, animatronic cats—the thing with the cat was a toss-up. You never knew what would happen.”
According to Birch, she, Shaw, and Katz got along well. And whenever they see each other, it’s like meeting one of her old friends. Shaw is “just a wonderful person.”
Birch is living in Los Angeles and currently single. She will be starring in the TV series Colony.
Doug Jones or “Billy Butcherson”
Jones played the zombie who was raised from the dead by the witch Winifred Sanderson.