“Halloween House” was the original name of “Hocus Pocus.” The first draft Mick Garris wrote in the 1980s was significantly darker than the finished product, so it wouldn’t have just been the title that had changed.
In my earlier draft, I had been writing about 12-year-olds,” Garris stated to Entertainment Weekly in 2017. The fact that the children were younger and more vulnerable was undoubtedly more terrifying.
The infamous epithets of Winnie, such as “maggoty malfeasance” and “trollimog,” are real epithets. On set, Midler referred to a book of ancient curses that included them.
In a D23 and Creature Features 2013 panel, Thora Birch, who played Dani Dennison, the younger sister of Max, commented, “Bette had two people racing around behind her with dictionaries of ancient swear words.”
The film made its theatrical debut in July 1993. The summer-time release date may have contributed to its less-than-stellar box-office performance.
Ortega spoke about the film’s initial flop in that same 2020 interview with Forbes.
He said, “Honestly, at that point, I thought it’s all over for me. I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to get a chance to do this ever again. My career as a filmmaker was all over.’ Then, over the years, everything changes.”
He continued, “What I’ve learned is don’t give up. I believed in Hocus Pocus, the girls believed in it, and even though it wasn’t found by audiences immediately, the generations have believed in it.”