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Original Movie References – Scary Catalog

It’s been 300 years or so, but the Sanderson sisters are finally back…and there’s hell to pay. the original hocuspocus, which premiered in 1993, opened to critical condemnation and flopped at the box office. Still, over the years, the goofy trio has amassed quite a cult following, and the film has become a much-loved family Halloween movie.

It’s surprising that it took Disney nearly 30 years to capitalize on the fandom obsession and release a sequel. When should Disney turn away from a likely money maker? Still, Hocus Pocus 2 is finally available on Disney Plus and the three witches – Bette Midler’s Winifred, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sarah and Kathy Najimy’s Mary – seamlessly return to character, casting a spell on us once again.

The sequel includes plenty of references – some subtle, some more overt – to the original film, and Creepy Catalog is here to address them.

“Amok, amok, amok”

One of Sarah’s most famous lines in Hocus Pocus is a response to Winifred stating, “All Hallow’s Eve has become a night of romping, in which the children wear costumes and go wild!” Parker’s Sarah, delighted by the amusing choice of words, utters “amok” over and over with childlike glee…until the increasingly agitated Winifred nudges her in the stomach.

This time, Winifred uses the phrase to articulate her plan. She says, “We must fly to our ancestral cottage, get a book, and brew our potion… Then we’ll go wild in Salem!” Sarah repeats “amok, amok, amok” as she zigzags on her WetJet (more on that later) until Winifred shouts “Stop it!” Don’t make me come over there with that broom.


Winifred Sanderson uses a singing voice to summon her famous one-eyed spellbook in both Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2. Not only is the musicality of the invocation exactly the same, but the book seems unchanged between the two films. While the cinematography has undoubtedly improved – and Hocus Pocus 2 benefits from such technological improvements – this book remains every bit as aged and mystical as the 17th century witches who called it.

The black flame candle

In the 1993 film, lighting a cursed candle brings the Sanderson sisters back to life. The flame is not red, but black as night. Max lights the candle believing that all the stories of the Sanderson sisters are nothing more than a harmless “hocus pocus”, but he is quite surprised.

In Hocus Pocus 2, two friends light the candle in the woods, bringing the sisters back once more to wreak havoc on the town of Salem and all its inhabitants. Today, the sisters are faced with the technological obstacles of the 21st century. They’ve gotten used to concrete roads, but what about convex safety mirrors and retinol skincare products?

Catchy musical numbers

Who could forget Bette Midler singing “I Put a Spell on You,” with SJP and Kathy Najimy on backup vocals in Hocus Pocus? In the first film, it’s the song the sisters use to cast a spell over the town of Salem, turning all of its inhabitants into their obedient, zombie-like minions.

30 years later, we get Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and a full-scale choreographed dance that rivals the likes of Time warp, as well as a version of “The Bitch Is Back” by Elton John (aptly renamed “The Witch Is Back”). Both musical numbers are upbeat and perfect for a singing session.


“Twist the bones and bend the back. Itch-it-a-cop-it-a-melaka-mystica. Rid him of his baby fat. Itch-it-a-cop-it-a-melaka-mystica. Give him black like black fur. Just. As. This.” It’s the enchantment that curses Thackery Binx to immortality as the black cat in Hocus Pocus. The three sisters face the young boy and speak the spell with infamous delight, turning the boy into a hissing feline before their eyes. (The original Thackery Binx tombstone also quickly pops up in the blink of an eye and you miss it).

In the sequel, the Sanderson sisters once again fix this gibberish-filled rhyme into their spells, as do the three young girls who become their own coven at the end of the film. They use the enchantment to return Winifred to the sisters she unknowingly sacrificed for strength and immortality via the “Magica Maxima” spell.

The Sanderson stride

They lift their dresses. They stand side by side (bodies virtually touching) as they walk. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot – and a menacing breath to accompany each step forward. It’s Sanderston’s very recognizable stride – melodramatic and manic. You see it in both movies, and it’s just as delightfully deviant 30 years later. In Hocus Pocus 2, we even see the three best friends taking on the Sanderson sisters adapting the stride at the end of the film. Do we have a new clan of witches getting ready to go wild?

“Come Little Children”

In the 1993 film, Sarah sings this lullaby tune to entice children so that she and her sisters can suck their souls and grasp their youth. The sequel opens with the Sanderson sisters as children, and an older, wiser witch (portrayed by Hannah Waddingham) can be heard singing the tune – calling out the three budding witches.

soothing circle

The soothing circle raises its head again in Hocus Pocus 2. A ritual suggested by Mary in times of tension, the calming circle first appears in Hocus Pocus when Winifred begins to doubt their potential for success – right after Max knocks over the cauldron filled with life potion.

In Hocus Pocus 2, Mary first suggests the Circle when the Sanderson sisters are children (after running through the woods to escape angry townspeople). This brief origin excerpt reveals just how much the Sandersons rely on this method to quell anxiety.

Soar…on whatever you can find

Sometimes a broom just isn’t practical. And in hocuspocus, When the children steal the witches’ broomsticks, Mary is forced to ride a vacuum cleaner and Sarah flies away on a mop. This time, the three sisters find themselves driven to a modern “apothecary” (AKA Walgreens). When it’s time to fly, Mary is forced to grab two rumbas and Sarah grabs a bubbling Swiffer WetJet.

“I smell the children”

Mary is known for her nose in both films, and she can always smell the children lurking in the shadows. So her famous line – “I smell like children” – returns in the sequel as the witches search for the innocent virgins who summoned them, Izzy and Becca.

Repeat costumes

There are several references to the original film via the townspeople’s costumes. Again, there’s a man dressed as the devil whose wife has the same curlers in her hair that Penny Marshall had in the first film. There are also three women in red referencing the Supremes, reminiscent of the three women who wore similar outfits when the Sanderson sisters performed “I Put a Spell on You.” And, in the blink of an eye and you miss that moment, there’s a woman wearing the same Madonna outfit with the cone-shaped bra that Max and Dani’s mom wore in the first movie. And those are just the most memorable costumes from the film’s predecessor.

Sunrise? No. Just a small bus

In the original version hocuspocus, Dani, Max and Allison use the headlights of a van to mimic a sunrise and escape the witch’s grasp. The sequel nods to this as Mayor Trask pulls up in his driveway and the Sanderson sisters are waiting for him in the garage – trapped in salt. At first, Mary thinks it’s a sunrise and utters “I don’t want to die”. However, she soon comes to her senses and says, “Oh oops. My mistake. It’s just a very small bus.

Sarah and Mary bid farewell to Salem…again

Who could forget Mary’s famous last line which she utters just before she crumbles into dust in Hocus Pocus? ” Goodbye. She says it once more when she fades into oblivion in the sequel, and Sarah again gives the audience a thoughtful and elegant “goodbye.”

More nods to the 1993s Hocus Pocus

  • Hocus Pocus plays on someone’s tv in the suite
  • Billy Butcherson calls himself a ‘good zombie’ – the same way Max described him to Allison in the first movie
  • There’s a new black cat named Cobweb who may also be a trapped spirit like Thackery Binx, but the movie doesn’t confirm it.
  • The Sanderson sisters’ cottage is repurposed as a modern magic and sorcery shop

Meet the author

Joshua Lezmi

Josh has worked as an entertainment writer and editor for over five years and has a background in languages, media and film studies. He loves all horror content but is a big fan of Mike Flanagan and Jordan Peele. Josh’s favorite horror movies are We, A silent placeand Gerald’s game. He also loves all things worship and camp and throws a Hocus Pocus viewing party every Halloween (some years it’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show).