In the almost 30 years since “Hocus Pocus” first came out, a fan theory has emerged, and slowly gained steam above all others. The notion is that Allison, Max Dennison’s (Omri Katz) love interest in the movie played by Vinessa Shaw, was herself a witch, tasked with protecting Salem with her own good magic. And this year, Shaw is finally giving some clarity on that idea.
The theory first started flying thanks to a scene that Allison and Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) share in “Hocus Pocus,” in which Allison keeps the witch at bay with her container of salt, after making a circle around herself with it. In response, Winifred calls her “a clever little white witch.” If you need a quick refresher, you can watch the moment below:
It’s the only time that Allison is explicitly referred to as any sort of witch, so naturally, it’s caught the ears of fans more and more with each rewatch. But there are other details that fans have honed in on too, from the party Allison’s family hosts, to their ownership of the Sanderson house, all the way to Allison’s clothes, that seemingly make the case for her being a witch.
Speaking to TheWrap earlier this year about the evolution of “Hocus Pocus” at large, Shaw just giggled deviously when asked about this theory. But she did have an answer.
“It was intentionally implied, for sure,” she said. “Because if you notice the necklace I’m wearing, it can kind of look like — because you don’t see it, obviously, when I’m wearing the full ball gown — but later, when I’m just in the normal change of you know, jeans and the turtleneck and the sweater, you can see. And the necklace, it has kind of like a pentagram-looking design with the stones. If you look really closely… it’s a gold kind of locket, with white pearls connected to the locket, and it has a kind of design on it that could, if you kind of connected it all together, would have looked like a pentagram. But again, it was never explicit.”
Shaw also pointed to the sweater itself, noting that it has a twine of leather threaded through it, which “could mean something like a sort of protective force that I would have on.” But Shaw notes that this was all detail and backstory added by the costume designer, not the script itself.
“She said, ‘Look at how this twine is through here.’ But she mentioned it after she mentioned what the necklace was,” Shaw added. “And then she said ‘And then look at the twining that’s kind of going in through this sort of leather. That’s old world.’ And it was fleshing out the idea. So she didn’t explicitly say like, ‘This is a protective kind of item that would be for a person who practices white magic,’ but that the necklace was kind of white witchy.”
Really, Shaw loves that eagle-eyed fans picked up on these things and put together the theory.
“I love the fans. Can you guys write the next script? This is amazing,” she said. “After the sequel comes out, we’ll have another one that’s just written by the fans. Because I think they’re onto something, because it was implied, again, but not explicit to me. It could have been just between the costume designer and [director] Kenny [Ortega] or, you know, there was more, there was like a richer conversation.”
For what it’s worth, David Kirschner, who created and produced “Hocus Pocus,” didn’t have this theory in mind when he wrote the story — he hadn’t even heard about it until we asked him to confirm or deny that it was intentional. But he definitely enjoys the idea, calling it “so interesting.”
“I can deny that I have ever heard of that until this moment,” he told TheWrap with a laugh. “I’m unaware of that completely.”
You can read the full history of “Hocus Pocus” — and how it came to be the Halloween staple it is today — with more from Shaw and Kirschner here.