Prior to that, Mick Garris was a writer working for Amblin who had just written the first episode of Spielberg’s television show Amazing Stories. He wrote “Hocus Pocus” with Kirschner’s intent for Spielberg to direct — however, Spielberg declined to work on the film, seeing Disney as a direct competitor to his Amblin Entertainment (via Indie Film Hustle). As one might expect, as a mainstay of the horror genre, Garris’ original screenplay was much darker than film audiences know and love today.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Hocus Pocus” stars Vinessa Shaw, who plays Allison, and Omri Katz, who plays Max, confirmed that the darker, scarier version of the script was the one they auditioned with. Shaw said, “Once we started filming it became a fun version, a lot lighter… Obviously the witches and what they do – sucking the life out of children – are scary, but the fact that it’s done in a comedy fashion is frightening.” tasty.”