Salem, Massachusetts, United States
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without watching the 1993 Disney classic Hocus Pocus once, twice or even ten times every October! The film stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, with Omri Katz, Thora Birch, and Vinessa Shaw in supporting roles. It follows a villainous comedic trio of witches who are inadvertently resurrected by a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night. Despite lacklustre reviews and a summer release in 1993, Hocus Pocus seems to have only become more popular with time! There are numerous reasons why this 27-year-old film has become somewhat of a cult classic. For us, it’s the houses, set design and filming locations around Massachusetts! Perhaps the most popular home from the film is the Sanderson Sister’s decrepit cottage. This particular home is actually a set.
Hooked On Houses reported that Set Decorator Rosemary Brandenburg revealed, “We built the interior and exterior of the gabled house, based on an amalgam of 17th Century New England domestic architecture such as the House of Seven Gables, onstage at Disney Studios.”
318 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts, United States, 01970
Our favourite home in the film belongs to Vinessa Shaw’s character Allison. The stately Georgian Colonial is a real mansion dating to the late 1720s. It’s called the Ropes Mansion and is located at 318 Essex Street in the McIntire Historic District in Salem, Massachusetts. “The house was built for Samuel Barnard, a merchant. In 1768, Judge Nathaniel Ropes, Jr., purchased the house from Barnard’s nephew. The Ropes family then inhabited the house until 1907, when the house was given to the Trustees of the Ropes Memorial for public benefit.”
“Although altered through the years and then restored, the house looks much like its original form, with a symmetrical facade of two stories, three small pedimented gables through the roof, roof balustrade, and modillioned cornice. In 1807, however, its interior was extensively renovated. In the mid-1830s five rooms and the central hall were remodelled, and today’s doorway installed. In 1894 the house was moved away from the street and further modified internally. A large, fine garden was added behind the house in 1912.”
And then there is Max and Dani’s unique coastal home! Known as the Edward P. Balcomb Cottage, the 1,305 square foot home was built in 1870. It’s located at 4 Ocean Avenue in Salem, Massachusetts. “Strategically sited overlooking Salem Harbor, this quaint, visually appealing dwelling exhibits a remarkable collection of mid-Victorian eclectic stylistic features, considering its small size. Evidence of the Italianate and French Academic influences, so forcefully expressed in several larger Lafayette Street houses, is everywhere present. A hip-on mansard (concave) slate roof, pierced by segmental-arch dormers and capped by a square box cupola, rests atop the cubical building mass. The off-center front doorway is protected by a flat-topped modillioned canopy supported by curvilinear brackets with pendants. This doorway is counterbalanced by a front projecting bay and a lightly constructed side porch leading to a rear ell.” Information: Architecture In Salem – An Illustrated Guide written by Byrant F. Tolles Jr. with Carolyn K. Tolles.