Disney Star Reveals They Were High On Marijuana While Filming Classic Movie

Hocus Pocus star Omri Katz revealed he and Thora were high on marijuana while filming the family classic.

By Matthew Creith | Published

When Hocus Pocus 2 dropped this fall on Disney+ to rave nostalgic pride, a renewed interest in the witch-themed films sprang up in fans around the country who believe the first Hocus Pocus is the epitome of spooky fun. Omri Katz, who starred in 1993’s Hocus Pocus as Max Dennison, has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since his days as a child actor in film and television, but has remained a staple of the Halloween season since Hocus Pocus was released. Katz has confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly recently that he was high on marijuana while filming the classic movie alongside Thora Birch, which may come as a surprise to many of the film’s young fans.

hocus pocus
Omri Katz as Max Dennison

Omri Katz, in speaking to Entertainment Weekly as part of a roundtable discussion to celebrate the release of Hocus Pocus 2, notes that while filming the original Hocus Pocus, the actor “was misperforming and not hitting my keys or marks.” Katz was 16 years old when he played the main role of Max Dennison, a sarcastic and witty new kid to Salem, Massachusetts who didn’t believe in the town’s Halloween traditions surrounding three witches from yesteryear.

While Katz claims he doesn’t remember which scenes in the film were shot while he was high on marijuana, costar Vinessa Shaw remembers that he was most likely stoned in an earlier sequence where Bette Midler’s Winifred Sanderson zaps Max with green magic.

Hocus Pocus was released in theaters in the summer of 1993, an odd choice considering the movie’s overall Halloween themes and plot, but it ended up becoming a popular cult classic among younger viewers and families looking for a bit of spooky fun without the typical horror genre creeping in. The film starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the ill-fated Sanderson sisters, comedic siblings from the 17th century who are resurrected from the dead by Omri Katz’s character Max, a virgin who lights the storied black flame candle. Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, Doug Jones, and Jason Marsden rounded out the cast of the movie which was directed by Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame.

Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw, Jason Marsden, and Thora Birch did not end up joining Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy in Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel that was released directly to stream on Disney+ on September 30. The sequel sees the Sanderson sisters returning to the scene of the crime 30 years later, with a new generation of children and adults to torment with their singing and dance numbers, which include appearances by The Afterparty actor Sam Richardson, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Arrested Development standout Tony Hale, and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham.

Critics and audiences have been split on the sequel’s standing in comparison to the original Hocus Pocus, as Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks the Anne Fletcher-directed Hocus Pocus 2 with a 63% on its Tomatometer based on 145 critics’ reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 51% based on over 5,000 ratings from users to the site.