Two of the best movies to watch around Halloween share a connection only the most astute viewers will notice. While Hocus Pocus (1993) is a family-friendly movie that’s more funny than scary, Scream 2 (1997) is a seriously scary slasher movie with plenty of gore. A particularly scary scene in Scream 2 follows scream queen Sarah Michelle Gellar as college student Cici Cooper. After being introduced in the iconic film class scene, Cici is shown lounging at her sorority house dutifully playing “sober sister” for her housemates while watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) on TV.
That night, Cici gets a series of flirtatious-turned-menacing calls from Ghostface, who she at first assumes is her drunk amor, Ted. Though she lives on a busy college campus in a house shared with many other women and is ostensibly guarded by campus security, Cici is lured into a chase scene with Ghostface where she runs up her sorority house stairs and is eventually (spoiler alert) stabbed and thrown from an attic balcony to her death.
Not only does this scene feel like a throwback to the original Scream where Sidney runs up the stairs to escape from Ghostface through the attic, but it is a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Sidney’s conversation with Ghostface where she says she doesn’t like horror movies because they’re all about “Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door.” Super sleuths and hardcore fans of Hocus Pocus may have gotten a sense of déjà vu during this scene. The winding staircase Cici climbs is the same one Alison Watts (Vinessa Shaw) descends from in Hocus Pocus.
The house used as the Omega Beta Zeta Sorority house in Scream 2 (1997) is also the home used as the interior of Alison’s fancy home in Hocus Pocus (1993). The home, known as The Crank House or Fair Oaks Ranch, is actually located in Altadena, California. The Crank House is a Victorian home that was built in 1882 and is part of the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally owned by a Confederate general’s widow. This is why the interior easily passes for an old Salem family’s home. In Hocus Pocus, Alison’s family is wealthy (her mother used to own the Sandersons’ cottage/museum) and has a French-aristocrat-themed Halloween party in the home.
The Crank House has been used for many film and television projects, and viewers may also recognize it as Miss Trunchbull’s house in Matilda (1996), the Strong home in Catch Me if You Can (2002), and the Bartlett family farm from The West Wing. Unfortunately, the Crank House isn’t open to the public for tours, but die-hard fans can (respectfully) see the location from the street at 2186 E. Crary St. in Altadena, CA. For more Easter eggs in the Scream franchise, view our comprehensive guide to the franchise.