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I'm looking for a movie that scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. It was either a direct adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale, "Hansel and Gretel", or something with a similar story. Kids stuck in a house with an evil witch that wanted to eat them, that sort of thing.

The line that gave me nightmares happened at a moment where one of the children is watching the witch from hiding and after a while she says something like:

I know you're there. I can smell you!

Since this moment is the only thing that sticks out to me, these are the only details I can remember:

  • I saw in maybe the mid 90s on TV
  • I believe it was a movie but I suppose it could have been part of an anthology series or something
  • It was live action
  • It was in color and featured props/cosmetics typical of the time period I saw it in so I'd place its release no earlier than the late 80s but was probably newer than that. It didn't have any CGI that I recall so it likely predated the late 90s.
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    Sounds a lot like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). At one point, the children are hiding, and he says, "There are children here somewhere. I can smell them." Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 22:58

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Sounds like Hansel and Gretel (1987).

Based on the fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm. Hansel and Gretel are abandoned after the famine strike in the village and where Hansel and Gretel are later trapped in the deceptively decorated house of the witch Griselda who wishes to fatten Hansel so that he may be baked into a delicious gingerbread treat.

According to Wikipedia, this was produced by the Cannon Group as part of a series of fairy tale-to-movie adaptations.

Cannon Movie Tales is the collective name for a series of live-action films created in the late 1980s by Cannon Group producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, associate producer Patricia Ruben, and executive producer Itzik Kol. Filmed principally on location in Israel, these stories are generally fairy tales based on material by either the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, among others. Major stars, from both the United States and the United Kingdom, play the leading roles, in which they are joined by a mostly all-Israeli cast. The major Israeli-born member of the crew was the series' production designer, Marek Dobrowolski. Announced as early as May 1986 (at the Cannes Film Festival), Cannon initiated the project as its answer to Disney's fairy-tale offerings, and invested US$50 million in the series. Sixteen stories, each costing US$1.5 million, were originally planned; only nine were released.

The "I know you're there... I can smell you!" line is spoken at the 56:13 mark in the YouTube video below.

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    Holy buckets that was fast! The line appears at 56:13 in your attached video. Excellent work. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 18:34
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Could be Hocus Pocus:

A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

"I can smell children" phrase: https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/77fdb480-97d2-41ca-ae2b-246b1a62c75e

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    Thanks for the quick reply but it wasn't Hocus Pocus. Although I really enjoyed that movie too. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 18:33

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