1.) The Witches Of Eastwick (1987)
This classic starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon as the title witches with Jack Nicholson as the seductive Darryl Van Horne. The three witches, unaware of their powers, find it unlocked through the meeting of eccentric millionaire Van Horne. His seduction unlocks their power and causes tongues to wag in the town of Eastwick. However, the women realize the extent of their powers and unite to overthrow their lover. While this is considerably less dark than the John Updike novel on which it's based, it still holds up and is about as far into romantic comedy territory as I'm willing to stray. Ideal for a ladies' night in with lots of wine as a post-ritual wind down.
2.) The Witches (1990)
Any childhood that doesn't have a recollection of Roald Dahl in it sounds a touched shaded by grey to me. This writer's book was transformed for screen by the
Jim Henson company, and was the last film to be worked on personally by Mr. Henson prior to his death later that year. This is a fortunate thing, because given the whimsy and fantastical in this story, very few others would be able to transfer that outlandish wonder without making it seem cheap and tawdry. It chronicles the story of a young boy who is orphaned and lives with his grandmother, a former witch hunter. She regales him with stories of child-hating witches, and teaches him to watch of signs of them. They holiday away from home where they unwittingly stumble onto a rat's nest of witches and have to use all their skills to avoid their wrath. Meant to be a kid's story, it's perfect if you want something on the diet dark side. I recommend taking it in while babysitting your friend's kids, so if the witches are too scary, you can hand them off at some point, and finish your movie in peace. Oh yeah, and Angelica Houston is also the Grand High Witch. Reason enough to watch this film.
3.) Hocus Pocus (1993)
Another kid's movie you say? And a Disney one at that? I know, I know... I'm in danger of losing any street cred I might have once had. I'm totally fine with this, though. Hocus Pocus features Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters, witches who were burned at the stake for eating children and are inadvertently resurrected on Halloween in contemporary times. Not only does it have the three aforementioned ladies, it also boasts one of my utter favorite suit/body actors, the amazing Doug Jones. He brings to un-life the adulterous zombie lover of one of the witches and steals the show. I almost went on a date with a guy once because he was Cosplaying Jones' Billy Butcherson. It's THAT good. Again, if you are babysitting or have smaller children this is a great film choice. Likewise, if you go to any of the shadow cast screenings of this, be sure to have lots of shots, as the viewers hold this in the same kind of box office flop cult status as Showgirls. Approved.
4.) The Craft (1996)
If I needed one movie to sum up the whole of my teenage angst, it would be The Craft. This 90's film inspired a thousand goth girls and affected youth to form a vast array of covens across the planet. Sarah moves from San Francisco to L.A., is an outcast in school and finds herself making friends with three girls studying witchcraft. They grow in power with dire consequences for playing with powers they don't yet understand the scope of. When things turn dangerous, Sarah tries to distance herself but finds herself stalked by her coven mates. I don't know anyone who didn't try 'light as a feather, stiff as a board' at parties at least once. I recently re-watched it and saw that it had withstood the test of time, which was pretty awesome. It's tricky for these type of teen flicks to not become dated, but I'm pleased to report this is still as good now it was for adolescent me. Also: the soundtrack was pretty killer for us riot girls back then, too.
5.) Black Sunday (1960)
This witch-turned-vampire-revenge film was Mario Brava's directorial debut. In true Gothic Italian fashion, it has high drama, revenge, and suspense, like the bastard lovechild of a classic opera and giallo film. When a witch and her lover are burned at the stake and tortured, she vows revenge on her brother's descendants. Fast forward to contemporary times when she is accidentally awoken by having her tomb disturbed and some blood spilled onto her, reviving her. Her and her lover, now awake and undead as vampires, seek their distant relations in order to drain them. This film is so grand, and so over the top that despite a number of these 'return from the grave' plots, this one stands above as the most decadent, like putting a cupcake next to a bran muffin and inviting comparisons, really. Enjoy if you are savoring a dark mood, or are craving something dramatic but don't care for the junk food viewing of reality television.
6.) Warlock (1989)
I need to give some love to our male witches, the warlocks out there, who would feel left out if I didn't acknowledge the gentlemen spell casters. I had a particular fondness for Warlock, since I find the lead in question, Julian Sands, to be so delightfully wicked and for Lori Singer, who plays Kassandra, whom he menaces. Again, another return-from-the-grave-revenge plot, but seeing the warlock coping in contemporary times gives it a sheen of warmth with the humor, characteristic of the late 80's. While the climax of this sees almost the destruction of life, it has Kassandra save the day by figuring out the Warlock's weakness. What it lacks in substance, it makes up with style, and while it has a subtle campiness to it, it's still a fun popcorn movie for a night in and conducive to making out.
It's that time of year again: the trees blush in their leaves at the summer indiscretions they witnessed and drop their foliage in one last hurrah. Days grow shorter, pumpkin spice-flavored everything comes into vogue, and in Vancouver white chicks in yoga pants will talk your ear off about what they love about autumn. Or that could just be me, but I digress. One of my favorite things with regards to this season is, surprise, Halloween. With Halloween it's basically party month for myself and like-minded folks where we buy all our spooky home decor for the year, we wear orange and black with gusto and binge watch horror films. More-so than normal, anyways.
In the spirit of the season, I often despair since we have a wealth of things to choose from in terms of viewing. I get overwhelmed with selection, and wind up choosing things rashly or in a fit of pique. My intention with this, however, is to streamline this for you, by suggesting some of my favorite witch-themed films. Take the genre, clip off a bit of sub-genre, and go from there. Today, I want to share my top six witch films with you. This is, I must stress, not an exhaustive list, because, let's be honest, there are A LOT of movies floating around out there. This is just happens to be a selection of old favorites that I thought you might enjoy.