Tales of witches have been around since the dawn of time. For many, these beings are terrifying because of their abilities to bend reality to their will. For me, being a witch seems like the most exciting thing you could be. I’d love to be able to move things with my mind or cast spells or change the weather. It’s this desire that compelled me to feature witches in my upcoming book, To Astera, With Love.
When it comes to witches on the silver screen, some movies are definitely better than others. Here are my favorite witch movies.
Set in the 1630’s New England, the Witch follows a family of five after they are cast out of their colony over a religious dispute. The family – father William, mother Katherine, and children Thomasin, Caleb, Mercy, Jonas, and newborn Samuel – move to an abandoned field by the forest where they must build their own home. After the baby disappears one day on Thomasin’s watch and Caleb falls ill after a walk in the woods, the family accuses her of being a witch. Despite her protestations, bad things continue to happen.
I loved this movie from the moment I saw it. It feels historically accurate from the costumes to the set to the writing – the characters actually use 17th century vernacular. Additionally, it is deliciously creepy to follow the family’s descent into madness.
Sarah Barnes moves to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother. She makes friends quickly with a group of outcasts. There’s Rochelle, one of the only black students, who’s constantly bullied by a group of white girls. There’s Bonnie, whose body is covered in burns from a car accident, forcing her to constantly stay covered. Then there’s Nancy, who’s poor and lives in a trailer with her abusive stepfather. The girls introduce Sarah to a deity they call “Manon,” who they feel will endow them with powers. After they complete a ritual, they each start to use their powers in various ways. Nancy becomes power hungry, and soon Sarah finds herself at odds with them.
This cult classic offers ‘90’s nostalgia, teen drama, and all the witchcraft you need. The one thing that is frustrating about this film is that Rochelle’s (played by Rachel True) story line was centered on dealing with racist bullies. Given that she was the only black character, it only served to tokenize her more than the writers probably wanted.
Eight-year-old Luke is on vacation with his aunt Helga in Norway. While roaming around his hotel, he spies on a group of witches during their annual gathering. He overhears the Grand High Witch talking about a potion that will turn children into mice. Before he can get away without notice, Luke is captured and turned into a mouse. With the help of his aunt and another boy at the hotel, Luke conspires to kill the witches and escape.
I remember watching this movie with my siblings when I was a kid. At the time, I was scared by the Grand High Witch, played by the indomitable Angelica Houston. I mean, what kid wasn’t afraid of being turned into a mouse? Watching it as an adult, it’s definitely campy but still worth watching.
We all know the tale – Max and his sister Dani move with their family from Los Angeles to New England. Max is upset about the move, and even more perturbed about having to take his little sister trick-or-treating. After running into his classmate Allison, the trio visit the house of the Sanderson sisters. The sisters were hanged 300 years prior for witchcraft. The house has become a museum, and is being watched by Thackery Binx, a teenager turned cat. He warns against a virgin lighting the black flame candle, lest it bring back the sisters. The candle is lit, the sisters return, and All Hallows Eve gets a lot more interesting for Max, Allison, Dani and Thackery Binx.
This classic film featuring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters is on everyone’s list for top Halloween movies. I won’t try to convince you how great this film is because you should have seen it already – right?
College students Heather, Mike, and Josh are making a documentary about the Blair Witch, who supposedly haunts the woods in Burkittsville, Maryland. As they interview local townsfolk, they are told about the history of the witch and of a man named Rustin Parr, who allegedly killed children at the witch’s behest. As they make their way into the woods, more and more creepy disturbances occur – they hear noises at night around their tent, their map goes missing, and eventually Josh disappears.
This is the film that started the found-footage craze. When it first came out, many people thought that it was real. It’s been parodied a lot, and many people may disagree with me, but I feel this film holds up if you’re looking for something more atmospheric than gory.
What’s your favorite witchy film? Leave a message in the comments!