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The leaves are falling (somewhere in the world where they have trees), the days are shortening (hello, seasonal affective disorder), the air is crisping (or we can dream), and all Hallow’s Eve is nearly upon us. Huzzah!
In honor of this special time of the year, I give you a list of…
TEN FAVORITE WITCHY WOMAN MOVIES
I grew up watching a lot of witch movies, and absolutely believing magic and witchcraft to be the best thing(s) in the world. Witches are powerful women (and non-women) who won’t conform, who stand up for themselves, even when trembling because they’ve been conditioned to believe they’re weak, or persecuted into believing they’re wrong. Witches are inspiring badasses. We are all witches in our own right, but it sure would be wonderful if there was more magic to go along with it in today’s world. We’ll get there, though.
I would like to acknowledge the fact that this list is incredibly whitewashed, and to that I say we need more stories on the screen about WOC (that is, Witches of Color). Go forth, Hollywood. We can never have enough Witchy Woman movies.
1. TEEN WITCH
This movie is the epitome of high school dreams coming true, at least in the ’80s. I can’t say enough about this classic gem from my childhood. The soundtrack is amazing, it’s practically a musical (in 2007 they actually made it into a musical!), and if you’re a true fan, you know all the words to Polly’s rap.
This movie has everything; human-animal transformations, high-school dances, teen romance (complete with a very graphic make-out scene to the sound of sensual saxophone), aforementioned rap-offs, condom-chants in sex-ed, Madame Serena who knows all, sees all, and tells all—I could go on and on. Most importantly, there is a heavy dose of witchcraft, some very silly spells, and an overall magically fun world to visit at the heart of 1989.
2. THE WORST WITCH
For our first Fairuza Balk sighting, we have this 80’s gem. I grew up watching this when it was called “Witches Academy,” and wanted nothing more than to go to that magical school. Indeed, this Academy was the original Hogwarts for me. And (spoiler alert!) who wouldn’t love to turn their bully into a pig?
The special effects may be laughable by today’s (or any day’s) standards, but that adds to the fun of watching Mildred Hubble navigate the trials and tribulations that befall her. Bonus treat that will make the viewing worth your while? Tim Curry‘s special Halloween performance that’ll quickly become a yearly tradition to sing along to with giddy giggles.
3. HOCUS POCUS
This is the ultimate Halloween movie. It takes place on Halloween, yet somehow I can watch this movie any day of the year. It’s deliciously nostalgic and aesthetically pleases all my autumnal holiday senses. Every aspect of this movie is just so delightfully witty and playful. It doesn’t take itself too seriously yet tells a fantastic story.
How can you top the Sanderson sisters? You can’t! I still to this day walk around quoting Winifred when she says Je voudrais mon livre. There are a ton of classic one-liners that help make this a cult-favorite. Everybody loves this movie, and I cannot wait to see the sequel, if it ever comes out. Perhaps Halloween 2021? Pretty please?
4. PRACTICAL MAGIC
Filmed in Washington, this movie still holds all the witchy magic of Massachusetts. There’s something so comforting about three generations of sisters sticking together and sticking to the truth of their magic, despite curses and castoffs. Watching this movie is like wrapping up in an oversized sweater, listening to fallen dry leaves dance across the pavement, while sipping hot cocoa.
Sure, there’s some danger and drama, but that makes the love stories, cute moments, and personal triumphs all the more sweet.
Starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Goran Visnjic, Aidan Quinn, Evan Rachel Wood, Camilla Belle, and more. Based on the novel by Alice Hoffman, written by Robin Swicord, Akiva Goldsman, and Adam Brooks, and directed by Griffin Dunne.
5. THE CRAFT
I lived vicariously through these teen witches growing up. How many of us felt so cool learning Wicca and quoting the line, “We are the weirdos, mister” everywhere we went as a coven with our three best girlfriends?
This movie is seriously messed up. If you’re not a fan of snakes and other creepy crawlies, I would not recommend you watch it. If you can handle a few shivers, it’s worth a fresh view whether you’ve seen it before or not. Bask in its ’90s glory as these four girls turn Los Angeles into their ominous playground.
Here’s another classic with a remake releasing this month. I suppose it has been thirty years since the first one came out. I will absolutely watch the new one (yay diversity and ohmygosh the art direction), but how can it compare to the original? Anjelica Huston is absolutely perfect as the Grand High Witch, I’m nervous to compare Anne Hathaway‘s performance.
Aside from super badass witches, this movie has girls trapped in paintings, kickass diabetic grandmothers, holidays by the sea, talking mice, transfigurations and transformations—what more could you want? Ugh, it’s so good. Check this one out now and then stream the new one on HBO Max October 22nd.
Why do not more people love this movie? It never got the recognition it deserved back when it came out, sliding under most people’s radar. This is a quirky, magical story full of peril and romance, witches and sky-pirates, and scheming royalty. They seriously packed so much into this film and it somehow works!
Michelle Pfeiffer plays one of my favorite witches of all time. I just love her. And this movie. Can we talk about the fact that Michelle Pfeiffer has to be a “real” witch? The woman does not age. Tell us your secrets, Michelle! (I heard she does face exercises, but that’s probably just a rumor.)
Also, how did I not know this was a book? I used to seek out books being made into movies so I could read then watch, but I’m beginning to think I’ve never had any clout in the game. #thisisthirtyfive
Speaking of Michelle Pfeiffer…
8. WHAT LIES BENEATH
This is not technically a movie about witches, per se. However, this is my best film example of a “modern witch” because most of us have amnesia to the fact that we are, in fact, witches. It comes out in different ways, but I argue that Clair Spencer is tapping into her intuitive abilities as she is “haunted” by, well… I don’t want to give it away in case you haven’t seen it.
The women in this movie are absolutely witches. Plus, this film has a total air of spook. If you’re already afraid of men, this movie won’t help that. But, it’s a super fun film that I wish got more credit because it is both a fantastic movie with a great, suspenseful story, and also a film with a “middle-aged” female protagonist. We need more of those!
(Hollywood, how about a Witches of Color movie where they’re all “middle aged” and thriving? Just an idea…)
Now grab that Ouija board and some popcorn and get ready to jump!
Since we can’t get enough Michelle Pfeiffer…
9. WITCHES OF EASTWICK
I think I watched this as a kid, but didn’t remember it at all when I watched it again this year. What a fun story! Talk about three strong women who go through “hell” with a shared devil of a man *wink, wink* and come out stronger on the other side for it.
I was totally surprised by the charm of this movie and quickly fell in love with its quirks. Plus—it was filmed in Massachusetts so it’s a lovely reminder of home. If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, I suggest you give it a whirl. If nothing else, enjoy the beautiful New England landscapes and spectacularly eighties apparel.
10. HARRY POTTER
We cannot forget the witches and wizards that make up the magical world from Hogwarts to London and beyond. And who better to celebrate on a list of witchy woman flicks than Hermione Granger? Who, I ask you? Who?
I find these films very comforting with today’s reality and often escape into this world to see my “old friends.” There’s something magical about having grow up with them, isn’t there?
Of course, all the movies have their charms (and if you’re due for a marathon I say get on that), but I feel Hermione’s finest work can be found in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and of course, the (spoiler alert!) dragon scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
For the sake of picking one to highlight, I submit Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in which Hermione really carries the team. I find this movie to be underrated, but I’ve always been partial to the quiet before the storm and moments of character connection. Still, I can’t help but really want one of Hermione’s Mary Poppins bags. That girl thinks of everything.
Woo, so there you have it! My list of ten favorite Witchy Woman movies to celebrate this magical, mysterious time of year when the days get shorter and the veil gets thinner. ‘Tis the season to cast some spells and invoke those charms. Heed the warnings in these movies, though, Witches, and let us use our powers for good.
I hope you’ve found this list inspiring! And please, let me know if there are other wonderful Witchy Woman movies that I should check out.