The Witch re-imagines the “classic” witch as we’ve come to know her. With the story of a family tormented by mind games, demonic possessions, and other sinister travails, we’re plunged into a paranormal experience quite unlike anything else that’s been on screen in years. Put together through the collective efforts of A24 Films and DirecTV, it’s a truly chilling tale that takes us back to a time of true darkness — early 1600’s New England. Now that The Witch has premiered in theaters all over the country, it’s a good time to revisit some of our other favorite witches in film and see how they stack up to this new vision of evil.
The Craft is considered a 90s cult classic — think Mean Girls but with a coven of young, outcast witches who are eager to test their powers on their unsuspecting peers. Nancy Downs is their cold and cruel coven leader. Like most villains, she is power hungry and will stomp anyone who gets in her way. She’s also extremely cunning, manipulative, and unrelenting, giving her a deadly personality combination for the perfect villainous witch.
Miss Granger, from the Harry Potter series, is one of the best examples of a modern “good witch.” She’s brilliant and a bit headstrong at times, but she has a kind soul and a deep compassion for others. However, she is no pushover, as Draco Malfoy can attest to. Hermione has helped her friends through countless predicaments and fought many forms of evil with her ingenuity and resourcefulness. Her skills and knowledge of witchcraft know no bounds, making her a perfect figure for young muggle-born and pure-bloods alike to aspire toward.
Ursula, the Sea Witch
When we think about pure evil, we don’t necessarily think of The Little Mermaid, but the legendary Ursula is one of the greatest Disney villains ever. Her goal is simple: rule the seven seas in King Triton’s place. What better way to strike at the king than to use his own daughter against him? Before stealing Ariel’s voice, Ursula instructs the young mermaid on how to get a man with “body language.” Only a truly wicked witch would put these thoughts into a young, hormonal teenage girl’s mind.
The Sanderson Sisters
Hocus Pocus triples our witch-y quota with the Sanderson Sisters. Winifred, Mary, and Sarah have been dead for 300 years, but get resurrected in the 20th century when Max Dennison lights the Black Flame Candle in an abandoned cottage. In order to live anew, they must steal the souls of children before dawn. As magic-users go, the Sanderson Sisters are quite a bewitching team, but it’s their dysfunctional dynamic that makes them so captivating.
The Wicked Witch of the West
Despite the title of the movie, The Wizard of Oz transfixes all viewers’ gazes on the Wicked Witch of the West. This green villainess makes it her life’s mission to exact revenge on a young girl (and her little dog too!) for crushing her sister with a house. She has a knack for booby-traps and an interesting bunch of flighty groupies. She’s the classic embodiment of a witch. From her mannerisms to her voice, right down to her crystal ball and her evil glare, she’s enough to make us shiver in our slippers.
Whether it’s soaking up every bit of witch-y knowledge they can, stealing children’s souls, or simply casting spells of magnificent skill and cunning, these ladies have everything we could ever ask for in a frightening femme fatale. They come in different forms, but the message stays the same: mess with them and you’ll certainly regret it.
Article by contributor Beth Candice.