I was just sitting here wondering what “witchy” movie I’d watch tonight. I love anything magical and witchy, and there have been some delightful characters throughout the ages. You may even know of a few witches that I’ve missed on this lens. But here are a few of my favorites. I chose them for the “witch lore” there is nothing more fascinating than how Hollywood adds to witch lore with glamour of utterly beautiful, delightfully funny witches and terrifically frightening witches.
Angelica Huston, what a deliciously evil witch. She’s beautiful, yet frightening too, one of those beautiful witch qualities we all love to hate. In “Witches” she plays the Grand High Witch. The witch of all witches and leader of them all. Her name is Eva Ernst and she turns a boy into a mouse after he stumbles into a witches convention out to seek and devour children.
The Plot goes like this: An old Norwegian woman named Helga (Mai Zetterling) warns her grandson Luke (Jasen Fisher) about witches, demonic females who hate and destroy children. Helga explains that witches reside in every country in the world. While they look and act like ordinary women, it is really an elaborate facade. They hide their bald heads with wigs and their clawed hands with gloves; their feet have no toes. About the only way to tell them apart is by their purple eyes. They also find the smell of children repulsive. She goes on to describe how witches use devious methods to do away with children, and evade detection. For instance, a Norwegian witch locked her best friend inside a painting. It is hinted that Helga herself was nearly destroyed by a witch when she was younger, losing one of her fingers in the process.
Cool stuff but all Hollywood hogwash. I highly doubt people who were accused of witchcraft had all these magical powers, and clawed hands etc. But what the heck, it’s a fun movie and worth watching. Evil Eva Ernst (Huston) cannot foil the pure of heart! But we love her for the frights don’t we?
Elizabeth Montgomery : Hands down we have to say this is the witch who came into our living rooms once a week to zap us into falling in love with her. We loved how her poor husband had to deal with all the hocus pocus! The television show “Bewitched”, which ran from 1964-1969. This sitcom probably created the modern-day view we have of witches. Beautiful, creative, independent, and bewitching! How lovely to pop in and out of the best clothes, fly anywhere in the world, eat the best food, and clean the house all at the same time! This show by far is the best presentation of what we all wish was true witch lore. How nice an image of a magical housewife would have been during the Spanish Inquisition, but alas, we really can’t clean the house with the wiggle of our nose, but it’s nice to dream about it!
Agnes Moorehead: She appeared in more than 70 films, including Citizen Kane, a variety of sitcoms and plays yet she became most famous as Andora, the witch of a mother-in-law we all hate and love in “Bewitched.” She totally deserves a strong mention here due to her sense of class, style, and wickedness that she strives to curtail. Although she can’t stand Darrin (her son-in-law) she does try her best to accept him, much like a lot of in-laws in real life. She’s delightful with her wicked sense of humor and harmless view of seeing the magic in all things.
Margaret Hamilton: She worked for seven years as a character actor in a variety of films, and she also worked as a school teacher before her agent called her for the part as the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Hamilton’s plain face and looks gave her roles as a spinster or sinister character. When she asked her agent which part would she play, he said, “the witch of course.” The Wicked Witch of the West, is by far one of the most memorable and most terrifying witches of all time. The fact that she could melt with a bit of water was a good one to add to any book of Witches lore. Her vulnerability and yet outstanding command as a witch was fascinating. She was powerful and evil, but she could be brought down. Hamilton died in 1985 at the age of 82. She devoted most of her life to children’s causes and animals.
Lucille La Verne: it is said that children wet their pants at Madison Square Garden when they first heard the voice and cackle of Lucille La Verne, the voice of the wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She was born in 1847 and died in 1945 at 72 of cancer. Throughout her long career she played on stage, and later went on to pictures in 1914. Although this wicked queen was an animated character, the one line: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all.” Added to the witch lore. Kids even today say the same line when they look in the mirror.
Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest portray the true witches in the film Practical Magic. They delightfully add to the modern witch lore by wearing the most spectacular clothes and hats. They are witches that are totally styling and living it up in the modern world. They teach their magic of herbs with a dynamic book of shadows to train their young nieces. These witches are delightful as they lead their young charges to be truly magical.
The Devil is in the details when he gives Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Phiffer, magical powers. Particularly as their thoughts become things in The Witches of Eastwick. These witches are breathtaking and build up the witch lore regarding the power of three. Three witches are better than one, particularly in this movie. The witch lore of this film also shows that not all witches are evil, some can even banish the devil for good.