It's almost that magical, spooky time of year and with Halloween comes chilly weather, changing leaves, seasonal goodies, and of course horror movies. The horror genre has a pretty wide wingspan and it covers things from horror-drama to horror-comedy. It also contains a wide variety of characters and creatures from werewolves to vampires to cannibals to one of my personal favorites, witches.
Witches and Halloween go hand in hand seeing how since we were kids we've seen imagery of the big witch hats with witches flying on brooms, wearing flowing black clothing and striped socks. In addition to the overall holiday imagery, the film industry has given us some great films involving witches and the interesting thing is not every one of them has a Halloween theme. Of course most witchcraft movies have something to do with Halloween and/or horror, but these films include things that are terrifying, dramatic, playful, or downright hilarious. Just because they are not from a textbook horror standpoint doesn't mean they aren't just as fun and powerful to watch.
With this list we will focus on the 10 best witchcraft movies. Although all of these films are related to the horror concept of witches, not each of these is a textbook scary movie. Also bear in mind this list is not in any particular order and might contain some graphic imagery.
10. Practical Magic (1998)
You can chalk this up to more of a story about sisterhood and bonding than creepy depictions of witchcraft, but that doesn't make Practical Magic any less fun to watch. The chemistry between the lead actresses, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, made the characters more interesting to watch and you were able to relate to their humanity more than being mystified by their powers. It also portrayed witchcraft in a more playful manner.
9. The Witches (1990)
Despite being a PG-rated children's movie, The Witches was quite terrifying given its time frame. Considered to have some of the best practical effects created by the legendary Jim Henson, it included scary creatures, animatronic rodents, and a lot of mystical and creepy glowing eyes. If you have fun being scared then this is the witch movie for you.
8. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Centered around three women dreaming of being swept off their feet, their wishes come true after an eccentric man arrives in their small town. More of a comedy than anything else, the great ensemble cast of Susan Sarandon, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jack Nicholson make The Witches of Eastwick a fun, sorcery filled movie. Plus you can't resist that poofy 80s hair.
7. The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Yes, I am aware this is a Disney movie. I'm by no means insisting that The Sword in the Stone is scary, but with the introduction of the all-powerful wizard Merlin, things do tend to cross between good and bad magic. Merlin describes himself as a good wizard only using his powers for educational purposes, but with the intrusion of Madam Mim, a black magic practicing witch, Merlin has to think on his toes and use his magic for something more. This is a fun movie to watch with the kids and it's whimsical in a way that any age can enjoy.
6. Suspiria (1977)
Often considered to be one of the best horror films ever made, George Romero's 1977 classic introduces us to a young ballerina who travels to Europe to attend a prestigious ballet academy. Suspicion of the academy's true intentions and practices come to light after a series of murders and disappearances, only to reveal the academy is a hidden witch coven. It's full of suspense and is seriously a great movie to watch in the dark; That is if you love being scared.
5. The Harry Potter franchise (2001 - 2011)
It's impossible to talk about films containing witchcraft and sorcery without mentioning Harry Potter. The wildly successful book series blossomed into an even more successful film franchise and it was all about a boy with special powers who is sent to a school for wizardry and witchcraft. While there were some heavy thematic elements within Harry Potter, the movies and books were aimed towards children and the highest rating received for any film was a PG-13, so you could definitely consider these children's movies rather than horror films. However, that doesn't make them less interesting to watch.
4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It's impossible to mention witchcraft in film without talking about what is likely to be the most iconic witch in film history. Many viewers of the day credit The Wizard of Oz for being their first introduction to witchcraft and the reference of flying monkeys and "getting your pretties" is referenced to this day. It also gave us a detailed and magical world where witches travel via bubbles and are melted by applying water.
3. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
This is one of the lesser recognized witch movies despite being over 20 years old. It follows a young witch who sets out on her own as a delivery girl in exchange for a place to live. Kiki's Delivery Service is more of a children's movie, but it does have a great morality to it and teaches us through Kiki's success that if you're confident in yourself you will find what you are looking for.
2. Hocus Pocus (1993)
This Disney offering is considered by many 90s kids to be one of the best movies of the decade. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters, who are brought back to life for one Halloween night by a young new kid in town. The only catch is they try and pick up where they left off after being hanged during the Salem witch trials, sucking the lives out of all the children in the town.
Hocus Pocus is one of those movies you can re-watch as an adult and still have a great time. You also will catch a lot of humor and imagery that went right over your head as a child. It's full of comedy, horror-themed imagery, and some pretty high stakes for a Disney movie. It's seriously a real gem despite what some people say.
1. The Craft (1996)
The Craft is that movie your mom was afraid you'd watch at a middle school sleepover. It touched on the subject of witchcraft in a somewhat believable sense, seeing that just about every group of teenagers has that "goth" group that most people think are scaring everyone for fun. The difference here was the girls actually knew what they were doing.
The story follows Sarah (Robin Tunney) as she enrolls in an upscale Catholic school and falls into a trio of outcast girls claiming to be a witch coven. With the addition of Sarah, the group soon begins to conjure up spells and curses leaving the group's leader, Nancy (Fairuza Balk), with a delusional sense of power. In the end you can credit the downfall of the coven to "karma's a bitch," but it also leaves you with a chilling sense of belief that this could happen which not many witch movies can pull off.