The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CVIII: Witches

Fangoria! Woo!
Carolina Bang torments Hugo Silva, and Mario Casas in Witching and Bitching (2013)

Witches. They used to strike fear in communities throughout the world. But Sabrina, Samantha, and Hermione have taken some of the edge off of the concept of the witch. Can a movie about witches still provide scares? Abso-witching-lutely!

Dark magic. Feminine power. Pagan ritual. Witches for centuries have been often associated with that which is unexplainable and destructive. The fear of societies rallied against those who conjured perceived hexes and performed heretical acts. Whether it was the lonely old crone or the seductive temptress, witches often were to blame for the ills of society.

Hunted and persecuted, the witch has certainly gotten a bad rap, but recent times have restored the witch in a more romantic light. Thanks to popular culture they are now seen as a sisterhood of mystery more than evil intent. Gone is the fear. Here now, is the fun.

Not to be lost in the equation, however, are some of the most powerful horror movies of all time. Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Suspiria (1977 and 2019). The Blair Witch Project (1999). The Witch (2015). These are all landmark films that will stand the test of time, and they take their witches quite seriously. There aren’t a ton of witch based horror films, but like werewolf films, there will be a good one in every generational cycle and a number of underground surprises that are worthy watches.

Witch movies have always been a good mirror for reflecting the views of the place of women in society. From the role of the housewife at the dawn of the feminist movement in Season of the Witch (1972), to the brazen goth-girl power of The Craft (1996), to the sexual drive explored in The Love Witch (2016), to the iconic tale of the Salem witch trials in the adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1996): the witch on screen is a discussion about women and power (or the lack thereof).

But, it can ALSO still be played for fun and scares. Bring on the hexes, the curses, the cauldrons. Sometimes you just want a cackling hag… or the specter of one. We’re game for that action too. Witches are just so emblematic in popular culture, and there are many ways to appreciate them. Having reached October, a question for our female fans: Have you ever been a witch for Halloween? Did you go for the classic Wicked Witch of the West? Baba Yaga? Or sexy witch?

Double, Double toil and trouble! Fire burn and cauldron bubble!

MacBeth, William Shakespeare Act IV scene 1

Go grab your eyes of newt and toes of frog, and settle in for Episode 108!

PS: Breaking trending witch news! Cinemablend has announced that The Craft: Legacy is being released by Blumhouse and that they have cast their leads. Whether or not this is a good idea is up to debate. Those actresses look SO YOUNG. Trailer Post upcoming…

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