The season of terror is in full swing and it is the most potent and powerful time to cast spells, craft altars, and worship the supernatural. Witches have been portrayed in a dozen different ways on film over the last century, from evil to concubines loyal to Satan or the balance of nature.
Witches can be macabre or striking symbols of female power and autonomy. We’ve sifted through decades of witch-centric cinema to bring you the BEST witch movies ever.. You’ll laugh, cry and probably even squeal at the best of the hex, with witches becoming the hopeful heroine or the grim and manipulative mistress of the dark.
10. The Love Witch (2016)
From writer-director Anna Biller, The Love Witch throws us back to ’60s Technicolor for a pulpy, satirical look at sexual hierarchy. Predatory priestess Elaine, played by Samantha Robinson, presides over this period visual homage as a witch on the hunt for a surrogate for her late husband. Using her magic to make men fall desperately in love with her, Elaine leaves a trail of corpses in her wake as The Love Witch exposes just how deep men’s fear of women and her sexuality can run. .
9. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
Kasi Lemmons’ (Harriet) first feature film was Eve’s Bayou, starring a young Jurnee Smollett as Eve, a 10-year-old girl living in 1960s Louisiana. Increasingly concerned about her father’s (Samuel L. Jackson) infidelities and abusive behavior, Eve turns to a local hoodoo practitioner (Debbi Morgan) for answers – and possible solutions. Eve’s Bayou is a wonderful story of love, hate and pain set against a sinister southern gothic backdrop.
8. The Curse of the Witches (1990)
Produced by Jim Henson, and based on Roald Dahl’s book, The Witches’ Curses (which was remade by Robert Zemeckis in 2020) developed a strong cult following over the last three decades as a delightfully wicked children’s horror film, with a twisted comic twist and terrifying visuals that left their mark on an entire generation. Anjelica Huston spearheaded this tale of grotesque witches who hide in plain sight as normal-looking citizens, leaving it all up to a young boy and his grandmother to save the day after they uncover a plot by the Grand High Witch to destroy all England children.
7. Young and Witches (1996)
Boys and Witches did for witches what Hidden Boys did for vampire movies, bringing lore and legacy to the realm of outcast teens, refreshing the brew for a new set of fans. When four teenage misfits (Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True) start practicing witchcraft, their self-confidence and social standing are immediately boosted. But darker impulses and desires work to tear the quartet apart in this game-changing marathon of pop culture.
6. Practically Magic (1998)
Based on Alice Hoffman’s 1995 novel and directed by actor-director Griffin Dunne, Practical Magic features an all-star cast led by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. As sisters Sally and Gillian, descendants of powerful witches, Bullock and Kidman work magic on screen in this comedy-drama about inexperienced sorceresses who accidentally give rise to an evil spirit that threatens their entire family legacy. Despite the stars involved, Practical Magic didn’t immediately find an audience, but since then, over the past 25 years, it has garnered adoration and acclaim. Goran Visnjic (who you can see in the new Hellraiser), Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, and Aidan Quinn co-star.
5. Nicky the Witch’s Apprentice (1989)
Miyazaki’s Nicky the Witch’s Apprentice, adapted from the 1985 novel by Eiko Kadono, is a magnificent and moving film from Studio Ghibli about a young witch trying to find her place in the world. Nicky, a witch girl, moves to a new town with her cat, Jiji, for her first year of independent living, facing the challenges of life supporting an air courier business. It’s a charming coming-of-age fable about overcoming self-doubt and recognizing your own worth.
4. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
From charming to chaotic, The Blair Witch Project swept the box office and ignited a horror movie phenomenon. The terror was left to the public imagination when three filmmakers headed into the woods to investigate a local legend, only to become lost, hungry and cruelly played by unseen forces. Largely improvised by the three leads, who shot the film themselves and barely interacted with directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez during the actual production (leaving them basic notes every morning that took them to scenes and sets they had never seen before). found), The Blair Witch Project took place at a time when the internet was in its infancy, leading most to wonder if this was real or not. Which only increased the fear.
3. Sighs (1977)
Suspiria, by Dario Argento, is a paranoiac paranoia. The story of a ballet student who uncovers a conspiracy involving a cabal of witches, Surpiria is like walking through a nightmare at times, as Argento demonstrates her mastery of creating an environment and a world that is exclusively yours. The gruesome, convoluted murders, the garish color palette, the creepy sound (including a haunting Goblin score), Suspiria is a hallmark from hell.
2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
This landmark musical, adapted from L. Frank Baum, may have had an amusingly flimsy take on the witches, but it imprinted an indelible iconography on audiences. A witch template, so to speak. The black dress and hat, the cackle, the green skin, the broomstick, these costumes (and decorations) can still be found in Halloween stores today. The Wizard of Oz may not be a full-fledged “witch” movie, but the Wicked Witch of the West is one of the most famous movie villains of all time, marking her territory among Draculas, Werewolves, etc.
1. The Witch (2015)
The terror of Robert Eggers’ unrelenting and unnerving story The Witch, which only involves a small wooden house and the nearby woods, is a prime example of how shocking horror can be when it’s composed and precise. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy became an instant star as Tomasin, the eldest daughter of a 17th-century family who becomes the target of a nearby coven of witches after her father’s strict religious beliefs cause her all be exiled from their New England colony. The witch, as evil as she is, ends up being a tense and thought-provoking storyline about the need to live deliciously (when the alternative is being shunned by a crazed, misogynistic society). It is one of A24’s best films to date.
If you want more Halloween tips, here are the best Netflix horror movies available right now.