Witches. One of mankind’s most ancient fears. From The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter, witches have been portrayed in movies for nearly 100 years. Ranging across genres as broad as horror to anime, the figure of the witch is utterly entrenched in pop culture, worldwide.
So, here is a list of the Top 10 Witch Movies out there. Including some you might not have heard of.
10) Spell (2020)
Perhaps the best way to describe this film, is to say it’s like if Misery and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a zip-a-dee-doo-dah hoodoo love child.
A family suffer a plane crash in the Appalachian Mountains and the father awakes to find himself under the care of an old woman, who says she can use her hoodoo magic to make him well. But is he her patient or her prisoner? And where are the rest of his family?
9) Pyewacket (2017)
An angst-ridden teen turns to witchcraft, as an outlet for her anger. But it soon becomes obvious that her dabbling in the dark arts, has released something that threatens to destroy the lives of those closest to her.
This movie has a good, measured pace, that builds well. But more than anything, the tone of the film really helps to create boding atmosphere, that carries the movie.
8) The Witches (1990)
Adapted from the book by Roald Dahl, this one is a treat that the whole family can enjoy. Though the recent 2020 remake attracted a little bit of controversy, the 1990 original is as good today as it was back then.
The story centres around a boy and his grandmother, who inadvertently find themselves holidaying in the same hotel where a large convention of witches are gathering. After overhearing their evil plans, the boy and his grandmother must try to put a stop to them, all while the young lad is under a spell placed upon him by the Grand High Witch, herself.
7) The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
In the quiet town of Eastwick, magic is brewing. Three young women discover that when they come together, they have the power to make things happen. Strange, unexpected things. But nothing is stranger than when they somehow manage to conjure their ideal man. But have they cast a spell on him or has he cast a spell on them?
This classic 1980’s jaunt, starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Jack Nicholson, is a magical comedy, that pretty much led the way in using witchcraft as a metaphor for female empowerment.
6) Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
A beautiful movie from famed anime creators, Studio Ghibli. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a wonderful, family-friendly tale about a young witch, trying to make her way in the world. It’s bright and cheery, with all of the charm and wonder that makes Ghibli movies such a treat to watch.
This movie’s sunny aesthetic gives a completely different take on witches, taking us away from the dark and menacing, and showing the day to day life of witch who only wants to live her best life, while helping out where she can.
5) Hocus Pocus (1993)
An absolute classic that many grew up watching just about every Halloween. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, as three witch sisters, resurrected in the modern day, to once again wreak havoc on the town of Salem.
As a Disney movie it is, of course, kid friendly, but it’s equally fun for adults – especially those adults who remember it from their own childhood. The highlight of the film is definitely Bette Midler’s rocking rendition of “I Put A Spell On You”.
4) Warlock (1989)
Back to the horror, now, we have this oft forgotten gem from the late 80’s. One of the few witch movies that has a male witch in the main role, this black-hearted treat sees Julian Sands playing the titular warlock, who has been magicked through time, in order to fulfill a mission for the Devil. Richard E. Grant plays the witch hunter who must stop him and Lori Singer, the modern girl who serves as his guide and partner, in the pursuit.
One of the nice touches of this film, is the use of common folklore and superstitions surrounding witches, making the witchcraft feel less Hollywood and more like something your granny might have told you.
3) Practical Magic (1998)
There is no way that Practical Magic could not feature highly on this list. It is beloved by so many people, especially among the ladies (whether or not they’re witches). It’s no surprise, as this movie is not simply a movie about witches, it’s a movie about sisterhood and female empowerment. The beautiful thing is that these themes come through without even trying. It’s just written into the fabric of the film, so that the viewer can enjoy a good story, while still feeling the warm and fuzzies inside, as the characters overcome their personal battles, alongside the supernatural ones. Splash in a bit of romance and it becomes the perfect witches brew for a girls night in. Especially with some midnight margaritas.
2) The Craft (1996)
In a lot of ways, The Craft is the quintessential witch movie. Or at the very least, it defined witches for an entire generation and has left a lasting impression upon the genre. For this reason, among many others, it belong in our Top 10 Witch Movies.
The Craft abandons traditional portrayals of witches and instead veers down the angle of modern witchcraft, drawing from practices like Wicca. Of course, it’s given some Hollywood flare, but nevertheless the spirit of the thing is fairly respectful to that source inspiration.
Fairuza Balk steals the show, in what is probably the defining role of her acting career, playing Nancy, the slightly twisted teen witch, who is overwhelmed by the power of the craft. The protagonist, however, is Sarah (played by Robin Tunney). She’s the new girl at school and struggling to find her place. Her place, it turns out, is in a coven of witches, who go on to channel their magic into making their teenage lives better. But at what price?
1) The Witch (2015)
There are those who love this film and those who hate it. But it has to take the top spot, for so many reasons. Cinematically, it is a masterpiece, even though it may not be to everyone’s taste.
The full title of the movie is The Witch: A New-England Folktale, and that is exactly what it is, a live folktale, conjuring up all the dark pathos of a Grimm fairy tale.
The Witch captures the sense of fear, paranoia, and superstition surrounding the lives of American settlers in the 1600s. A family believes they are subject to the terrors of witchcraft, but the lines are blurred between reality and superstition.
The exception thing about The Witch, is the attention to detail in the writing. The writers used real dialogue from old witch trials, in order to give a sense of authenticity to the film, and it is coldly effective. The audience feels immersed in the narrative, but also is made rather uncomfortable because of it.
This movie probably isn’t one to watch casually, but it is fine cinema.
The Crucible (1996)
Arthur Miller’s famous play about the Salem witch trials, adapted for the screen by the playwright himself. Though it may not be about witches in the strictest sense, it is a phenomenal movie where the fear of witches is the driving force.
The Love Witch (2016)
A great film, but very much an acquired taste. The Love Witch is a tribute the sexploitation films of the 1970s, made so well that you could easily believe that was when it was made.
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
Numerous films (and TV shows) explored the comedic “I married a witch” angle, where the witch ensnares some hapless (but good-hearted) man, using her magic. Bell, Book and Candle is a true classic of that formula.
Witching and Bitching (2013)
A black comedy from Spain, in which a group of criminals, on the run from the police, come up against a secret coven of witches, who decide that the son of one of the criminals, is the key element needed in a ritual to their terrible Goddess.
Want more horror? Check out our Best Horror Movies To Stream In 2021.