October means a month full of horror movies. There’s always a slasher on TV or a creepy classic like The Exorcist, but some of the movies I loved the most growing up dealt with witches. These aren’t all horror movies but they certainly all deal with the spookiness that comes from casting spells and brewing potions. Not only am I excited to watch some of my favorite witch movies this month, but American Horror Story: Coven premieres tomorrow night and I’m highly anticipating this season. So in honor of all this I give you my five favorite movies that deal with witchcraft.
5. So this movie does not lay the witchcraft on as super thick as the others, but when it comes into play it is intensely creepy. In this film, you know that the lead Samantha has gotten herself into a scary situation when she takes on a babysitting drop for some weirdos, and when she becomes a components of a satanic ritual shit gets real. This movie doesn’t place higher despite its massive style points (courtesy of Ti West who hopefully can match this level of filmmaking in the future) because it has less to do with witchcraft than mastering the 70’s/80’s horror feel.
4. This movie about a family of witches feels very 90’s but still holds up because of Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman’s performances as Sally and Gillian Owens. It deals with curses and love spells, blood oaths and resurrection. There’s three generations of two women each who all resemble each other down the line, one brunette and one auburn. There’s just all of these elements that have always been enduring in my mind. The story is a bit soapy and is quite romantic but I love the idea of the family line of witches and this movie does a great job of building up the mythology behind the Owens.
3. Now, if we’re going in order of the best movies on this list, this would be #1. It’s certainly the most finely crafted. It’s gorgeous, scary, inventive, and… yeah I could really go on for awhile on this one. The other two hedge ahead because they are long standing favorites of mine from childhood. When it comes to the genre, this one wields its witchy elements with a ton of mystery but it doesn’t have quite as much focus on witchcraft as the next two. When it comes to occult horror though this one is pretty perfect.
2. This movie is just vintage childhood to me. I’ve seen it countless times, but certainly every Halloween season. The witches in this movie are completely memorable, with distinct personalities and awesome costuming. When I was a kid Max was so cute and I identified as Dani (weird combination thinking back) and I wanted to live in their house so badly. There’s Jay and Ice who are now even more ridiculous than they came across as kids. But mostly there’s the Sanderson sisters, Winnie, Mary, and Sarah who eat children, cast spells, brew potions in large cauldrons, have a huge ancient spell book, and lock up stupid teenagers in cages. It really informed my view of what witches were like come to think of it. Since then it’s changed a bit, but I’ll always hold a candle to this wacky version.
1. This one is it for me. I realize many of these movies, including this one, weren’t well received by critics, but that doesn’t keep them from amassing a cult following. I watched this before I knew it has earned one, but I was entranced when I first saw it as a child. Who were these goth chicks and how do I get into their coven? Not that I ever got into witchcraft, but this movie showed the appealing and not so appealing sides. The finale is incredibly creepy and scared me to death as a kid but I still find it effective. The most memorable witch moment for me is Nancy’s toes scraping across the floor as she floats towards Chris. Forever freaking me out with that one.