With The man from the north putting the witches back in the spotlight, the witch has always been part of the history of cinema. The endless possibilities of their powers make witches one of the most interesting characters in movie history, and many of these movies have evoked magic from critics.
It doesn’t matter if it was animated fantasies like make disappearor scary horror movies like The witch, witchcraft never fails to bewitch the public. Despite a coven full of great movies to choose from, some witchcraft movies scored much higher on IMDb.
ten General Witchfinder (1968) – 6.7
Starring legendary actor Vincent Price in one of his best films, Witch Seeker General is a historical look at how witchcraft was punished in ancient England. Mad with power, a man travels the country claiming to rid the cities of their infestations of witches. Lining up his pockets with money, the man is pursued by the brother of one of the women he persecuted.
Most stories involving witchcraft are horror stories, but Witch Seeker General was terrifying for entirely different reasons. The film features very little witchcraft and instead talks about how the superstitions of ancient people were used to justify evil deeds. Price is downright diabolical, as he goes about his business with gleeful surrender for life and bodily integrity.
9 Bell, Book and Candle (1958) – 6.8
The same year actors James Stewart and Kim Novak lit up the screen in Alfred Hitchcock’s film fear of heightsthe couple co-starred in a completely different love story. Bell, book and candle follows a witch who falls in love with her new neighbor and uses her dark magic to make him fall in love with her. The only problem is that he is already engaged to another woman.
The film is filled with classic witchcraft imagery, including black cats and dusty old spell books. Its suburban neighborhood setting was a funny change of pace, and the two leads are practically magnetic onscreen together. Far from her role as damsel in distress in fear of heightsNovak is in complete control and all Stewart can do is hold on.
8 The Witches (1990) – 6.8
Most modern witchcraft stories being somewhat apologetic, The witches was a reminder that witches can still be scary. A young boy discovers by chance a gathering of witches in his small town. Despite being turned into a mouse, the boy will stop at nothing to make sure the witches don’t carry out their evil plan.
Generally considered one of Roald Dahl’s best adaptations, The witches was an intense children’s film. Pulling no punches, depicting the witches’ true form is a spooky use of prosthetic makeup. Anjelica Huston is downright diabolical as Miss Ernst, and it’s her brilliant performance that makes the film memorable.
7 Hocus Pocus (1993) – 6.9
As it passed without fanfare on its initial outing, Hocus Pocus lived on as a Halloween cult classic. A misfit boy moves to Salem, Massachusetts, where he accidentally awakens a trio of evil 17th-century witches who were executed for their witchcraft.
Practically dripping in the spirit of Halloween, the film is a love letter to the beloved fall holiday as well as a great tale of modern witchcraft. The trio of witches each have distinct personalities and it’s great fun watching them play against each other. Hocus Pocus succeeds because it separates scary from fun, and doesn’t get too scary for its young audience.
6 The Witch (2015) – 6.9
When it comes to directorial debuts, few authors have burst onto the scene like Robert Eggers with his film The witch. The film follows a New England family in the 1630s, who are tormented and divided by the evils of witchcraft that exist all around them.
Perfectly capturing its primitive colonial atmosphere, The witch is a rare glimpse into the primordial days of the United States. Although much has been said about the infamous Salem witch trials in the 17th century, the film offers an entirely different take on the story. Leaning heavily on the esoteric nature of witchcraft, all evil manifests in the black goat of the family.
5 Black Sunday (1960) – 7.1
Witchcraft offers filmmakers endless possibilities with their stories, and black sunday explored the horrific potential of black magic. When a witch is slain in the past, she uses her magic to possess one of her future distant relatives.
Part witch story and part possession story, black sunday is one of Mario Bava’s scariest films. The film uses its black-and-white imagery to perfection, and several visuals are still chilling to this day. Although it is deeply rooted in the decade that produced it, black sunday also has a timeless quality.
4 I Married a Witch (1942) – 7.1
I married a witch was one of the first films to discover that witchcraft had the capacity to be as funny as it was scary. Using her dark magic to return hundreds of years later, a witch resurrects herself in the present day to torment a man who is a descendant of the person who sentenced her to death.
Even though it was made in the 1940s, the film has a remarkably modern sense of humor. Veronica Lake is resplendent as Jennifer, and she perfectly embodies the film’s tongue-in-cheek jokes. Complete with classic 40s Hollywood gloss, I married a witch showed that witchcraft stories could work in any era.
3 Suspiria (1977) – 7.3
Generally considered one of the best non-English horror films of all time, sighs was a truly unique take on terror. When a young American dancer enrolls in a prestigious German dance school, she finds herself at the center of a strange plot involving witchcraft and murder.
Director Dario Argento showcased his full vibrant color palette in the film, and every scene is packed with nightmarish imagery. Showing witchcraft from the outside, everything in practice looks alien and terrible. Although the film is a bit light on plot, it more than makes up for it in the gore and suspense departments.
2 The Witch (1922) – 7.6
Told in faux-documentary style, the classic silent film The witch is still one of the most chilling examples of witchcraft in cinema. Supposedly telling the story of witchcraft from its beginnings until it led to anti-witchcraft hysteria in Europe, The witch used many scary images to captivate its audience.
With no real plot to speak of, the film is a feast for the eyes as the “information” is presented entirely through visual reconstructions. Done with a somewhat scenic and theatrical tone, the film’s demons and witches are eerie. While most modern audiences are put off by silent films, there is a hypnotic quality to The witch that keeps viewers engaged.
1 Spirited Away (2001) – 8.6
While most witchcraft stories in movies are told from a typically European point of view, animated movies like Taken away as if by magic offered an entirely different cultural look at witches. A young girl’s life changes when she moves to the suburbs with her family. Along the way, she accidentally discovers another world populated by magical and fantastical creatures.
Showing that magic has its good and bad sides, Taken away as if by magic is one of the most creative stories ever filmed. Unlike many witch horror stories, the film is all about finding magic in the mundane, and that finding can often come from change. Other than that, it also features several recognizable witchcraft tropes, including an evil witch who turns people into animals.
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The 10 Best Witchcraft Movies, Ranked By IMDb – CNET – ApparelGeek
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