Halloween is about a week away, and Halloween reminds me of witches. There are a huge number of movies that feature witches. Here are my top ten favorites.
1. Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz, 1939) – For anyone who grew up before the Harry Potter series, the Wicked Witch of the West is the iconic witch of all time. Best scene – sending the flying monkeys off to capture Dorothy.
2. Grand High Witch (The Witches, 1990) – A young boy accidentally runs into a convention of witches. This is a very underappreciated movie. Based on a story by the brilliant Roald Dahl.
3. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, 2011) – Truly an evil witch who murdered with pleasure. Her battle with, and elimination by, Mrs. Weasley was a memorable moment in the film series.
4. The White-Haired Witch (Forbidden Kingdom, 2008) – The film is one of my favorites in the fantasy genre. The witch (Ni-Chang played by Li Bingbing) is the second primary villain. She has long hair that is a dangerous weapon.
5. Maleficent (Maleficent, 2014) – The movie was a huge hit with good reason. Great story, performances (especially by Angelina Jolie), costumes, everything. The plot completely surprised me — in a good way.
6. Mirror Queen Witch (The Brothers Grimm, 2005) – The witch, played by Monica Bellucci, causes trouble for Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. The witch looks beautiful when viewed in her mirror. In person, not so beautiful.
7. Levana (The Black Cat, 1989) – The film, also known as Demons 6: De Profundis, is a guilty pleasure. The witch, Levana, takes exception to a movie being made about her. This Italian movie defies description. Totally bizarre.
8. Jadis The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005) – I’m not a huge fan of the film, but the White Witch, played by Tilda Swinton, is menacing and drives the plot nicely.
9. Winifred (Hocus Pocus, 1993) – This Disney film has a great combination of humor and scare, and has appeal for children and adults. Winifred (Bette Midler) is the oldest of three witch-sisters and is after the children protagonists.
10. Evanora (Oz the Great and Powerful, 2013) – Both bad witches, older sister Evanora (played by Rachel Weisz) and younger sister Theodora (Mila Kunis) are great, but I pick Evanora because she’s more evil — Theodora is more tragic as a victim of love. Fantastic fight sequence between Evanora and the good witch Glinda.
11. Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman, 2012) – Charlize Theron isn’t quite menacing enough.
12. Muriel (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, 2013) – Not a bad film and Famke Janssen does a very good job playing a very bad witch.
13. Clementianna (Mirror Mirror, 2012) – Would have made my top 10 but I just can’t quite accept Julia Roberts as an evil queen-sorceress.
14. Yi Wei (Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, 2015) – Yi Wei is a demon/witch lieutenant of Snow Girl — I think — a hard film for me to fully grasp what was happening.
15. Mother Malkin (Seventh Son, 2014) – I liked this movie with Julianne Moore as the witch (and Jeff Bridges as a secret society knight), but it didn’t do well at the box office.
16. Witch Queen (The Last Witch Hunter, 2015) – Not a bad film but rather slow-moving.
17. Flora (Burn Witch Burn, 1962) – British film, known as The Night of the Eagle there — witchcraft in the 1960s at a university. Interesting film.
18. Veronica (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 2010) – Disney production with Monica Bellucci in a supporting role.
19. Morgana Le Fay (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 2010) – Alice Krige (well-known as the Star Trek Borg Queen) played a small role.
2o. The Witch (47 Ronin, 2013) – She was just called “The Witch” and was very evil. Played by actress Rinko Kikuchi. The Witch has one blue eye and one brown eye. The film didn’t do too well, but I liked it much better than most of my friends. Rather depressing ending — all the 47 good guys end up dead.
21. Lavinia (The Curse of the Crimson Altar, 1968) – Lavinia, played by actress Barbara Steele, had a cool reverb-y voice. She and her husband, played by Christopher Lee, lead a murderous cult from their English country estate.
22. Akivasha (Kull the Conqueror, 1997) – Akivasha is a sorceress-witch played by Tia Carrere. She uses her magic to enchant Kull (Kevin Sorbo) and become his queen. OK. I can think of worse things than a honeymoon with Tia Carrere.
23. Lamia (Stardust, 2007) – Lamia, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of three witches. Bad witches. This movie has good reviews but I wasn’t very impressed.
24. Helena (Suspiria, 1977) – This movie is a cult classic. It has great cinematography but I rate it only so-so.
25. The Open Hearth Witch (The Wicked, 2013) – Teens camping in the woods. Deserted house that is supposed to be the home of a witch. What could go wrong?