The Witches (1990)

The Witches (1990) - IMDb

Day 29 of the NOFS podcast 31-day horror challenge has the theme of witchy woman. I had a few different ideas for this day, but I finally decided on The Witches. The main reason that I went with this choice was because I had never seen it. The remake was released in 2020, but I made sure not to see it because I had never seen this version. I can see why this is considered a classic.

The Witches was directed by Nicolas Roeg. It was written by Allan Scott based on the book by the same name by Roal Dahl. This is my first time seeing anything that Roeg or Scott have done. I was able to learn that they worked on several projects together, before and after this.

The Witches stars Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Rowan Atkinson, and Jasen Fisher. Anjelica Huston is terrifying in her role. If I had seen this before The Addams Family movies I don’t know if I would have liked them as much. Her acting as The Grand High Witch carries a lot of the weight in the movie. Jasen Fisher does a great job considering how young he was while making the movie. He really shines while doing the voice work.

The Witches tells the story of Luke as he has a rough few months. He ends up in the care of his grandmother, who becomes sickly. Which may or may not have been caused by a witch. Luke and his grandmother go to stay at a seaside inn for her illness. Luke discovers an evil plot by witches that he has to foil.

The transformation scenes in this movie are horrific. They would put most transformation sequences in werewolf movies to shame. The puppet work is outstanding, but I would expect no less from The Jim Henson Company. The makeup for the Grand High Witch is terrifying too. The other witches look off, but they still look mostly human though. Stanley Myers did the score for the movie and his score is lighthearted enough for what the movies is but has the tension when it really has to.

The Witches seems like it should have been released in the mid80s rather than at the beginning of the 90s. I think it might have been one of the last traumatize the children watching it movies. It was also one of the movies that Jim Henson had a hand in that had a darker tone. While I might watch the remake sometime, I have a strong feeling it will be a much different film in multiple ways. I give The Witches 9 meat cleavers out of 10.

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