Do you want to watch some witch movies? But you aren’t sure which witch movie to watch. Don’t worry, this list has got you covered. Stir up some of your favourite brew in a cauldron, grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a bewitching Halloween. Here are
The 20 best witch movies for you to watch during Halloween:
The Witches (1990)
Based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, The Witches is not another family movie with magic in it. It’s far more disturbing than that. That is one of the big reasons why it’s so great. It suggests to kids that any woman could in fact be a witch — a witch who is plotting your demise at this very moment. A little boy stumbles upon a convention of murderous, child-hating witches who keep their scabby bald heads and gruesome claws (the work of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) hidden beneath wigs and gloves. The bewitching Anjelica Huston stars as the Grand High Witch, who speaks in an ambiguously European accent. However, she is 100% unambiguously evil.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
In recent years, Hocus Pocus has become a cult-classic Halloween mainstay, ruling the airwaves as dominantly as A Christmas Story does in December. There’s a good reason for that: It’s the perfect Halloween movie, and a must-watch for aspiring young witches. The Sanderson Sisters — played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy — are resurrected 300 years after their deaths to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting trick-or-treaters of Salem, Massachusetts. Also in the mix are a centuries-old talking cat that contains the soul of a boy enchanted by the witches, 11-year-old Thora Birch, a zombie, and an all-time great cover of “I Put a Spell on You.”
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
An obvious choice, but for good reason. There is no spellcaster on film more iconic than Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, a role which left her with second- and third-degree burns in a production mishap, and which required her to wear green makeup that contained toxic copper oxide. Even through all that suffering, Hamilton (who, by the way, was nearly two decades younger than Billie Burke, a.k.a. Glinda the Good Witch) made being wicked look like a lot of fun. Even the film version of the character was intended to be glamorous at first, with actress Gale Sondergaard originally cast as a Snow White’s Evil Queen–style figure, clad in black sequins and fake lashes longer than the Yellow Brick Road. Today, Hamilton’s artfully unappealing weirdo is precisely what we think of when we think of a witch: When children wear a witch costume for Halloween, it’s really a reflection of her that they’re imitating. Wicked is great and all, but the Wicked Witch requires no revisionist history to make you want to root for her.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Three best friends — Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher — bond over their fantasies of a dream man, only for him to appear in the form of the mysterious, appealingly sinister Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson). It’s a classic story: Boy meets girl, boy seduces girl, boy meets and seduces the other two girls, boy is almost certainly the Devil, all three girls finally realize they’ve been witches this entire time. Also, as Racked recently argued, this horror comedy’s aesthetics are extremely on point.
In Suspiria, an American woman travels to Germany to enroll in a renowned dance academy, only to discover the ballet school is a front for a sinister coven. But the plot hardly matters, because this is one of the most singularly beautiful movies you’ll ever see. Better yet, Dario Argento’s luscious Technicolor fever dream is paired with an equally iconic prog-rock score by Goblin. You’ll want to watch this one soon: Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino filmed an upcoming remake with Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Dakota Johnson.
Black Sunday (1960)
Widely censored after its release — and outright banned in the United Kingdom — Mario Bava’s influential masterpiece is rendered in stark yet stunning black and white. A long-ago executed witch rises from the dead, hell-bent on revenge, in a visual feast of castles and coffins and gore. Even today, the imagery is arresting, if not downright stomach-turning. This isn’t a movie for the squeamish: In the opening sequence, a spiked mask is hammered onto star Barbara Steele’s head, and later, scorpions crawl out of her grotesque, semi-preserved face.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This movie kicked off the ‘found-footage’ horror movie genre. The supposedly real footage featured three filmmakers who were seeking out a strange old woman in the Black Hills Forest. The Blair Witch Project went on to become a global phenomenon. Its viral marketing campaign built on the rumour that the actors were actually missing and presumed dead. But for all its parodies and pop-culture overexposure, the movie is still scary as hell. That said, you’d be well advised to skip the sequels, and the poor townspeople of Burkittsville, Maryland, would strongly prefer if you left them alone.
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
In this Kim Novak–Jimmy Stewart rom-com (basically the opposite of Vertigo, which came out six months earlier), a Manhattanite witch puts a love spell on her neighbor so he won’t marry her insufferable college nemesis. But the plan backfires spectacularly when she winds up falling head over broomstick for the guy — even though witches who fall in love lose their powers. Along with 1942’s Veronica Lake–starring I Married a Witch, Bell, Book and Candle helped inspired the TV series Bewitched.
The Craft (1996)
Do your favorite tenth-grader a solid and slip her a copy of The Craft while she works on her umpteenth essay about The Crucible. This ’90s horror flick about a coven of high-school outcasts holds up quite well, as does its dark brand of girl power. And I do mean dark: not just in terms of “the rites to Manon” performed by the girls, but also the film’s grappling with serious issues like suicide and rape. Robin Tunney is technically the lead character as bland white witch Sarah, and sister sorceresses Neve Campbell and Rachel True are both delightful as Bonnie and Rochelle, but make no mistake, this is Fairuza Balk’s movie. She’s all blue eyes and snarl as the unhinged Nancy, for whose friendship I would gladly drop a small fortune at Hot Topic, even if it’d end with her trying to kill me.
Witchfinder General (1968)
Witchfinder General is one of those torture-centric horror films that caused a bonafide uproar in British society upon release, but would quickly seem (relatively) tame in the gonzo horror years to follow, especially in the U.S.A. Vincent Price stars in a role he always considered one of his finest performances, giving life to reviled witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, who is estimated to have been responsible for the executions of 300 or more suspected witches in the mid-1600s. Unlike his earlier Edgar Allan Poe films of the ’60s, this is no campy performance in the vein of Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror or House of Usher. This is Price at his most stately, serious and sinister, embarking on a wave of brutal killings carried out in the name of religious conviction. It captures England during a period of unbridled mania and savagery.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
This Hayao Miyazaki animated feature was one of the very first movies from Studio Ghibli, the beloved Japanese anime powerhouse known for building worlds full of magic, possibility, and wonder that are populated with bold, adventurous children (particularly girls). The kid-friendly film centers on 13-year-old witch Kiki, who leaves home with her “familiar spirit” black cat and starts a delivery business via her broomstick. Magic powers aside, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a sweet story about a girl on the precipice of adulthood, learning to make her way in the world and rely on herself. Witches: They’re just like us!
Into the Woods (2014)
Film adaptations of beloved musicals are almost always polarizing; to succeed, the movie must simultaneously capture the magic of the stage while bringing something visually new to the proceedings. Movie stars take the parts of talented stage actors, sometimes to the detriment of the music. But the fantastical nature of Disney’s Into the Woods leads to a visual spectacle, and the cast—including James Corden, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick—does a fine job with the songs. Streep is especially enjoyable as the story’s vindictive witch. The real joy here is seeing a Disney fairytale that satirizes Disney fairytales, but with half an eye on its tween-set base, it’s never quite as wickedly dark as Stephen Sondheim’s original. Still, it’s a refreshing twist to see the princesses taking control of their own destinies, and the humor of princes just a little too in love with their own charm won’t be lost on even the youngest audiences.
The Witch (2016)
This modern gem of a witch movie builds up slowly and reaches its conclusion with a heart-stopping ending. The movie takes place in the New England region during the 17th century. The movie revolves around a family of religious exiles who become suspicious of their teenage daughter after her new-born brother goes missing mysteriously. It’s tough to say which idea in The Witch is more frightening to confront: the evil that lurks in the dark woods, or the paranoia and suspicion that seizes the secluded farmstead?
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
This gorgeous southern gothic drama, set in 1960s Louisiana and directed by Kasi Lemmons, is a moody meditation on family, mysticism, and sex. Ten-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett) witnesses her womanizing doctor father (Samuel L. Jackson) cheating on her mother. After turning to her fortune-telling aunt for guidance — and following a drunken, hazily understood act of violence — Eve seeks out a local voodoo practitioner (Diahann Carroll) for revenge.
Only Neil Gaiman would write a setting where a steampunk-tinged high fantasy universe just so happens to exist next-door to a boring English hamlet in the mundane world, and anyone can cross between the two by hopping a five-foot stone wall. That’s the exact mixture of twee whimsy and light fantasy satire you find in Stardust, a somewhat overlooked, family-friendly romantic fantasy that seems increasingly eccentric in retrospect. This is, after all, the film that gave us Robert De Niro as a strangely cast sky-pirate named “Captain Shakespeare,” who we were meant to take seriously as an expert fencer, while future Marvel Daredevil star Charlie Cox serves as his padawan learner. The real reason to see the film, other than the radiant Claire Danes as the fallen star who is essentially the title character, is the deliciously evil Michelle Pfeiffer, the leader of a coven of witches who seek Danes’ heart as a means to preserve their youth. Pfeiffer taps into some of that old Batman Returns cattiness here, playing her role as a vampy sorceress to the utmost. Whenever she’s on screen, it’s a joy to watch her revel in her own villainy.
Practical Magic (1998)
There is a movie which stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as eccentric, modern-day sister witches. That movie is called. Still need more reasons to watch it? Well, here goes. Widowed mother Sally (Bullock) is reserved but powerful; Gillian (Kidman) is an irresistible free spirit. After killing Gillian’s abusive boyfriend Jimmy — who is also a serial killer because sure, why not? — the women flee to the sleepy Massachusetts town where they grew up. A handsome law enforcement officer (Aidan Quinn) soon shows up their doorstep, and so does Jimmy’s vengeful spirit.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the novel by Ira Levin is the only film on this list you’ll find in the Criterion Collection, but this horror movie’s fancy pedigree doesn’t make it any less viscerally upsetting. Rosemary’s Baby forever raised the bar for terrible neighbors. With her husband’s cooperation, a coven of Devil-worshipping ghouls occupy an Upper West Side apartment building and conspire to have a young woman Rosemary (Mia Farrow) raped and impregnated by Satan himself. Four out of five obstetricians agree that you should not accept prenatal “vitamin drinks” from the spooky lady down the hall (played by Ruth Gordon, in an Oscar-winning performance), especially if there is a nonzero chance your unborn child could be the Antichrist. Half a century later, the movie’s legacy is more potent than ever: Jordan Peele cited Rosemary’s Baby as a key inspiration for Get Out.
The Love Witch (2016)
After a woman flees the investigation into her husband’s suspicious death in San Francisco for the California coast, she takes up residence in an apartment in a gothic mansion decorated to resemble her beloved tarot deck. There, she embarks on a single-minded pursuit of potion-enhanced love and lust, with all the seduction interrupted only by the occasional murder. Auteur Anna Biller — who wrote, directed, and produced The Love Witch, in addition to serving as its editor, production designer, costume designer, and composer — painstakingly crafted this gloriously ’60s-exploitation movie turned feminist satire, heavy on retro glamour and sensuality.
The magnificent Maleficent features some stunning visual design. That visual brilliance is both the weakness and strength of the movie. The filmmakers put a lot of effort into the film’s visual design (sometimes, unfortunately at the expense of the story), and his top-notch collaborators include makeup whiz Rick Baker (who designed Angelina Jolie’s witchy nose, horns and severe cheekbones), costume designer Anna B. Sheppard and production designers Gary Freeman and Dylan Cole. Their efforts vividly bring the fairy tale settings to life, updating one of Disney’s original witchy antagonists for the modern age.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, more so than any of the watered down Narnia sequels that followed, did an admirable job of taking C.S. Lewis’ iconic series and interpreting its inspiring DNA to the screen, while leaving behind those elements the rank-and-file viewers would not necessarily care to consider—its Christian allegorical themes, most prominently. What we’re left with is to some degree a sanitized version of Narnia, but not in a way that has somehow been defiled—rather, it’s simply been broadened, simplified and made approachable for younger audiences. It’s certainly well cast—the Pevensie kids are the right blend of naive and likable, with the exception of the churlish Edmund; Liam Neeson is the lordly Aslan, who radiates power and gravitas; and Tilda Swinton could hardly be more icily menacing as Jadis, The White Witch. As it always has since the novel was first published in 1950, the film’s depiction of Jadis is chilling but seductive enough to make just about any kid wish they knew what Turkish Delight tastes like.