Article: My Favorite Witchy Movies

I love autumn and winter. It might be strange for a Leo, born under the blistering sun of August, to prefer cooler temps, but that’s how it is. I’m a slug from June through September, whining and dragging myself into my counseling office every day. I count the minutes until the Autumn Equinox, celebrating the very first hint of cool air and the turning leaves. Samhain and the Winter Solstice are highlights of my year, and no matter what else might be happening in my life at the time, I always create a ritual to mark the turning of the Wheel.

Death and rebirth. What’s not to love?

My fascination with all things metaphysical, paranormal, supernatural unfolded as a natural outgrowth of my strange childhood. My mother comes from a long line of Celtic and mountain wise women, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find myself doing odd things – things that made others uncomfortable. Not everyone enjoys talking to dead people and simply knowing things (or being around people who do).

Over time, I became fixated on books and movies about magic, witches and otherworldly creatures.

As part of my annual Samhain celebration, I drag out my collection of favorite movies and overdose on magic and spooky mystery.

So, when I was trying to come up with a topic for this blog post, I decided it might be fun to share a few of my favorite witchy movies. There are good witchy TV shows, too, but that’s another post.

I’m a Harry Potter fan and appreciate the witches and wizards in his world, but I’m not going to include those movies in my list today, for the sake of brevity.

#1 Favorite: Bell, Book & Candle (1958)

This movie changed my life. I know. That sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. My family was very poor when I was a child, and we rarely went to the movies. How I managed to see this film is still a mystery to me. But after I saw it, my personal weirdnesses – er, idiosyncrasies, rather – made a lot more sense to me. My imagination exploded. Kim Novak and her familiar, Pyewacket, opened the door to an amazing occult wonderland. I’ve never forgotten the tune Kim hummed to the cat while spellcasting. Okay. If I were making the movie today, I’d change the part where she loses her abilities because she falls in love – classic 1950s morality – but besides that, it’s wonderful. All the witches are playfully powerful. This movie is directly responsible for my obsession about moving to New York City as soon as I could (I visited, but didn’t stay. Another long story.)

#2 Favorite: The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

The scene where Cher, Michele Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon drink wine, eat junk food, and fantasize about meeting a mysterious, extraordinary man has to resonate with most unattached women. I’ve definitely been there and done that. The three of them aren’t conscious of their individual abilities until their combined powers become obvious. I’ve met lots of unaware witches in my life. It reminded me of all the sleepovers I did as a little girl, where we played with the Ouija board and raised each other up off the ground using only our fingertips. Magic was an everyday occurrence then. This movie still holds up for me and I can even smile at the big hair. Nobody does an unrepentant demon better than Jack Nicholson.

#3 Favorite: Chocolat (2000)

Juliette Binoche does a great job of portraying a witch who stirs her magic into various forms of chocolate. I especially like the fact that she’s a counseling witch – she spends more time listening to the problems of the people in the small, repressed town than doing anything else. Of course, I can relate to that! Add in Johnny Depp, and this is truly an excellent film.

#4 Favorite: Practical Magic (1998)

I like this movie mostly because of the Aunt characters played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest. The idea of generations of witches living in an excellent old house in a New England, oceanfront town is appealing. It’s fun watching the women and girls practice their art in the kitchen, especially when the townswomen join them. Bringing the bad guy back to life was a nice touch. All in all a sweet, magical romance.

#5 Favorite: The Mists of Avalon (2001)

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s feminist reimagining of the Arthurian legend is filled with powerful women, many of whom hold to the “old ways” of Goddess worship and ritual magic. The book was so wonderful it was almost impossible for the movie to live up to the lofty standard, but I enjoy watching it. It makes me wonder what it would be like to live in a world where the feminine is revered and celebrated.

#6 Favorite: I Married A Witch (1942)

I had a copy of this old film on video, but the tape broke, so I need to get a DVD. Funny old tale of a naughty witch, her trouble-making father, and a hapless human male.

You’re probably thinking, “doesn’t this woman like any films made in the last century – er, decade?” Yes, I like parts of them. I like portions of “The Craft,” “The Crucible,” and many others. You should see my collection of vampire movies . . .

Which movies are your favorites?