Watching Witches: Magical Presences In Film

If there has been a medium that celebrates witches, it is film. Magic allows for many fabulous movie plots and effects. Some of the most iconic films that have witchcraft at their heart are:

1. The Wizard Of Oz. Even though the wizard is a fraud, The Wicked Witch Of The West is still one of the best known witches of the screen, particularly well known for her line: “I’ll get you, my pretty.”

2. Hocus Pocus. Both a play on witch-culture and a commentary on Halloween, this comedy is one of the most widely-watched films of the nineties, and still has a once-a-year slot as one of the better Halloween movies.

3. The Sword In The Stone. Merlin is portrayed as a wise, old man, who values logic and practical knowledge as much as magic. He trains Arthur to become worthy of his destiny.

4. The Harry Potter films. Although more popular as books, this film series is one of the highest grossing of all time.

 Some of the best productions in film include television shows about magic, with witches as main characters. Bewitched was one of the most widely watched shows in America. In this show, witchcraft was nothing more than the ability to tweak circumstances and deal with silly relatives. Bewitched was family focused, but it opened the door for the 90’s teenage comedy, Sabrina: The Teenaged Witch. As the young witch-still inexperienced in using spells-grows up , her friends and family get caught up in a magical maelstrom that must be solved be the end of each episode. On a more serious side, modern horror films use contemporary magic, such as tarot cards, blood readings, and Ouija boards, to bring an extra dynamic of anxiety to the storyboard. Even Disney allowed this type of magic into a recent film, as the main villain in The Princess And The Frog, uses evil spirits and voodoo to achieve his ends. Unlike books, magicians in films have very visible powers, and have a greater capacity to manipulate things without consequence. Often, in books, power has a source, and drawing too much or too little can be deadly. Movies don’t have the time to dedicate to nuances and rules, and TV shows tend to focus on the action, rather than the mundane backstory. Magic has rich history in film, and will have perhaps an even richer future.