The quintessential films, soundtracks, and icons that make witchcraft look scarily good.
Somehow, it’s almost Halloween (yeah, what?), but we’re not mad about it. What with sweater weather making us nostalgic and all, we’ve been looking to the classics—and not-so-classics— to help get us in the spirit. And since we’re partial to a witchcraft theme, we only thought it right to send you off with a short list of the witches and witch movies we turn to time and time again. Plus, the soundtracks that we deem required listening ’cause, let’s be honest—half of what scares the shit out of you in a movie is the music. Let’s pay tribute.
The soundtrack to this deliriously vivid ’70s horror movie about a witch-ruled ballet school is the holy grail of horror movie soundtracks, scored by the Italian rock band Goblin. You should probably go ahead and just watch the whole thing, especially since a remake with Chloe Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton, the queen of creepiness, is due out later this year.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda wrote the beautifully chilling score for Roman Polanski’s cult classic, which, of course, includes that iconic theme song. Mia Farrow’s “la la la” paired with escalating instrumentals is an eery dream.
Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman—need we say more? A remake of the ’60s supernatural soap opera, Dark Shadows erred on the comedic side, and while the film wasn’t exactly a smash hit, it has a pretty killer soundtrack. Alice Cooper even makes a cameo.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
We’re all familiar with the land of Oz, but its soundtrack is worth revisiting. This film cleaned up at the Oscars in 1940, winning Best Original Music Score thanks to classics like “Over the Rainbow.” And who can forget, “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead.”
The Love Witch (2016)
This campy flick about a witch who makes men fall in love with her is a complete feast for the eyes. It’s worth watching for the costume and set design alone (it was shot on 35mm film and features insane ’60s Technicolor visuals), but we should also mention that Annie Biller wrote and directed and did costume design and production design for the film. Major snaps.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, Cher, and Jack Nicholson star in this funny cult favorite about three women who fall under the charm of a particularly alluring stranger. And, if you couldn’t have guessed, the costuming is also pure gold (think metallic gowns and big hair). Plus, it was nominated for two Academy Awards, so you know it’s a must-see.
The Craft (1996)
After The Craft came out, everyone wanted magical powers. There’s just something universally exciting about the story of four outcast witches who use their newfound powers to make life a little shinier—even if it came at a cost. Unsurprisingly, the wicked style cues (black minis, slip dresses, and rosaries galore) are still as relevant as ever.
The Crucible (1996)
One word: Winona. Inspired by the Salem witch trials, this adaptation of Arthur Miller’s famous play takes on history, painting witches in a very different way. But don’t let that fool you—the film is just as gripping, even if it’s not necessarily classified as horror.
The Witches (1990)
Based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, The Witches still stands as our go-to family Halloween flick. The queen of all things supernatural, Anjelica Huston stars as the head witch who wants to use magic to turn children into mice. It’s pre-CGI, obviously, but we kind of love that.
Bewitched may have premiered over 50 years ago, but Samantha still has us under her spell. Admit it: you’ve spent at least five minutes trying to wiggle your nose like Elizabeth Montgomery did so well, too (apparently it’s all in the mouth—who knew). Fun fact: some diehard fans created an extremely thorough drinking guide to the show. You know, ’cause every dreamy witch needs a cocktail or two. Our kinda gal.
The world was first introduced to the infamous Addams Family in 1938 by the cartoonist Charles Addams, whose first wife actually inspired the character Morticia. The family then became the subject of many iterations, the most famous arguably being the 1991 film starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia. Hands down our favorite gothic matriarch.
Sabrina fueled our teenage thirst for the ability to cast a spell (read: love charm) on someone, and the Spellmans were those witches you wished were your actual family (the angst was real). Oh, and her talking black cat Salem acted as the perfect sarcastic sidekick. Ah, nostalgia.
Maleficent has all the parts of a beautifully rendered and wildly entertaining fantasy movie—plot twists, princesses, and, of course, a healthy dose of magic. And if that’s not a draw, let’s not forget that the movie scored an Oscar for best costume design.
We may be getting older, but Disney movies never will. Namely, The Little Mermaid, one of our all-time favorites. Ariel will always be one of our style icons, but Ursula the sea witch left an equally lasting impression, playing with Ariel’s desire to be human and generally using her powers for evil. She’s the witch we love to hate.
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