As well as being the scariest day of the year, Halloween is a time to celebrate the dark side of glamour – never mind your warty witches and cackling crones, over the years there have been hundreds of magical ladies on the big screen and beyond who have created some seriously hot hocus-pocus, forever putting to bed the notion of the scary old hag who forgot to use her Nivea.
To celebrate witchy women everywhere I’ve put together a who’s-who that’ll have you reaching for the nearest broomstick – fly my pretties, fly ….
Owner of perhaps the most perfect hair in old-school Hollywood, Veronica Lake starred as a witch hell-bent on revenge in 1942 rom-com I Married A Witch. Unfortunately she failed to bewitch her co-star and on-screen romantic interest Fredric March who had said of Veronica that she was ‘a brainless little blonde sexpot, void of any acting ability’. Turn that man into a toad!
One of my all-time favourite witches has to be Jadis from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – played to perfection by the ethereal Tilda Swinton. Never has pure evil looked so good – her costumes (that I would happily kill for) were designed by Isis Mussenden who tried to move the character as far away from the classic idea of a witch as possible. The iconic dress was painstakingly crafted to look as though she had covered herself up in a bit of Narnia. Amazing!
The Craft starring Neve Campbell is a cult teen-movie horror classic, and there were some seriously spooky unscripted goings on in one scene that they shot at the beach. A colony of bats appeared and lingered on the set, the waves rose up and extinguished the candles being used for the scene and when Nancy was calling for the spirit to “fill her” the power went down on the set – chills or what!
When you’ve got Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher in the cast (plus Jack Nicholson who is always welcome) then you know it’s going to be pretty magical. Although apparently Cher was originally told that ‘You can’t be in the movie because Jack Nicholson doesn’t think you’re sexy.'”. You’d be pretty gutted hearing that, but good old Cher took it in her stride, got the part anyway, and looked just as fab-u-lous as the other girls!
Anjelica Huston (who has also played Morticia Addams so is obviously a pro at being a bad-gal) brought an amazing performance to the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Determined to turn all children into mice, Anjelica played it sultry in a vampy back dress, dripping in jewels and rocking a serious statement lip with her trademark blunt-cut bob. Obviously post-transformation she looked pretty ‘tired’ thanks to Jim Henson’s wizardry, but top marks for bringing some glamour to the role.
I don’t think Helena Bonham-Carter can be beaten when it comes to her portrayal of death eater Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies – she came ready armed with a back-catalogue of kooky roles and the extra bonus of being married to Tim Burton so the part was made for her. She’s by turn sadistic, demented, childish and anarchic and I’m particularly jealous of her wild hair (damn my fine, straight locks!)
Okay, so the wicked witch of the west isn’t winning any beauty competitions, but she’s definitely the scariest witch in film ever – I still remember the first time I watched the Wizard of Oz (melting, meeeeeelllltiiing!). Who’d have thought that the actress that played her, Margaret Hamilton, was originally a primary school teacher – talk about a change of career! She was also badly burned during her final screen when her green make-up ignited – ouch. I’m going to leave you with possibly the most iconic movie witch ever – Angelina Jolie’s version was all very nice, but the original Disney Maleficent is queen of them all. Devious, demonic with the best nasty asides and an incredible cackle but yet ever so elegant too – we could all learn a thing or two from this bad-ass!
The Eagles – Witchy Woman
Santana – Black Magic Woman
Donovan – Season of the Witch
Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon
Hole – Softer, softest
Queens of the Stone Age – Burn the Witch
Kate Bush – Waking the witch
Marianne Faithful – Witches Song
The Kinks – Wicked Annabella
Thanks to Sasha L King for the scarily good graphic design and the following sites for photo credits
Veronica Lake http://acertaincinema.com/media-tags/veronica-lake/
Tilda Swinton http://www.popscreen.com/v/5Z5NO/Jadis-the-White-Witch-The-Chronicles-of-Narnia-ENG-1-of-3
The Craft http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2013/07/25-little-known-facts-about-the-craft/
Witches of Eastwick http://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/aug/12/television.usa
Anjelica Huston http://www.filmreference.com/Actors-and-Actresses-Hu-Ke/Huston-Anjelica.html
Helena Bonham Carter http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Bellatrix_Lestrange
Margaret Hamilton http://oz.wikia.com/wiki/Wicked_Witch