Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Kick-start Disney's Silver Age with a classic - 'Cinderella'! Listen now as Daniel chats with theatremakers Katrina Cornwall & Morgan Rose.x
review, The Witches, The, Witches, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson, Jane Horrocks, Brenda Blethyn, Charlie Potter, Anne Lambton, Sukie Smith, Nicolas Roeg, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

THE WITCHES

30 YEARS ON, IT'S STILL AS DELIGHTFULLY FRIGHTENING AS EVER

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Chris dos Santos
18th August 2020

Roald Dahl, unlike other authors, has had a pretty decent track record when it comes to his works being adapted for film. Even the Tim Burton adaption of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', for all its tone issues, still has memorable characters and a musical soundtrack that honestly slaps. The original Gene Wilder 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' has been filling children with joy for decades (we won't talk about the stage musical, which is easily one of worst Dahl adaptations). In 1996, we saw two Dahl works venture onto the big screen with 'James and the Giant Peach' and 'Matilda' (whose musical absolutely kills), both again doing justice to the books - especially with the latter being up there with the Disney classics as something that all kids of all generations watch. Wes Anderson whimsically adapted 'Fantastic Mr Fox' to universal acclaim, while possibly the worst Dahl cinematic adaption was with 2016's 'The BFG'. But for all of these films, they often tone down his darker elements - the only one that balls-to-the-wall went there, a film that still scares me to this day, is 1990's 'The Witches'.

'THE WITCHES' TRAILER

On vacation with his grandmother, Luke (Jasen Fisher) accidentally stumbles across a witch convention. These witches, lead by the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston), spot Luke and turn him into a mouse - and now he has to use his new form to stop them from killing children.

Anjelica Huston was made for this role. In every scene, you can see the fun she is having oozing out of her. She is delightfully menacing, and rivals the likes of Bette Midler in 'Hocus Pocus' as best witch (honestly, can we build up the cult status of 'The Witches' because it deserves a 'Hocus Pocus' level of love).

'The Witches' often appears on scariest kids' movie lists, and for good reason - both seeing a boy turn into a mouse and the reveal of what the witches look like scared me shitless as a kid (and honestly, still now). The makeup work Jim Henson Productions did still holds up, and is scarer than most horror film monsters. The fear the movie gives as a child really sticks with you.

Ironically, even though it was scary for kids around the world, Roald Dahl himself was unhappy that the film went with a happier ending than the book, so director Nicolas Roeg filmed two versions - the one we see in the film and one that stays true to the book, were Luke doesn't turn back into a boy and remains a mouse forever... terrifying. Reports say Dahl was brought to tears when he saw his original ending on film, but Roeg decided against for the final cut, going with a more family friendly ending. This angered Dahl so much that he threated to have his named removed from the film, but Jim Henson sent him a letter apologising and that calmed him down, even though he was still disappointed.

Anjelica Huston was made for this role. In every scene, you can see the fun she is having oozing out of her. She is delightfully menacing, and rivals the likes of Bette Midler in 'Hocus Pocus' as best witch.

While Anjelica Huston was a shoe-in for the role as Dahl's favourite, freaking Cher was considered for the role - that would have been a very different take that I need to see (I'll just have to watch 'The Witches of Eastwick' again for now). During production, Huston was dating Jack Nicholson, and he would send her flowers to the set, which is super adorable.

A remake is on the way with Anne Hathaway in the lead. While not my first choice, she could bring some delightful witchiness to the role, but I don't think she will be as haunting as Huston. They have come out and said the film is closer to book that the 1990 version, not stating if they are using the book's ending, but I'm sure it will be somewhat more sensitised.

Kids love to be scared, and 'The Witches' is the perfect scary children's film; it has everything you could want, and has been a stable in kids' horror for 30 years now.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 20/09/1990
RUN TIME: 1h 31m
CAST: Anjelica Huston
Mai Zetterling
Jasen Fisher
Rowan Atkinson
Bill Paterson
Jane Horrocks
Brenda Blethyn
Charlie Potter
Anne Lambton
Sukie Smith
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Roeg
PRODUCER: Mark Shivas
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Baby Done - Pregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
TRENDINGBABY DONEPregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
Rams - Where there's a wool, there's a way
TRENDINGWIN RAMSWhere there's a wool, there's a way
Salvation: The Complete Series - Take home the entire apocalyptic sci-fi drama
TRENDINGWIN SALVATION: THE COMPLETE SERIESTake home the entire apocalyptic sci-fi drama
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Dirt Music - A typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
TRENDINGDIRT MUSICA typically flawed Tim Winton adaptation
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
The Secrets We Keep - They kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
TRENDINGTHE SECRETS WE KEEPThey kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Adelaide Film Festival 2020 - The reviews
TRENDINGADELAIDE FILM FESTIVAL 2020The reviews
Corpus Christi - Dreams, deceit and salvation
TRENDINGCORPUS CHRISTIDreams, deceit and salvation
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Mean Girls - 15 years of fetch
TRENDINGMEAN GIRLS15 years of fetch
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
TRENDINGNYMPHOMANIACLars, sex and cinema
Baby Done - Pregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
TRENDINGBABY DONEPregnancy has a hilarious new poster child - thank you, New Zealand
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us