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In honor of spooky season, we’ve decided to do the impossible — make an entirely subjective and fun-to-argue-with list of the top 3 best witches in cinema, of all time.
SYFY WIRE's Jackie Jennings is joined by the hosts of the Rated P for Paranormal podcast, Matty Blake and Anthony Arkin, to determine once and for all who are the most iconic movie witches ever, And their picks may scare you. In fact, we guarantee it.
We kick off the list with one witch who many consider the GOAT: The shoe-stealing, little dog-hating, redeemed-on-Broadway, Wicked Witch of the West herself as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz.
“I think we define how a witch behaves on film largely based on her performance,” said Blake, of Hamilton’s terrifying turn as this classic on-screen character. He has a point. The green face, the menacing posture, and the cackle…oh, the cackle.
And Arkin agrees: “Some people think, ‘Well, it’s kind of an old movie so it doesn’t have a lot of punch’. But I think, you know, sometimes just because something’s kind of old and stylized, it makes it even creepier somehow.” Hamilton didn’t pull any punches and the result was a truly terrifying character whose creepiness transcends the changing expectations and tastes of move-watchers everywhere.
So if the Wicked Witch of the West is coming in third…let’s just say, continue at your own risk!
For their second pick, Blake and Arkin went with the main characters from the 1968 Japanese film Kureneko. The film centers around two women who are brutally murdered and seek revenge on their killers.
“In my book, the only thing scarier than a witch is two witches,” says Arkin, and Kureneko certainly delivers. As Arkin tells us, there’s no exact Japanese equivalent for witches but the vengeful ghosts in Kureneko are pretty darn close. So we’ll let them have it. The stylized, black and white film is a truly scary entry into the witch film pantheon.
And their final pick for the best//all-around-scariest witch in cinema?
The Blair Witch. Yeah, we never see her — true. But it’s the fact that we never see The Blair Witch that made her so incredibly scary for audiences at the time (and everyone who was brave enough to watch at home). The Blair Witch Project played on our fears of the unknown and unseen to create one of the most terrifying cinema-going experiences of all time.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been that scared in a theater than the very last three minutes of that final act,” Blake remembers.
It might be hard for younger audiences to appreciate just how terrifying The Blair Witch really was but take it from us — it was VERY scary.
What do you think? Are these the most iconic witches of all time? Who are your picks?