It's that very special time of year, folks. But, before we get to the straight-up Halloween movies, let's ease into the theme of the holiday with some magical movies.
Now, I've had a thing for movies and TV shows to do with magic and witches since I was a wee youngin'. I suppose it was just one type of the wider fantasy genre that I latched onto. I was always dreaming about finding an ancient spellbook or amulet in the attic that would give me my magical powers. I think most of that comes from wanting to be special. (Woah, Tish. Calm down, this isn't therapy.) My friends and I even pretended to be witches for while and when I was older, my love of Charmed led me to discovering Wicca, and I was actually really into that for a while.
My witchy childhood aside, magic in movies is usually reserved for us girls. Once upon a time, we were just the evil witches ruining the Disney princesses' lives, but over the years, and particularly during the girl power revolution of the 90's, we started to see more female-starring movies, including magical movies. Witches no longer had to be old hags. They were beautiful young women- teenagers, even. And magic didn't have to be evil, it was used for good- even fun! Unfortunately, I'm long past those formative teenage years when girls get the "You're a witch!" notice. But, it's fun to watch some witchy movies and daydream that it's still not too late for me to discover some ancient token that will finally give me my powers...
What movie could have been better for my young, impressionable mind but a witch-romance combo? Well, probably a lot of things, but I fell in love with Nicole Kidman's flowing orange hair and goth-boho style, Sandra Bullock's hair, too, actually, the sister-sister bond, the occult style, the beautiful Victorian house in the idyllic coastal town, and "midnight margaritas!" Although, I kind of hate Sally for rejecting her inner witch and going on and on about wanting to be "normal". Why would you want to be normal when you can be magical?! I think she just has really low self-esteem and the childhood taunts of "Witch! Witch! You're a bitch!" really broke her spirits. While some magical movies are focused on the magic, this movie really just uses it as a tool to tell a story of sisters, family, and tolerance.
Now this one is definitely, maybe a movie that was not so good for my impressionable young mind. I became just slightly obsessed with it in grade 9. I started dressing in all black and white, pleated skirts, collared shirts like they do. (Ya, my somewhat-goth phase.) Nancy (Fairuza Balk) was of course my favorite. I mean, yes, she goes crazy and evil, but I identified with her so much. Not the evil crazy thing, but because she was way more into this stuff than the rest of them. She wanted to complete the circle, she taught them everything, she was the leader. And she looked so badass while doing it, amiright?
Ah, 90's high school movies. There's nothing like 'em, right? I feel like this story is almost the opposite of another 90's high school movie, Clueless. Here, we are with the losers of the school, instead of the popular kids. Sabrina just wants to fit in at her school, and then suddenly she finds out she's even more of an outsider than she thought. (Who else was hoping for that news on your 16th birthday? Anyone?) Poor, naive teenagers always wanting to fit in. Again- Why be normal when you can be magical?! Fortunately, for all of us, Sabrina learns to appreciate and love being a witch. So much that she continues to use (or misuse) her magic for 7 seasons of the following TV series!
Yes, I'm going to talk about the recent movie, not the original series. This is Movie Marathon, okay? Also, I haven't seen the series. I'm sure I caught bits of episodes here and there, but I'm no expert. Each witch movie has its own witch rules. In Charmed they fight demons, Sabrina points her finger, some witches are old school with spells and potions, but in Bewitched world, it's a nose twitch (or an ear tug). It also appears that witches live in their own world where they use their magic freely and only a crazy witch would want to live in the mortal world where she has to hide her magic and do crazy stuff like get a job. (Does she really, though? I mean, she just magicked up herself a house, a car, home furnishings, and anything else she needed first.) This is definitely a magic-lite movie. None of the negative aspects of a magical life. It's all sunshine and lollipops and Will Ferrell.
This is one of the rare times that I will include a movie in a Movie Marathon that is actually just bad. The Worst Witch is one of the worst movies. But in a delightful, 80's, bad special effects, Tim Curry kind of way. Which means it's actually worth a watch. See, bad movies can be bad in a boring, forgetful way or a "This is so bad! Look at that! That's so awful! And now they're doing what?! Oh my god, I can't believe someone was allowed to make this movie!" way. At the very least you have to check out the best worst part of the movie. Tim Curry aka The Grand Wizard is introduced to the students in this horrifying, trippy musical sequence. It's also clearly where J.K. Rowling got her idea of a school of witchcraft and wizardry. While I didn't discover the movie until much later, I watched the TV show growing up. And consequently dreamed of a witchcraft boarding school with cute uniforms, broomstick riding lessons, and mandatory pet cats.
I only discovered Hayao Miyazaki's movies a few years ago, so I'm always jealous when someone says they grew up watching his movies, including this magical delight. I can only imagine how seeing this movie as a child would have led to even more daydreams about being sent off at age thirteen to begin my witch training. I mean, I was already in love with the idea of black cats, spellbooks, and secret worlds. This story of a young witch somehow manages to be magical and yet mundane in that she uses her magical powers, not for fun as any 13 girl would be expected to, but to start her own business. I mean, when I was thirteen I wanted to start my own occult shop online, but it never happened. Maybe if I had a talking cat and a broomstick, my entrepreneurial dreams would have come true a lot sooner.