Are you ready for Samhain, the most important holiday of the year for witches? If you are preparing to get in touch with your inner witch, then I’ve got some movies that I think would be perfect for your Halloween or Samhain movie night! Here are my top ten must-watch Samhain movies, in no particular order.
The Witch (2015)
The Witch is a period drama/horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers, based on New England folktale. The year is 1630, and William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life along with their five children: Thomasin, Mercy, Jonas, Caleb, and Samuel. When crops fail due to drought or blight, the eldest daughter, Thomasin, must be sacrificed to God in exchange for mercy.
It is an American production filmed in New Zealand. It is considered a period drama set in 1630. Not only that, but it’s also a horror film. It was originally released as a horror film but has been given an R rating by its country of origin – the USA. The style of production is reminiscent of classics such as The Crucible or Rosemary’s Baby.
It stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin, Ralph Ineson as William, Kate Dickie as Katherine, Harvey Scrimshaw as Caleb, Ellie Grainger as Jonas, Lucas Dawson as Samuel, and Julian Richings as Black Phillip. It runs for around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It was rated R in its country of origin (USA), meaning there are mature scenes in it.
The Witch is an intensely perverse new horror film by Robert Eggers. To understand anything else about it, one must first realize that there is a witch in the woods. There are a variety of psychological and cultural challenges here, yet the effect works only if the audience immediately accepts that this is a film that is dominated by Evil.
Constructing the farm at the edge of the river and woods, William and his wife Kate (Kate Dickie) live with their large family, which includes pre-adolescent son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), young twins Mercy and Jonas (Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson), and eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy). The latter of whom is their oldest child, but as she blossoms into adulthood and becomes a woman, she becomes less trusted. Especially after the newborn, Samuel, mysteriously disappears under her care.
Katherine and William bemoan that wolves dragged off their youngest child. Sadly, there are worse evils in the world, and they recognize it. Thus, they eventually start to blame Thomasin for what happened.
The opposition has lauded this film for having been supported by a Satanic Temple. While not unexpected when it is clear how opposite the film’s main characters are from these cinematic exploits and defilements—namely, the scene in the film where children speculate that the evil Black Phillip the goat is really one of them—the film isn’t entirely evil. In reality, the film is more black-and-white in its morality, though it’s a film that plays with fears of what is both inside and outside of you.
With regard to the story so far, the film quickly reveals the dark outline and jittery form of a hag who worships the devil. It is the negative consequence of her cruelty that makes the story so gruesome. According to Eggers, in the research for the screenplay, he studied many accounts of alleged witchcraft and demonism from texts from the 17th century, and there’s a distinct feeling of authenticity about how the family members not only speak but also judge the actions of one another with all the speed of an overworked animal.
Although life for America’s first settlers may have been mundane and carefree, The Witch teems with foreboding. Such foreboding denotes the deterioration of the protagonist’s psychological well-being and hints at mounting subconscious anxiety about modern-day ills. Fearing the early dawn of self-awareness in their daughter, who is realizing that she is also different, William and Katherine are as vigilant against Thomasin as they are against the possibility of something even more terrible happening in the woods.
During the makeout sessions between Jax (Miranda O’Hare) and Ronnie, a drunk bar patron wanders over and hurls hatred towards the “Tinkerbells.” This behavior is not tolerated. Throughout, the focus is on the coven, how they interact as friends and lovers, and external perspectives on who is chastised for their criminal conduct. There is plenty of fancy-dress dancing in the moonlight montages but no inherent voyeurism. Several characteristics are noticeable, including lustful posturing and owning one’s physical properties, which are weaponized as well.
The result is a film that exposes New England phobias of the supernatural, which can be terrifying even in reality. The film shows that, although Thomasin seems troubled because she doesn’t show a taste for the supernatural arts, it’s a Puritan society that is truly scary.
In these moments, Anya Taylor-Joy excels at showing the tension, fear, and confusion of a girl in a very traditional family that dislikes her because of her virtue and youth. All the other older actors do well (including a good performance by a young Travis Scrimshaw), but Taylor-Joy reaches deep, playing with enormous subtlety in this utterly startling movie. Ralph Ineson is a powerful actor portraying a man with a pious person who struggles to acknowledge his hypocrisy.
Plus, the film certainly has a dark side to it. The movie has gruesome, stomach-turning scenes of grisly horrors and silence. Its slow pace may be off-putting to some people. There are not a lot of shocking moments, though. The scares and deaths aren’t all too gruesome, so that may disappoint some viewers. The key to the experience of watching The Witch, then, is its reliance on the sense that there is something wrong with this farm. Rather than criticism of those sensibilities, or removal of them from the viewer’s experience of the film, what makes it so unnerving is that it stealthily manages to strip you of them. You find yourself moving through a world where such contemporary modes of understanding or expectations can’t or won’t exist.
Once Act III arrives, and the play ends with a taste of the darkest magic, audiences can no longer deny that they have shared a profoundly wicked and sometimes fiery experience.
The Craft (1996)
If you’re looking for a movie that has witches and the underworld, then The Craft is the one to watch. It’s about a new girl who joins this coven, and they practice magic together. Things get dicey when she starts to experiment with dark magic and star-crossed love. This is an excellent Samhain movie!
The Craft is an excellent film to watch during Halloween, so make sure you have your popcorn and soda ready! The videography is a little dated, but it’s still a great movie to watch. If you like things a little darker, you’ll love The Craft. It’s filled with girls learning to harness their power!
For me, one of the best parts about The Craft is the cheesy one-liners, low-quality special effects, and genuinely creepy scenes. For example, I especially like the sound when we see Patricia outside at night. On the other hand, there are critics that disapprove of The Craft. For example, there were critics who initially panned it for the quality of its writing.
The Craft was released in 1996 to decidedly mixed reviews. While some did see the movie’s early appeal, several major critics had nothing particularly nice to say. Rotten Tomatoes rates the movie with 55% approval.
Critics that looked at it again over the years became more positive, so if you put the movie in perspective with today’s society, it can take on even greater importance.
Too often, women feel powerless to change circumstances-political, social and financial, and take your pick that feels beyond their control. However, ‘The Craft’ presents a world in which any slight could magically be made right, and in our current climate, this can be a great way for women to take back power.
Both on and off screen, The Craft inspired future generations of witches. The movie has had a similar long-lasting effect on witchcraft in real life.
This book gained a loyal audience of a generation of women because of how it outlines the companionship of these four friends. Its early insecurities, the euphoria of its pinnacle, and its long-awaited collapse — just as real to any young woman who has had a close connection with one of her sisters grow seriously sour.
Earlier this year, Fairuza Balk called the fans’ reaction to The Craft and her iconic character, Nancy, “surprising” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Having made the film, Balk didn’t know it would land so big and have such a huge impact on people at the time. “I’ve had meetings with fans, letters, and emails where Nancy deeply affected them in their lives,” she continued that some fans refer to her as their spirit animal, adding that the movie’s goal was to make Nancy (who is often deeply troublesome) come across as truly psychotic.
The previous month, Rachel True, the actress who played Rochelle, mentioned how important it is to highlight her presence as the sole black character in the coven. When they were first offered the chance to be in The Craft, it wasn’t a great opportunity because they would have done anything, but because it stood as an icon for African-American girls. “Sometimes I think that even my [The Craft] costars don’t understand what that role at that time represented for Black women and girls,” True told the publication, “It wasn’t about me so much as what it represented to other girls at that moment.”
Beyond the jaw-dropping scenes (including the one where Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle hover over six feet in the air, with Rochelle at one point gliding so high over a parade it took my breath away), it left a 12-year-old me with mixed feelings of both fear and fascination as I watched these girls change their whole situation and show strength.
Strength in The Craft
- In an effort to punish a boy for spreading nasty rumors about her, Sarah casts a spell that reduces him to a lisping, obsessional mess.
- Even though she lost every physical battle, Bonnie still bore painful scars.
- Rochelle takes revenge on a racist bully.
- Nancy reverses her family’s financial misfortunes.
- Their rescue was not dependent on boys or parents.
- Sarah is able to get out of the situation and fight back solo, even when the movie takes an especially dark turn in the last 40 minutes or so. Neither her boyfriend nor anyone else comes to save her.
As a result of its perfect combination of horror and empowerment, The Craft is on countless lists of ’90s films and horror films to watch today, and for a good reason. Now that it (and the recent film I haven’t yet watched) are on HBOMax, it’s available for a whole new generation to enjoy! It bothers me that most witchcraft movies are presented as warnings not to practice, but it’s a must-watch at least once. Let us know what you think!
Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies about witches, especially with the sisterhood themes. It’s a fun, family-friendly movie that all can enjoy. It has lots of laughter and great life lessons for adults and children alike. It involves a curse, multiple love stories, and the most important love story of all, sisters sticking together. It’s the Thelma and Louise of witch movies!
Here’s the fantastical comedy about a family that produces witches two by two, in pairs of sisters – one free-spirited redhead, the other brunette and pragmatic. Here’s the story of true love and its unique flaw, which renders any man that a witch loves powerless to its toxicity. One option is a sister-on-sister revenge thriller. You see one (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) coming to the aid of the other when the man (Vincent D’Onofrio) in their lives has beaten one to the breaking point.
There are many stories the movie tries to tackle from Alice Hoffman’s original novel, but the moments that have endured beyond the film’s expected expiration date celebrate sisterhood and love. Even when the script changes, Sally (Bullock) and Gillian (Kidman) remain devoted to one another.
Although the timeline of events doesn’t entirely match up, the overall feeling of this storyline aligns with that of Thelma and Louise, in which Louise shoots a man to prevent him from raping Thelma. With Thelma and Louise’s only coming out a few years prior and reviews pointing out a lot of similarities in the plotline, there are many parallels with Practical Magic.
For all of Practical Magic’s inspiration from Thelma and Louise, it should have learned the most crucial lesson — that it does not need romance at all, but romance is placed in the movie with the centerpiece of a family curse.
I love it when I can watch a movie where two sisters and not just best friends but sisters who care about one another deeply. Add in magical powers and strong female roles then you’ve got a good storyline with awesome main characters to match.
This movie is appropriate for all ages and was even praised by critics when it first came out. This makes it a great Halloween movie choice to watch over Halloween weekend or any time really.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
A great Halloween movie to watch is Sleepy Hollow. A man named Ichabod Crane has just become the new constable of the town of Sleepy Hollow, and he suspects that a headless horseman is on the loose. The townspeople tell him that he’s crazy, but Crane finds out that there’s something going on in the woods near his house and decides to investigate. With a lot of hard work and help from some friends, Crane eventually catches up with the headless horseman and makes an interesting discovery.
Having grown up on Disney’s animated The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), it’s impossible not to recognize the pivotal figures in this spooky Halloween legend – the superstitious and cowardly schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, and the folklore-wearing horseman with a penchant for beheading his opponents.
When Tim Burton reworked the story into his 1999 movie, he made many changes to the narrative. Ichabod is now a constable, the Horseman is being controlled by a deal with the Devil, and the women are no longer only for love interests. One thing worth mentioning is that most of the females in Sleepy Hollow are witches, and each has her own particular role to play in the narrative. Through the characters, we get to see representations of witches, and each portrayal falls into a recognizable type in the film world.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Another must-watch Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus. This movie follows three witches who were burned at Salem but then return every hundred years. One of the sisters has the ability to suck the life out of children and make them immortal if they choose to become a witch too. These sisters are played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The film was directed by Kenny Ortega and stars Omri Katz, Doug Jones, Thora Birch, Christine Taylor, and Vinessa Shaw.
The film strikes a good balance between the silly and the scary. there is a small child killed in the opening scene and another banished to live as an immortal cat, even though the witches are silly and incompetent. It uses the idea of witches being transported from Salem and the Witch Trials to Salem in 1993 as a source of comedy while also focusing on the plot around the deaths of the children.
This is a great movie to watch around Halloween because it’s funny and spooky at times. It’s also a good family-friendly movie, although if you watch it with young children, they might be scared at some points. In addition, there are many funny side characters, including Max Dennison, who is played by Omri Katz, and Allison/Billy Burke as Doug Jones.
I can’t wait for Hocus Pocus 2 to come out next month! Let us know in the comments if you plan to see it.
The Addams Family (1991)
When it comes to movies about witches and wizards, The Addams Family (1991) is one of the best. The film is a dark comedy that tells the story of Wednesday Addams, a young girl who doesn’t quite fit in with her family. She hates anything nice and likes to cast spells on people she doesn’t like. Wednesday also has an affinity for playing tricks on her brother Pugsley as well as their butler Lurch. While they are a somewhat strange family, they still hold family values close to their hearts and help each other out when needed. While The Addams Family isn’t technically about Halloween or Samhain, it is still filled with plenty of classic moments that make the film worth watching on October 31st or November 1st!
This film is a touching, coming-of-age movie that takes place during the 1960s in Louisiana. The movie is about a well-to-do family holding a gift and a curse. It is full of lessons on Louisiana culture, life, and spirituality. The movie is mostly told through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl trying to understand the relationships of the people around her as well as her budding psychic abilities. Eve’s Bayou is full of intense drama stemming from interpersonal relationships and the mysteries of Voodoo. Eve’s Bayou leaves you looking at every plot and subplot from multiple angles. The ideas of what is right and wrong, purposeful or mistake, are not black and white and truly depend on the perspectives of how you look at situations.
Samuel L. Jackson stepped up to produce the film because Hollywood didn’t believe in a film of this type at the time. Today this movie is loved and referenced by witches everywhere. He starred in the film along with Lisa Nicole Carson, Jurnee Smollett, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Meagan Good, and Diahann Carroll.
Five undergrad witches come together during a ritual to invoke the ancient power of the witch Ashura. Their leader gets carried away and accidentally kills one of them. Ashura requires complete coven strength to invoke her powers, so she sends them searching for the final witch. While she absorbs power, the surviving girls plot to take her down, but the possessed witch unleashes hell on campus.
This is Margaret Malandruccolo’s tense supernatural girl gang flick, and it is devalued by the lack of budgetary restraints. It appears brothel-like at first glance, with gorgeous spellcasters in skimpy leather costumes – yet it is written and directed by a woman. The objectification of sexual seduction becomes less about objectifying creators and more about celebrating them.
The realm of enchantment is put on full display here. This urban legend has been many things to many people over time, so it’s refreshing to see a different take on what is often branded a boys’ club.
Suspiria is an Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. It stars Jessica Harper as a young American ballerina who joins a prestigious dance company in Germany, only to find that the group is led by her old mentor with a sinister agenda. The movie was released in 1977 and has since been labeled as one of the best horror films ever made. The film’s soundtrack, composed by the Italian progressive rock band Goblin and performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, is especially notable.
Watching Suspiria right before Samhain is a popular tradition among modern witches. This film offers an in-depth and graphic look at witchcraft and occult practices such as Satanism and ritual sacrifices. Many witches claim to have learned how to create spellwork from watching movies such as Suspiria; as it is one of a few films made available to view publicly on witchcraft, it has become one of the more influential films about witchcraft ever created.
This is a cult classic that everyone should watch. It’s about a coven of witches who are either trying to make the world better or worse, depending on their motives. In this film, witch hunts are a thing, and there’s one in particular where three witches are burned at the stake. I don’t want to spoil anything, so that’s all I’ll say about it!
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If you’re looking to delve into some witchcraft with a modern twist, then look no further than Rosemary’s Baby. Mia Farrow plays Rosemary and lives in New York City, where her husband is in a play. Her neighbors are peculiar; it turns out they practice Satanism and want Rosemary’s child so their leader can have a son.
Have you seen any of these movies? If so, what are your thoughts? Are there other movies you would recommend for this list? Let us know in the comments.
Megan Killion, aka Vehemence, is an entrepreneurial baby witch, who’s spent the last 15 years kicking ass and taking names in the B2B tech world. Megan has felt the calling of magick since she was a small child and found comfort and healing in energy work. The deeper she explored the more she felt she had “finally found a spiritual home”. Navigating the complex world of witchcraft wasn’t easy and eventually, she felt driven to create a safe place for spiritual nomads. She is committed to making Coven Cloud a place where spiritualists of all backgrounds can feel safe, included, and supported.