Witches, The

Witches, The (1966)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

This 1966 British movie directed by Cyril Frankel and starring Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alex McCowen, Ann Bell, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, and Ingrid Brett is an adaption of a novel by Peter Curtis and involves the residents of a rural English town who become embroiled in supernatural terrors. Everything is sparked by the arrival of a new schoolteacher, Gwen Mayfield (Fontaine), who is haunted by what are described as Voodoo rites she witnessed in Africa.


Witches, The (1990)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A 1990 movie directed by Nicolas Roeg based on the children's book by Roald Dahl. The original story concerns a seven-year-old boy (who is never named) whose parents are killed in a car crash. He is sent to live with his Norwegian, cigar-smoking grandmother, and a bond develops between them. Dahl wrote, "In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks and they ride broomsticks. But this is not a fairy story. This is about REAL WITCHES. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs." Unfortunately, that was as far as Dahl's accuracy went.

The boy's grandmother has (supposedly) a great knowledge of witches and is determined to stop all witches of England from turning the children into mice. . . which they manage to do to her grandson. In the movie, the boy is vacationing at the seashore with his grandmother when he finds that there is a convention of witches at the hotel where they are staying. He overhears them planning to turn all the children into mice.

Angelica Huston plays the Grand High Witch. Mai Zetterling, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson and Jasen Fisher also star. Jim Henson's workshop provides the witches and the mice.

As a children's story it is amusing and entertaining, but when Henson decided to work on this major motion picture the Witches of the world were not happy. They felt there was no need to further promote the inaccuracies of the past. Thousands contacted Henson and asked him not to make the movie. He didn't listen. It seems extremely coincidental that Jim Henson died before he saw the finished product. He checked himself into a hospital in May 1990, stricken with streptococcus pneumonia. He died within a few days at age fifty-three. Witches do not believe in harming others, but they do believe that what one sends out will return threefold. Many Wiccans therefore believe that Henson brought about his own death by his determination to malign the Witches of today.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
They reflect the premise of "Witches of East End,'' a series beginning Sunday on Lifetime and based on the best-selling novel by Melissa de la Cruz: that a family of witches, the Beauchamps, has lived in a small Long Island, N.Y., town for centuries.