You may not realize it, but whether the year is 1939, 2014 or anywhere in between, one entity has held a remarkably consistent role within the pop culture spectrum — witches. While witches don’t always particularly look like the iconic ones from the East and the West anymore, influences from one to the other carry over, and there are all types of ways to catch up on some of filmdom’s favorite witches, including this list of streamable titles.
The Craft (Amazon)
Robin Tunney stars in this 1996 atmospheric thriller about a group of girls who form a witchcraft coven. Andrew Fleming directed this film, which holds up really well given its status as a 90’s thriller — actors of the era, such as Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich also show up here.
The Wizard of Oz (Apple)
Here is where those green and pink witches come in. Obviously, everyone knows The Wizard of Oz — it’s one of the most iconic films of all time, and has spawned numerous spinoffs, including most recently the 2013 film Oz: The Great and Powerful. This classic tells the tale of Dorothy and her trusty dog companion Toto as they follow the Yellow Brick Road. It also includes flying monkeys.
The Conjuring (Apple)
One of the more prominent and successful horror films of the past few years, this film thriller stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators also includes a side plot that deals with a house that was once owned by an accused witch. Similar in tone to Insidious, which coincidentally also stars Wilson.
Season of the Witch (Apple)
This movie has Nicolas Cage as a Knight. A knight who is responsible for transporting a girl accused of being a witch. The film, which has a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is peak common-era Cage.
The Crucible (Apple)
Based on Arthur Miller’s play, this mainstay of English classes is all about the Salem witch trials, and the surrounding events that transpired. The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Joan Allen in a role that earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
The Blair Witch Project (Apple)
This movie spawned the found footage genre of horror films, and for a while, actually had people believing that it might be for real. It wasn’t — it’s purely fictional, but the movie is still a fun look at a scary, believable situation. The hype was real with this one, which took the country by storm when it was released in 1999.
Despite a lot of hype during this movie’s buildup, and given its huge stars (Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman), critics weren’t big fans of this one. But maybe you’ll like it — it does feature a few rare scenes between Will Ferrell and a pre-superstardom Steve Carell. Who doesn’t love that? This 2005 remake of the iconic sitcom also features Shirley Maclaine, Michael Caine, and was directed by the late Nora Ephron.
Last summer’s imaginative take on the backstory of Sleeping Beauty’s worst enemy focuses on this villainess of a witch, played by Angelina Jolie, and Elle Fanning’s princess character.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Apple)
C.S. Lewis’ breathtaking universe came to life in 2005, when the first film in the series was released. Tilda Swinton plays the “witch,” and the performance is one of her most memorable.
Hocus Pocus (Apple)
And of course we end with Bette Midler and the gang in Hocus Pocus. This Halloween mainstay is centered on a trio of resurrected witches (Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) who return after three centuries and cause all kinds of trouble. Here’s a little known and probably useless fact: this film was directed by Kenny Ortega, who also directed the High School Musical films.