The Witchy Watchlist of 2019

There’s something about this season that really does it for me, that invigorates me with the onset of cool weather, colorful leaves, school buses running, and, of course, all of the great Halloween decorations that come out. There’s cider to drink, hayrides to go on, and haunted houses to navigate our way through, to say nothing of ancestors to honor, graveyards to tend, and magic to work. Unfortunately, very few businesses seem to have gotten the memo that this is a special time of year for many of us, so odds are good you’re going to be exhausted from work this month and may not have the energy to do much. Never fear!

If you can’t quite bring yourself to make it out of the house to celebrate OUR season (and all the good/bad things that come along with it, whether we’re the heroes or the villains), stay at home and watch a witchy movie. I’ve gathered a list of some of my favorites (must include a witch or a magical practice), but comment below if I’ve missed yours!

1. Mary and the Witch’s Flower: How can you NOT love a spunky, red-headed girl? She’s the most helpful little witch you’ll ever meet (although maybe not the most graceful).
2. Sleepy Hollow: Is the 2nd day of October too soon for necromancy? I think NOT.
3. The Blair Witch: Yes, this was legit scary when it came out. Let yourself watch it alone, in the dark, without a chattering group of people with you if you want to remember your earlier jitters.
4. Suspiria: Watch the old one. Watch the new one. Just watch one of them and allow yourself to be swept away by the imagery.
5. Inferno: I actually saw this one before the other two in the trilogy (Suspiria and the next one on the list). There isn’t much story to be found out, but visually it’s electrifying.
6. Mother of Tears: The final movie in the trilogy, this one didn’t perform so well, but once again the imagery might carry you away with some ideas.
7. The Craft: We’ve always known we were “weird”, but this movie reminded many of us that it was something to celebrate, not hide away. Watch this before playing “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” this October.
8. Dreams in the Witch House: If you’re a fan of Lovecraftian horror and imagery, make sure to dig this old movie out. Might make rats a new favorite amongst witches in the coming year.
9. The Wizard of Oz: An old classic, one that’s kid-friendly, and will have you longing for a pair of ruby shoes of your own (or maybe just a really nice sequined pair).
10. The Witches: Glinda just taught us that only bad witches are ugly, but damn, she didn’t count on Anjelica Huston. Or did she mean the deep-down sort of ugly? Or maybe…well, whatever the lesson, this was our first Queen of the Witches and she was sort of heroic in her evilness.
11. Haxen: A silent movie that can be pretty lurid, Haxen is almost like an artistic documentary. Much like Suspiria, you’ll end up watching it more for the imagery than the story.
12. The Ritual: Reminding us that some of the most powerful rituals involve sacrifice, and also that the gods WILL have Their due.
13. The Witch: Get yourself some chocolate, fruits, wine, and honey while you watch this, and every night after. Live deliciously, my friends.
14. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Reminding us that witches can also be sweet, hardworking, and absolutely lovely people.
15. The Skeleton Key: What do YOU believe in? I believe that people can get into some shenanigans when they go poking around in dark attics and locked rooms.
16. Disney’s Snow White: Not all glamours are about looking good. Sometimes a witch has work to do (even if it IS ultimately about looking good…*cough*…). Well, we all have our priorities, and we all WISH we had a chatty mirror to co-host our makeup tutorials.
17. Bedknobs and Broomsticks: This never seems to show up on streaming services, which is a shame. It’s probably the first time I saw a witch represented positively outside of a glittered tiara.
18. Season of the Witch: Nicholas Cage AND witches. There, I’ve given you all the incentive anyone should need to watch this MASTERPIECE (which is quite corny, yes, but still good fun).
19. The Covenant: I don’t trust rich kids with money. Giving them skads of power just seems like a terrible idea.
20. Spirited Away: If fairy tales taught us nothing else, they taught us the rules of magic and how it’s considered rude to eat food left out for spirits. Some people didn’t get the memo…
21. Some witches live in the woods. Some witches rent apartments. Some witches manage to get land and then do not want to give it up (who can blame them, with this housing market?). Follow the gripping story of one old witch’s desperate attempts to keep strangers out of her home.
22. The Witches of Eastwick: There are plenty of problems to be found in this movie, but I take a lot of pleasure in seeing a group of friends come together in magic and love to support one another and raise their kids.
22. The Witches of Eastwick: There are plenty of problems to be found in this movie, but I take a lot of pleasure in seeing a group of friends come together in magic and love to support one another and raise their kids.
24. Howl’s Moving Castle: Do you know people that hound you non-stop to read their tarot or do a spell for them? Imagine how much more frustrating it would be if someone expected you to win a war for them.
25. Magic beans? MAGIC. BEANS?! I actually like to eat a big bowl of chili while watching this one…
26. Neverlake: You might have trouble finding this one, but if you do, make sure to stick with it all the way through. The rituals described in this, and the twisted bonds of love, are absolutely breathtaking.
27. Wake Wood: More necromancy! Anything can be scary if it’s perverted from its original purpose, but I find the ritual at the core of this movie to be deeply touching.
28. Practical Magic: You might watch it for Sandra. I watch it for the most badass pair of aunts anyone could ever aspire to be. If this isn’t me in 20 years I will be DEEPLY disappointed as I’ve been perfecting my chocolate cake recipe for YEARS.
29. An American Haunting: Are you familiar with the Bell Witch? This is a very loose take on it, but deeply riveting and entirely upsetting.
30. Pumpkinhead: Sure, you’re a badass witch. But are you a badass witch that can summon up a demon to keep shenanigans from going on in your hills? And if so, can we be friends?
31. Hocus Pocus: Let’s end on a light note here. If you’re watching this day-by-day, odds are good you’re going to be passing out candy at home. Might as well enjoy the night with three lovely ladies.

No, I didn’t forget. Thanks for sticking around this long. Without further ado, I present THE SECRET BONUS MOVIE YOU KNEW WAS COMING….

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[Ashley Nicole Hunter sits on the board of directors for Bibliotheca Alexandrina and has been published in a few reputable (and otherwise) publications.]