Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bad, The Badder, and the Baddest: Witchcraft Movies

I’m intrigued by the connection made in the 1960s and 70s movies between witchcraft and devil worship. It does make me laugh, but a lot of folks take this very seriously. Their only introduction to pagan practices is through supposed nighttime ceremonies involving candles and evoking something that isn’t their traditional God. Therefore, it must be Satan they call upon.

Okay, whatever (rolling my eyes and sighing). I really thought we passed that in the 1600s but I still know pagan practitioners who are terrified to tell people what religion they are. What country do we live in?

Well, in respect for those I know who do practice paganism, I thought I’d point out just some of what they’ve had to deal with in the film industry alone. Needless to say the list of negative films is so very long that I couldn’t possibly cover them all, but I have managed to put some of the more prominent ones on the lists.

First, we have the “bad.” These films display some very simplistic and na├»ve views of witchcraft that often times make it more palatable for general audiences, especially when a beloved character is a witch. The message here is, don't mess with witchcraft. These witches seem to have no control over their spells and are bumbling at best:

Bell, Book & Candle
Practical Magic
Harry Potter (series)
Hocus Pocus
Bewitched (TV)
Bed Knobs and Broomsticks

The belief that practicing spellbinding is going to lead to power lust and evil outcomes is a very common one. Christians are often of the mistaken view that spellbinding is practiced for the purpose of manipulating something that only God should control. They don’t seem to understand that, as Catholics have their rituals and prayer, witches practice their “positive energy and focus” to the natural world. Here is a list of films that are on my "badder" list and equate witchcraft with ultimately powerlust and evil:

The Craft
The Witches of Eastwick
Midnight Offerings
The Blair Witch Project
The Covenant
Mark of the Witch
Wizard of Oz

The very “baddest” of the witch films portrays them as minions of Lucifer. In actuality, the witches I have known do believe in the threefold rule that what you send out comes back to you three times over. There is no practice of negative spells or even manipulation of other human beings without their consent. Here’s a list of movies that equate witchcraft with dark arts and devil worshipping:

The Wicker Man
Race With the Devil
Rosemary’s Disciples (aka “The Witching” aka “Necromancy”)
Crowhaven Farm
The Blood on Satan’s Claw
The Brotherhood of Satan

There is and always will be a place for paganism in our world. Every Easter Christians participate equally in Christian ceremonies, as well as pagan. “Ostara” is a fertility celebration in the springtime and the symbol for this is the egg. When people decorate and hide eggs, they are practicing pagan customs. When they enjoy a yule log at Christmas, they are participating in pagan customs. The very foundation of Christian customs and beliefs are based on elements of paganism influencing the “new” belief system. It is nearly impossible to separate the two including such things as toteism, the symbolism of “eating the flesh” and “drinking the blood.”

If you enjoy movies involving dark arts and Satanism, have at it, but if you’re insulted by the defiling of a nature-based religion, then I’d suggest you avoid some of the films mentioned above. If you can watch them and know that they’re entertainment only, I say enjoy. But, if you have no knowledge of paganism and believe these films to be actual proof of witchcraft being a dark art exclusively, then you might want to reconsider movies such as “Harvey” because it obviously represents an actual invisible 6’ rabbit and we should all be cowering in our beds.


  1. Most of those movies I just enjoy as pure entertainment especially the ones in your "bad" list. I just watched Hocus Pocus, again, this past weekend. I don't get into any sort of witchcraft or devil worship, so non of what goes on in these movies bother me. Love most of the movies in your "badder" list but only saw The Wicker Man in the "baddest" list and hated it. Interesting topic.

  2. I readily admit that growing up I was enthralled by devil worship movies and they almost always involved witchcraft. I had the two combined in my mind until I got older, met new people, read things, and got more educated. Isn't that always the way? More education--a more understanding world (did you hear that GOP?) I admit I adore "Wicker Man" mostly because it was a beautiful portrayal of witchcraft practices, up until the human sacrifice part. Hocus Pocus is hilarious, but I always had a fondness for fumbling witches, like Aunt Agatha on Bewitched. Hee hee

  3. I understand what you're getting at with the movies list. Most people can enjoy them for mere entertainment but it DOES influence what goes through a persons mind when you say the word 'witch'. My hope is that this will change over time... I am personally still in the broom closet fort his very reason.

    Loved the post!

  4. Dolly;
    I completely agree. Although I admit I refuse to associate with any religion, I do have a spiritual belief system that is pagan and so I feel affiliated in that sense. I used to get real upset when I'd wear a pentacle necklace a pagan friend gave me and folks would think it meant the devil. It was not inverted--jeez! It's amazing how far Christians tried to run from their pagan roots, but they're so deeply entrenched in their new religion that there's hardly any separation between the two and their symbolism and practices and ritual. Hee hee

  5. The Craft I watch with joy at the campiness of the whole thing: all the crud that teenage girls do to each other and the bad boys they like. I remember after it came out there were suddenly four or five gothy groups of girls going around our high school asking other girls if they wanted to be their "fourth." Nevermind that most covens and solitaries don't work that way. Heh!

  6. Celyn;
    I loved "The Craft" just for the kickass music! I loved the soundtrack--I put it on when it's around Halloween time. It's like Halloween theme music. I have to admit that my favorite witch movie was "Practical Magic" and that's cause I'm a romantic at heart and because I wanted to jump into that house and that life and live it. It was like my dream existence. Girls are totally into atmosphere and mood. My horror novel I'm writing "The Thicket" deals with a pagan community and so I've had to do a lot of research. It's fun working to portray paganism in a light that it was intended.