Halloween: Witchcraft in Film, Part 4
Horror Hotel (1960)
This atmospheric, moody film still chills, even by today's heightened standards — and tolerance. Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson), a college student who's studying witchcraft, travels at the suggestion of her professor (Christopher Lee), to a small New England spook town where she finds the local inn is run by a 268-year-old witch who sold her soul to the Devil and sacrifices humans for him. When Nan goes missing, her brother and boyfriend search for her, not prepared for the evil that awaits them.
The Wicker Man (1973)
A devoutly Christian Scottish police sergeant, Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), discovers a coven of witches, headed by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), while investigating the disappearance of a child. He also learns that the coven sacrifices one human a year, and he may be the next victim. Though sometimes-sluggish pacing presents a problem, the film is widely considered the most respectful, realistic portrayal of witches.
The Witches (1990)
Based on Roald Dahl's novel Witches, the film features fabulous-looking witches and mice crafted by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. A boy's vacation with his grandmother takes an eerie turn when he learns that he's sharing a hotel with a coven of witches, led by the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston), who plans to turn all England's children into mice.
The Descent (2005)
This British horror film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival to well above average (for a horror movie) reviews. It's a rare horror flick where the viewer does not yell "don't do it" at the screen. The six women in this film are smart, not your stereotypical damsels in distress. The group of friends get together to go caving and become trapped in an unmarked cave where they are hunted down by creators which they call crawlers.
A Little Hocus Pocus