From an evil queen pondering “Mirror, mirror on the wall: Who’s the fairest of all of them?” to Three Bizarre Sisters chanting “Double, double toil and bother! Hearth burn, and cauldron bubble,” witchcraft has been one thing of a skeleton key throughout centuries of storytelling on display and in print. As previous as ghost tales themselves, witches are fabled beings — sometimes extra human than creature, however typically vice versa — recognized for utilizing magic to abuse and manipulate us mere mortals.

Some witches feed on kids; see Roald Dahl‘s “The Witches” and its two movie variations starring Anjelica Huston and Anne Hathaway respectively. Some witches simply wish to be beloved; contemplate the appropriately-named “The Love Witch” or the center chunk of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Others crave magnificence, youth, energy, or one thing altogether extra sinister; suppose the endless greed examined in Luca Guadagnino’s astounding re-imagining of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria.”

What makes these characters compelling isn’t their sentient spell books, flying broomsticks, or toxic apples. No, witches endure as a result of they channel an unceasing urge for food for cruelty: a willingness to destroy no matter stands in the way in which of their want and an eagerness to sacrifice whomever it takes to show timeless devotion to their very own wickedness.

Contemplating the epic ethical quandaries witches and witchcraft so typically characterize, it’s no marvel these characters have appeared in all types of tales supposed for all types of audiences. For youngsters, you would possibly attempt “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “The Wizard of Oz.” For barely older kids, you may cue up “Hocus Pocus” or the not too long ago launched “Hocus Pocus 2.” In fact, one of the best of one of the best witch tales — these solid within the fearsome horror style, the place no devilish element of witchy legend want be darkened — belong to solely essentially the most daring (learn: age applicable) viewers.

Up to date for the 2023 spooky season, the next assortment of one of the best witch motion pictures displays essentially the most iconic witches and witchcraft tales of the large display, from ’90s fantasy comedies to chilling ’60s historic horrors. Movies about generic pagan ritual or wizardry have been excluded from consideration.

[Editor’s note: This list was originally published in October 2022 and has since been updated.] With editorial contributions by Christian Blauvelt, Wilson Chapman, Mark Peikert, and Michael Nordine.

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