Posts Tagged ‘The Witches’

Media Update 11/5/2020

November 5, 2020

The Witches (2020)

I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl books as a kid and read every single one before the end of third grade. I tend to watch anything adapted from his works. I loved the original Witches because it was one of the most scarring adaptations of his works. I was super interested to see the update especially after hearing how over the top it was. It is basically the same story as the book and original movie where a boy and his grandmother get stuck in a hotel with a convention of witches. The boy gets turned into a mouse. The boy is played by Jahzir Bruno and he’s great at being the plucky hero. The grandma is played by Octavia Spencer who is, as usual, absolutely delightful and sassy. They are joined by Codie-Lei Eastick and Kristin Chenoweth who play two other heroic kids. Of course, almost every scene is stolen by Anne Hathaway who plays the Grand High Witch. The movie was great in that over the top kind of way. It was funny, it was beautifully shot, and it had a lot of the same old body horror but just done in a different way. I recommend this movie. https://www.youtube.com/embed/8WzUYkzRgBE

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

I previously reviewed The Babysitter when it came out and I was excited to see a sequel. This movie is a big dumb, self-aware horror comedy movie. Judah Lewis returns as the terrorized boy from the previous movie and is great as a nervous but likable guy. Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Hana Mae Lee, and Andrew Bachelor all return as villains and they are just as goofy as before. They are joined by Juliocesar Chavez and Maximillian Acevedo who are just as dumb and fun. Emily Alyn Lind returns as the neighbor/love interest from the first movie. They added Jenna Ortega as a new weird girl and she really helped breathe fresh air into the movie. They were able to go over a lot of the same ground while keeping things fresh and fun. I recommend this movie. https://www.youtube.com/embed/WQ_Yo06kIIA

Hausu (House)(1977)

This was definitely one of the strangest films I have seen and that is really saying something. This movie was purposefully made to be artsy yet really loopy. The filmmaker has admitted that he threw a lot at the wall to see if it stuck. The movie is about a group of high school girls who visit one of their aunt’s house for a retreat when all hell breaks loose. It stars nobody I had ever heard of before but everybody’s performance was perfect for what it needed to be. The movie is a surreal acid trip of a horror movie which is definitely intended to be funny and cartoony. There are so many interesting special effects that may never have been used before and may not be used again. If you do not watch this movie, at least look up some of the scenes on YouTube because wow. I do recommend watching this movie as it does have an interesting underlying message about Hiroshima and the gap between the young and the old in Japan.

Music of the Week:

Flamingods – Marigold

Fit For A King – God Of Fire

Dazy Chain – Good Life

Myk Eff – Cosmic Ray Juice

A#keem – When I’m With You

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Halloween Hangover 2020”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched more Harley Quinn Season 2
I watched more Doctor Who Season 11
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched WNUF Halloween Special
I watched Seed People
I started watching Agents of Shield Season Seven

The Witches (1990)

October 25, 2017

92 minutes – Rated PG for body horror, macabre ideas, child murder, and dark themes.

I have said it before but Roald Dahl was a very big part of how my mind formed at a young age. He lived in an ugly world and the fiction he wrote reflected that. He lived in England throughout World War I in an almost Dickensian childhood. What was already a scary time for all classes, due to being in a war zone, was even scarier being a child. Despite that constant fear he experienced, he grew up and had kids of his own. He also fought in World War II and famously was sent on an expedition to the United States to do anything possible to get the US government to agree to enter the war. He somehow made it through the horrors of a war-torn childhood, English boarding schools, and combat in World War II among other things. He was able to take this darkness and put it into children’s literature which stood out against some of the more saccharine things I was offered as a kid. His books were always unsentimental and the child characters were put into real danger. As dark as things got, there was always some desperate hope present.

Body horror is when a character’s body is magically or mechanically transformed, degenerated, or destroyed. Usually, the altered person has to then live with these horrific changes. A milder example is the body changes seen throughout Beetlejuice. Not only the changes the Maitlins make to themselves but also the flattened civil service worker and the premature aging near the end of the movie. A more relevant set of examples begins with Kafka’s Metamorphosis in which a man slowly turns into an insect. That same thought was brought into the various versions of The Fly which has a definite science fiction bent to body horror. The real horrific example there is the version made by Cronenberg who is a true master of body horror. What scares me most about body horror is the loss of self. For better or for worse, I am who I am and I do not want anybody forcefully taking that away from me. The thought sickens me that I might lose myself through fate or somebody’s cruel machinations.

This was the last movie that was personally overseen by Jim Henson. It really shows. By 1990, Henson and his crew had really perfected their art. The movie is full of over the top costumes and special effects that are absolutely terrifying. However, the movie also has a lot of more subtle effects such as more realistic animal puppets. I was absolutely blown away by the mouse puppets and how well they switched between puppets and real mice. Also, they synced the dialog up so well. I love puppets and they really outdid themselves on this one. As for the other effects, they are full-blown body horror. The prosthetics and costumes for the witches are very well done. They are grotesque and absolutely something right out of a child’s nightmare. They look a lot like how I imagined they would look like from Dahl’s description and the illustrations. The transformations are frightening but so smooth that it’s hard not to admire them even as I am creeped out.

The casting was really good for this one. Roald Dahl was upset by some of the changes in the movie but the one thing that got him to accept this adaptation was the casting of Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch. Huston always put out an absolutely magnetic performance. Here, she is so good at being evil and arrogant. Her performance often adds a menacing air of tension and others a fever pitch of insane evil where the change happens with the flip of a switch. This brilliant casting is backed by a mostly English cast. Mai Zetterling is great as the grandmother and former witch hunter, tasked with watching over her grandson. The movie is dominated by the voice of Jasen Fisher, who plays the traditional Dahl child hero. He is great at playing that pure-hearted kid who tries his best to do the right thing. Part of the ensemble is Rowan Atkinson who adds a lot of the comic relief as only a legendary comedian can.

Overall, I loved this movie. While much of it is not very scary, some of it is downright frightening. It is a great adaptation of a classic children’s novel. While there were changes, it was only to make the movie a little less scary than the book was. The book and the film are both parts of that older tradition of both scaring and delighting little children. While Dahl’s works are dark, they usually have at least a bittersweet ending.


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