The Horror Honeys: The Joy and Happiness of Hating: A Witch's Revenge!

The Joy and Happiness of Hating: A Witch's Revenge!

A Revenge Honey Top-ish Ten List with Linnie

Oh, but to be this fierce one day.
You will never escape my vengeance, or of Satan's! My revenge will seek you out, and with the blood of your sons, and of their sons, and their sons, I will continue to live forever! They will restore me to life you now rob from me! ~ Princess Asa (Barbara Steele), Black Sunday

Depending on the films you watch, witches are either badass purveyors of spells and charms, or they are evil incarnate, trying to steal and eat your children. Occasionally, they might be both in one film. And while I adore movies about witches (being a little witchy myself), my favorite sub-sub-genre is the witch revenge film. These are generally films where a witch, usually executed or falsely persecuted, returns from the beyond to seek revenge. There are TONS of witch revenge films, so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites, and a few I'm not crazy about.

What are YOUR favorite witchy revenge movies? Tell me on Twitter

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Still waiting for my sassy bird sidekick.
It's a safe bet that most of us were introduced to witches via Walt Disney and his animation. And if you were anything like the Horror Honeys, you probably looked at Maleficent and thought, "That is one fierce bitch! How can I be HER when I grow up?" Cast out of the kingdom by the King (and given an even more devastating backstory in Maleficent), this epic witch set the bar crazy high for all the witches we'd come to love for the rest of our lives.

Black Sunday (1960)
Being a witch means KILLER accessories.
Part witch, part... vampire... I guess... Mario Bava's Asa Vajda is one of the most justifiably pissed off witches in film history. Prior to being burned at the stake, she is fitted with a metal mask, covered internally with sharp spikes, which is literally hammered on to her face (an homage to this awfulness can be seen in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, who counts Black Sunday as his favorite horror film). The real kicker? Asa's accuser/executioner is her own brother, which is why she swears revenge on everyone in her family in perpetuity. Get it, sister. You earned it.

Witchfinder General (1968)
That is one snazzy outfit, Vincent.
Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General (known in the US as The Conqueror Worm... because, why the hell not) is different from our other films in that the revenge element comes into play in the realm of the living, not the afterlife. Based on the true story of "witch hunter" Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), Reeves' film follows the brutal opportunist as he accuses random women of witchcraft, tortures and kills them, then charges the town for his services. Witchfinder is only occasionally accurate and it is shockingly violent given the era in which it was released, but it is easily one of the most fascinating movies on the subject of witchcraft ever made.

Superstition (1982)
Cross a witch, end up with a stake to the head. Common knowledge.
Proving once again that you NEVER buy a house without tracing back the history as far as humanly possibly, Superstition follows a family who move to a house in which a witch was executed by drowning in the backyard pond. Gory, occasionally silly, but featuring some great kills, the 80s were a great decade for witches and James W. Roberson's film is a fun addition to the canon. Superstition is on YouTube in its entirety, so you should watch it immediately!

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Stick it in his dick, ladies.

I didn't choose the witchy life, the witchy life chose me.

Hell truly hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Witches of Eastwick is chock full of witchy tropes and tried and true familiar scenarios. Embodying the Maiden/Mother/Crone (also, unfair, Cher is a goddess) aspects of the witchy trinity, Alex, Jane and Suki are mild-mannered single women living in a small town where nothing extraordinary ever happens. When Daryl Van Horne blows into town, everything changes - but magic always comes at a price, even little bits of petty vengeful magic, and the women have to decide if it's a price they want to pay. Hilariously 80s, and featuring Susan Sarandon, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer in their uncanny glory, Witches of Eastwick is the perfect film for a girl's night of making voodoo dolls and gorging on fresh cherries.  ~ HH

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Can I be a Sanderson sister? I'll wear the costume.

Don't lie to yourself; Hocus Pocus opened with three women being hanged and that is some gruesome shit. The Sanderson Sisters swear vengeance on the town of Salem, and plan to return when a dumbass virgin lights the black flame candle on Halloween, so they can "suck the lives out of little children!" Cast a few different actresses in this and take out the Disney glow, and you'd have a dark-as-hell horror movie. However, I love Hocus Pocus just the way it is: all musical numbers and big hair and Omri Katz being a sexy 90s beast.

Darkness Falls (2003)
Murdered witches have rights too, guys!
Darkness Falls has never been my favorite because, 1) the REAL story of the tooth fairy is fucked up enough... It didn't need help; and 2) the movie makes the ghostly Mathilda look like a villain, when really, she's the only victim in the film. With a back story that will break you heart, the movie fails in that Mathilda, a.k.a. the Tooth Fairy, DESERVES her damn revenge, but is relegated to "pissy ghost" status by a script that squanders a great story. Watch Darkness Falls for Mathilda, and do what I do... Root for her to win every time.

Tamara (2005)
If you listen carefully, you can hear a bro saying... "I'd still hit that."
Tamara is another movie I've struggled with, mostly because they cast Jenna Dewan Tatum (dancer, model, Channing wrangler) as the ugly nerdy girl. Let's be real. Even on her WORST day, Jenna Dewan Tatum could probably walk a runway without standing out. So no, not buying it. Plus, after nerdy Tamara is murdered by her classmates, she uses witchcraft to come back all sexy and get her revenge. While I support the idea, using sexuality as if it is the ONLY power Tamara has, especially given she is a witch, is a dicey prospect. Is it a terrible movie? Nah. But I wouldn't take it out behind the middle school and get it pregnant.

The Lords of Salem (2012)
Michael! Sid! Stop that! You stop that!
My feels on Rob Zombie are pretty cemented at this point. Anything before 2012, and I just don't care. Anything after 2012? Odds are slim I'll give a shit. But Lords of Salem is the exception to the rule. The story is standard: Salem, witches, revenge, lineage, fire. But it's the WAY Zombie put them together that is so amazing. More art house film than standard narrative story, the visuals in Lords of Salem are what make it unique, and there is always something new and beautiful to see. I may never hop on the RZ train again, but the one ride was more than worth it.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Sometimes, it's okay to just enjoy the shit out of a movie. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is implicitly ridiculous, but that's kind of what makes it so great. Half fairy tale redux, half steampunk fever dream, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton make a killer H & G, and Famke Janssen is stunning as Muriel, essentially the grand high witch. Loaded with revenge, and gorgeous makeup work, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a movie I love without shame.

Honorable Mention: Stardust (2007)
We should all be so lucky to look like Michelle Pfeiffer as an old lady.
The three witches in Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust aren't so much seeking revenge against anything external, but metaphorically, against old age. Wishing to recapture their youth, head witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) sets out to capture a fallen star and, because fallen stars are human in form, eat its heart. There is nothing quite so lovely and frightening as a Neil Gaiman fairy tale, and while not perfect, Stardust is one of the better adaptations of his work.