With the season of the witch in full swing, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your runes, grab your broomstick, and enjoy some of the best-underappreciated witch movies ever put to screen. So for your perusing pleasure we’ve selected seven of our favorite lesser-known flicks from the sprawling witch canon for you to enjoy this spooky season.
Satan’s Cheerleaders (1977)
This brilliant B-movie subverts expectations with a story about cheerleaders who are targeted by a devil-worshiping cult in need of a virgin. But little do the male Satanists know, there’s a real witch in their midst and she is less than happy with their patriarchal plan and does everything in her power to stop it. Though Satan’s Cheerleaders feels like it might be a remnant of the paranoid PSA trend, like Reefer Madness, it’s, in fact, a surprisingly fun and feminist flick with some wicked witchcraft and a lot of fun practical effects.
Mirror Mirror (1990)
This underrated ’90s horror entry was meant as a star vehicle for Rainbow Harvest, who offers up a great turn as a young goth girl who moves into a new house only to find it haunted by an evil mirror that may or may not be home to a witch. The low budget gem has some solid scares and works as a great female power allegory, and it’s directed by a woman! Yep, this spooky witch story was made by Marina Sargenti who does an excellent job of building tension in this tight little B-movie.
Season of the Witch (1973)
Not only is this a lesser-known witch movie but also a lesser-known George A. Romero film as it was hacked to pieces by the distributor and was originally released as a strange softcore porn flick called Hungry Wives. Though the true original cut has been lost, you can now find versions with more of Romero’s vision included, and they’re definitely worth a watch as this was the directors attempt at a “feminist film” and it centers on a woman who breaks out of her mundane and abusive relationship after becoming part of a local coven!
This startlingly radical exploration of the medieval witch hunts and the treatment of the women who were targeted and killed by them was far ahead of its time when it was released in 1922. The film was banned for years in the U.S. as it depicted the torture of women accused of witchcraft. It’s an intriguing look at someone trying to dissect the horrors of a not so distant past and connect it to the growing understanding of mental illness, that though dated is still an engaging and often terrifying watch.
The Woods (2006)
Lucky McKee is one of the best horror directors working at the moment and this ’06 chiller is a great example of why. When a young girl heads to a private all girls school after a spate of “bad behavior,” she finds herself caught up in a strange mystery centered on the archaic academy and the vast woods surrounding it. With a cast that includes icons like Patricia Clarkson and Bruce Campbell, this is one of the most fun and thrilling witch movies from the last two decades.
The Girl on the Broomstick (1972)
Probably the weirdest choice on our list this Czechoslovak cult classic tells the story of a young witch girl who facing down three centuries of detention for sucking at school heads to the mortal world where she causes havoc and turns a lot of teachers into rabbits. Wild, wonderful, and truly like nothing you’ve ever seen before, The Girl on the Broomstick is a radical romp. If you love it, there’s even a sequel from 2011 centering on the titular witch’s daughter.
I Married a Witch (1942)
When a witch and her father are burned at the stake in Salem it seems like their story is over, but in this noir-tinged comedy, they’re reborn in ’40s America where the daughter Jennifer plans to wreak havoc on the descendants of the man who sentenced them to death. It’s a cute and often forgotten entry into witch canon that sits in a strange position between the sweet sitcom-nature of Bewitched and the darker Hammer horror Witch Hunt flicks. Plus it stars Veronica Lake, who is nothing short of wonderful in the role.
Feature Image: Paramount Pictures/VCI Entertainment/Criterion Collection