the evolution of the witch in film: the Craft, the Witch, the Love Witch & Fear Street



The Love Witch and The Worst Person in the World are now streaming on MUBI in the UK and Ireland. Get a whole month free of great cinema at mubi.com/filmfatales.

proof that the season of the witch is not confined to october!!

0:00 intro
2:21 witches: a cultural history
6:53 history of witches on film
12:29 the craft
15:44 the witch
21:04 the love witch
27:52 fear street
33:47 final thoughts

faq
what’s your accent? i lived in america til i was 7 and ireland since then so my accent is a mix between the two!
what did you study? english literature and film 🙂
equipment: iphone 13 mini, rode reporter mic and final cut pro x

letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film_fatales/

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31 comments

  1. I thought the point of The VVitch was that serving Black Philip is literally the best that Thomasin can hope for. The film shows that she will always be under the hand of patriarchy whether she becomes an actual witch or not. At least Black Philip/The Devil promises her nice things.

  2. we could've talk about the witches in the Suspiria movies too, very interesting horror movie about how witches can practice their spells and what they want through dance and act

  3. Rewatching The Vampire Diaries, I was unsettled upon realizing that pretty much all of the POC characters were witches/wizards and were written as (pardon the term) Magical N*gro archetypes whose magic is in service of the white main characters. I'm not sure if this is a trend in other newer witch related media, but I suspect it's common 🙁

  4. Honestly humans in the past and still in the future don't have empathy or sympathy towards people who are different were tribalistic by nature and keep in mind women were not just victims of witchcraft men and children died to and witches being "feminist" is just the tip of the iceberg Thomasin did not escape from society or the patriarchy she just move into another one instead nothing has changed she's only human who has a time limit until she is no longer useful I really don't like it when retell stories of victims who were persecuted and died of a cruel death only centuries later people fictionalized them to be witches even though they were normal people who were prosecuted unfairly honestly I'm not going to defend the puritans
    But in human perspective having abilities that makes you more than human can be scary and threatening I'm guessing in there eyes they were
    Breaking the rules what it meant to be human and it's not about religion the puritans were zealots it's about power and how people use that power and it usually selfish.

  5. I like the movie Fast Color for a depiction of black witches especially as it goes through family generations. I think the main subversion was having the power depicted neutral in a way you see it can be destructive and restorative. And modernizes the witch hunt by putting the government at the lead instead of religious institutions. No rituals and no voodoo, just beautiful black women who can do extraordinary things.

  6. honestly i really liked the fear street movies but as an irish person i could barely get through the third one, i was so close to just turning it off

  7. I usually really like your stuff and understand how complex this topic is for someone who may not practice any form of witchcraft – but I think it's important to say that the Love Witch is also a critique of the republican traditionalism of Wicca (ex, displaying the 'coven' a Wicca specific phenomena and the male dominance of Wicca because Wicca was cultivated through a man co-opting the practices of traditional witches and re-writing them to essentially 'put women back in the kitchen' in the literal 1950s). The Love Witch is my favorite film because of this and I personally see this as the core of the film itself, especially given that actual witches had a hand in making it, they were intentionally producing a critique of Wicca.

  8. Btw gypsy a slur it should only be said by Romanian people i don't think that you know that because nowadays it's been used as "nicer" name but it's still a slur
    though i do not know if yourself is Romanian if you are im sorry obviously im not trying to say Romanians should not say the g slur but i don't know you're racial background so i just wanted to tell you that

  9. We should also take note that witches exist, people who practice witchcraft are real. I’m so tired of people doing it for aesthetic purposes, you don’t just do it because it makes you cool🙄witch craft is not a phase it’s a literal journey.

  10. I'm ready to sign up for an entire lecture series done by you. I love how in-depth, edited, and researched all your vids are. This topic in particular is so juicy and I could watch another 12 videos of you just disseminating every aspect and detail of this topic. The Witch is one of my favorite movies, and I think about how not only did Thomasin have no other choice when she signed the Devil's book, but she couldn't even read or write her own name, and he literally guided her hand to write it for her. The pretty promises served as psychological manipulation, and then he physically manipulated her signing away her soul.

  11. "I Am Not a Witch" (2017) is a very interesting allegoric film about witches and forced labor. It is directed by Zambian director Rungano Nyoni and set in rural Zambia. I am not sure how well known of a film it is because I found it on accident but it was a really fun watch and had a very unique representation of witches and the societal perceptions of them as well as their treatment from society.

  12. I’ve always wished there were more films and media on witchcraft in relation to race and spirituality. I am Haitian and Voodoo/Vodou is a real religion and important part of my cultural background and history, it literally assisted in us gaining our own freedom and independence, but at the same time is very demonized and misunderstood by the west as well as our own country, Christianity is upheld even though it’s what oppressed us in the first place.

    Like the saying goes, Haiti is 80% Catholic and 100% Voodoo. Much of the same rituals and practices of Voodoo/Vodou can be found in a Black Catholic or baptist church. They’re just praying to a deity that isn’t theirs.

  13. I've always thought that, when in movies (like marvel), women shown being threatened in the witch trials, and then revealed to be a real witch was problematic. So, you're telling me the men were right????? I understand the appeal of this plot line, but validating the men murdering innocent women is just ewy

  14. I really did not like the witch, even though on paper it should have been a movie I love. My main problem with the movie is that the paranoia of the Christian family is completely justified. There is an evil witch eating children in the forest and their daughter is absolutely in danger of being seduced by the devil and turning into a witch herself and in the end does so. It just seems weird commenary on witch persecution. I would have loved a different version of the movie with a much greater uncertainty if witches and the devil actually exist and a slow ramping up of the paranoia and scapegoating.

  15. Witches are the epitome of "female power outside male authority." In a patriarchy, being a mother is a vital but underappreciated role. Feeding and nurturing new generations is held in disdain when it's the building block of all societies. My mother was Baptist but she let me and sister dress up as witches every Halloween because she couldn't afford a new costume every year so we went as witches until we grew out our costumes. My favorite witches were Baba Yaga from Bartok the Magnificent, the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus, and the Mowry twins from Twitches.

  16. I agree that the ending of The Witch doesn’t seem like a happy empowering ending. I actually don’t think it’s empowering or disempowering. While she ends the film liberated from the abuse and scapegoating of her previous life with witch powers, it’s undeniable that she only had these due to the manipulation and permission of a male figure – the devil. Additionally, the tone of horror and creeping unease never leaves the film, hinting that nothing much has really changed for her.

  17. SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH AND MIDSOMMAR: I think the reading of the "good for her" ending in The Witch can be boiled down to the same sentiments people had about Midsommar, like, no it's not great that Dani joins a cult and no it's not great that Thomasin signs the devil's book but in doing so, both characters achieve a SENSE of liberation. Whether or not it is real liberation comes after both narratives end and can't conclusively be decided. I would be extremely hesitant to say either is a GOOD ending, but they're both cathartic releases.

  18. I really like the witch in Gretel and Hansel. While I like that movie for the atmosphere and visuals, I did enjoy that the witches other form was a beautiful woman and that Gretel was essentially a witch but portrayed as good. The witch used to old lady facade most likely to appear feeble and harmless.

  19. I'm so glad you mentioned the accent! I really enjoyed the Fear Sttreet trilogy but the only way I got through the fllashback scenes was to mute the tv and out on subtitles 🤣🤣🤣

  20. Echoing the comments about the lack of mentioning the antisemitic and anti-Romani bigotry that goes into the historic depictions. As previously said, Snappy Dragon has a great video about this and it's whitewashing history to skip centuries of the history of imagery to start with white (Western) European women
    Edit: glad you mentioned it briefly but if you're considering the antisemitic angle of male witches, men were accused of witchcraft, including menstruating and eating children, just as often as women were up until the late medieval period when the depictions began loosening up to include gender non-conforming women.
    The point of the green skin also wasn't invented with the Wizard of Oz, but several hundred years before that in depictions of Jewish people having olive-toned complections that became a more abstract bright green through time

  21. People might have mentioned this already, but after watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, I saw a lot of similarities between the young witch Willow and “Fear Street”/ “The Craft”. In the first few seasons of Buffy, Willow hadn’t figured out her Wicca abilities, but being her nerdy self, she was able to research and experiment with witchcraft in a supportive environment. Her magic was used in understandably teenage ways, like “The Craft”, and she had a female love interest which somewhat corresponded with her witchcraft like in “Fear Street”. I just wanted to add some of my input on other modern witches. Thanks for a great video!

  22. I practice witchcraft, mostly of the more herbal remedy, cunning person variety. One thing I have noticed in the more modern portrayals of witches is the homogeneity of practice styles and iconography. There is such a rich diversity of folk magic traditions or syncretism with the dominant religion, even just in the US. I also think the elements often used in media, such as burning white sage is lazy but also harmful because of the appropriation and over harvesting of that particular item. Though it is not alone.

    Regardless, I think the trend towards less vilification is good conversely the ‘Wiccafication’ in media is kinda lazy since there is such a rich tapestry of traditions to depict. [Also because Wicca is a religion while witchcraft is a practice and is not inherently religious. Pagans and witches often are in the same communities because of some overlap but witches can be atheistic, abrahamic, or any other religion. They are not mutually exclusive.]

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