Of course Hocus Pocus is on our list

By Andrea Wurzburger
October 05, 2020 05:17 PM
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It's officially spooky season, which means that we're eating all of the pumpkin treats we can find, covering our homes in fall decor, and snuggling up on the couch for our scary movie marathons. But not every scary movie needs to leave you screaming your head off. We're rounding up the witchiest, most magical, spellbinding movies to watch, just in time for spooky season to kick into high gear.

And, to make sure you don't unintentionally mix up The Witches, which is a movie based off of a children's book, and The Witch, which is certainly not child's play, we're ranking them on a scale of one to five using 🎃.  One 🎃 being not-so scary and five 🎃's being very, very scary.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" While more traditionally a perfect group costume idea than a classic Halloween movie, who doesn't love a Wicked Witch, Good Witch and a killer pair of shoes?

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, purely because of the flying monkeys.

Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971)

Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

The classic children's film is basically Mary Poppins, but with the added element of taking place during World War II and the main objective being to defeat Nazis.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, thanks to the scene where the Nazis break into their house.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Credit: Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, only because of the really gross vomiting scene in the church and Jack Nicholson morphing into one scary-looking devil.

Teen Witch (1989)

Credit: Everett Collection

Move over, Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Before Melissa Joan Hart made us all wish we had magical powers, Robyn Lively was a teen dealing with her newfound witchy powers.

Scary Rating: 🎃, because being a teen is scary enough without magical powers.

The Witches (1990)

Credit: Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett

Deceptively scary for what is supposed to be a children's story, Roald Dahl's The Witches was adapted for the big screen in 1990, staring Anjelica Houston as the Grand High Witch. There's a reimagined version starring Anne Hathaway due to hit HBO Max on October 22, and we can only imagine it'll be even more frightening for kids (and yes, some scaredy cat adults).

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃🎃, purely because of the scene where the witches pull their own faces off.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

It's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus! The 1993 film has everything you could want in a low-stakes, low-scare movie, from Bette Midler singing "I'll Put a Spell On You" to talking cats, tricks and treats.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, because we can't go through a cemetery without wondering if a zombie named Billy is going to come after us.

The Craft (1996)

Credit: Everett

When Sarah Bailey (Robin Tulley), a teen with witchy abilities, comes to town, three of her classmates (played by Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Fairuza Balk) decide to bring her into their group to test their powers together and seek revenge on those who have wronged them. In not-so-scary news, The Craft will be returning to your screens in 2021 with the reboot, The Craft: Legacy.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃🎃, because nothing is scarier than power-hungry teen girls on a mission.

The Crucible (1996)

Credit: 20th Century Fox Film Corp/ Everett

Originally a play by Arthur Miller which wa adapted into a film in 1996, The Crucible takes place around the time of the Salem Witch trials and stars Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor and Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, because the idea of Goody Proctor with the devil really creeps us out. Plus, it's all just a big allegory for McCarthyism, right? Which is just as scary.

Eve's Bayou (1997)

Credit: Trimark Pictures / courtesy Everett

Less terrifying and more suspenseful, the film stars Jurnee Smollett as the titular Eve, Samuel L. Jackson as her unfaithful father and Meagan Good as her sister. Eve is (understandably) struggling to deal with the fact that her father is cheating on her mother and the fact that she has "second sight" (a.k.a. psychic powers), and seeks out a voodoo doll of her father. Little does she know, some spells and curses can't be undone.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, because you're not sure if curses exist or if we create our own fate, and honestly we're not sure which is scarier.

Halloweentown (1998)

Credit: Disney

You know the drill: Girl meets grandma, girl realizes she is a witch, girl needs to find a way to save her grandma's magical town, fun for the whole family! And there are four Disney Channel Original Movies in the series, so the fun doesn't have to stop with just one.

Scary Rating: 🎃, because as a child the residents of Halloweentown were truly terrifying to us.

Practical Magic (1998)

Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock play magical sisters Gillian and Sally in this mystical film. The pair resurrect Gillian's abusive boyfriend (after accidentally killing him) and he becomes even more deadly.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃, because what is more terrifying than a murderous ex haunting your garden and possessing the people you love?

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Credit: Everett

We don't know what is scarier about The Blair Witch Project: The fact that its original marketing made us really believe that the found footage was real and the stars of the film were dead, or the actual premise of the film: Friends get lost in the woods and slowly turn on one another as the Blair Witch herself watches on.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃, for obvious reasons.

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The Harry Potter Series (2001)

Credit: Everette Collection

It isn't Halloween until you marathon all of the Harry Potter films from beginning to end.

Scary Rating: 🎃, because it's less scary and more nostalgic, but definitely has some imagery (hello, Voldemort's face on the back of Professor Quirrell's head or the troll in the bathroom) that could be considered scary.

Coraline (2009)

Credit: Courtesy of Focus

If anyone tries to tell you that this movie isn't disturbing because it's animated, don't believe them. Coraline is a young girl who doesn't like her regular ol' life, so escapes to the Other World, where her Other Mother and Other Father are more attentive and caring... that is until she finds out that the Other Mother is actually a witch who sews buttons on children's eyes and then eats their souls. You know, totally normal for a kid's movie.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃. Two words: button eyes.

Into the Woods (2014)

Credit: Peter Mountain/Disney

A fairytale that covers everything from the dangers of stealing to the perils of marriage, the Sondheim musical is just magical enough for a Halloween watch — at the very least, it'll give you some great costume inspiration.

Scary Rating: 🎃, nothing scary about how good Meryl Streep is in this movie.

The Witch (2016)

Credit: A24/courtesy Everett

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the eldest child of a Puritan family being tortured by a witch living in the woods behind their farm in this 2015 film. As if living through 1630 wasn't terrifying enough, now we have to worry about black goats actually being the devil in disguise?

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃, because it made us change our minds about ever wanting to live a quiet life on a farm.

Suspiria (2018)

Credit: Alessio Bolzoni/Amazon Studios

Originally a 1977 Italian film directed by Dario Argento, the 2018 remake of Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth and Chloë Grace Moretz. If you think Dance Moms is scary, wait until you see a coven of this group of dancers, who are secretly demonic witches with more on their mind than nailing their Nutcracker solo.

Scary Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃, as if the toll dance takes on your body isn't terrifying enough. We didn't need to add demons!

Happy watching, guys and ghouls!