For the Girls
Honoring all of the Women and Girls in Film
"The Season of the Witch" is the Season of Women- A List of 10 of My Favorite Witch-y Sisterhoods in Film
It's spooky season, it's horror nights. The ghouls and vampires, the monsters and the creepy crawlies, the things that go bump in the night, they all slink out of their shadows for the next month and dominate the night. But before we get into the slasher films, the ancient monster tales, and the classic gore, let's talk about the baddest witches around, who thrive in the season of the witch.
The American Folklore talks about the season of the witch starting at the Autumn Equinox (Sept 23) and lasting until after the Wild Hunt. There are songs that hail this time of the year (Season of the Witch by Donovan) and films and television shows that date back decades- from Bewitched, The Craft, The Witches, and Charmed.
Witchcraft in film and television has been terrifying, like Robert Eggers' The W(VV)itch, and it has also been spunky and family-oriented like Kenny Ortega's Hocus Pocus. Sabrina the Teenage Witch has transcended, or shall we say descended, into literally fighting the Devil in the new Netflix adaptation- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Witches in film have always been portrayed in different lights and using an array of elaborate, complex stories that highlight their power and enchantment, but most of all, their sisterhood and bond to each other.
Throughout the history of witches in media, the thing that has driven their will and made them more powerful is their inclination for sisterhood and their "together-we-will-always-overcome" attitudes. From holding hands, standing in circles, chanting incantations simultaneously, and fighting to the literal death for each other, their connection to each other has helped them overcome every adversary.
Their connection is a representation of the female bond- full of love, support, complexity and power. It is a sisterhood that surpasses blood and flourishes in spiritual bonds. Throughout film and television history, it wasn't the magic, but the bond between girls that made them the most powerful and undefeatable.
So, here is a list of my top 10 favorite witches from film and television who truly capture the power and magic of sisterhood...
10. The Witches of Eastwick- The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher- one of the best trio of witches anyone can put together. They play the witches of Eastwick, Rhode Island. Each individually smart, spunky, and newly single, the film follows as these powerful, self-assured, and talented women begin dating and agreeing to share the same man- Darryl. As they come into their powers, they realize together they can harm their enemies and make magic happen beyond what they can even imagine. But they also realize Darryl may have nefarious motives, and the only way to get rid of him is together. In the end, the trio are left together and more confident than ever- living in a mansion and finding true happiness in their bond, without any men.
9. The Weird Sisters- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
In the new Netflix adaptation The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Agnes, Prudence, and Agatha make up the "weird sisters"- the adoptive girls to Father Blackwood and also the meanest witches at the Academy. They spend every moment together, participate in spells together, and even wear matching outfits. Though they use most of their powers for terrorizing, they have occasionally used their magic abilities for good and for helping Sabrina. No matter what they're doing, though, it's always together. From the moment we first meet them in S1E1, they are putting a curse on Sabrina, and throughout the series, through the ups and downs, they are proven to be true sisters and to be unconditionally there for each other through all things. They are definitely some of my favorite sinister witches, with a complex nature and a bond that makes other witches cower in the presence of their unified power.
8. Apolla and Artemis- Twitches (2005)
Twin witches. Twitches. Tia and Tamara Mowry play Apolla and Artemis, twin witches separated at birth. As they, fatefully, find each other on their 21st birthday, they also find the missing sisterhood that they didn't know they inherently craved and the power to defeat the Darkness. From their first few minutes together, they realize that together their powers are heightened and unmatched, and throughout the film it's shown that they are stronger together than apart. Despite being twins, they are complete opposites, and they disagree on almost every situation. But it's their opposite natures that enhance the attributes of each other.
7. The Cromwell Family- Halloweentown (1998)
Aggie, Marnie, Sophie, and Gwen make up the powerful Cromwell witch-lineage. From the beginning, Marnie shows a love and inclination towards magic and all things Halloween and spooky. Even as her mother tries to keep her from her destiny, Marnie, and eventually her younger siblings, carry on their witch lineage and all the while continue to help innocent lives and bridge the two worlds of humans and the creatures of Halloweentown. Each of the Cromwell women has an inherently courageous and against-the-mill personality that let's them see past facades and defeat the bad guys. I grew up watching the Cromwell family every years on Halloween, and I always admired their ambitious and connected natures. Even when Gwen, Marnie's mom, tries to deny her nature it always bubbles to the surface so she can stand by her family and save lives.
6. The Spellmans- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina/ Sabrina the Teenage Witch
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has been a new telling of the original tv show and comic book- one that has been more dark and satanic, but also one that still reveres and captures the bond of the Spellman family. With her parents gone, Sabrina is being raised by her two aunts, who genuinely want what they believe is best. Not only helping raise her, but also shaping her into the women she is, the Spellman girls show that they are a coven of strong witches ready to fight and defeat the literal Devil together and check each other along the way, if need be. Although they disagree, a lot, and Sabrina never listens to the advice of anyone, they show that when they work together, they can pull each other out of any difficult situation and also save the entire town on numerous occasions. The new adaptations of Hilda and Zelda have been my favorite re-imagining's of iconic characters- as they are proven to be bright beyond compare, strong-willed, and wildly independent.
Ambrose deserves recognition in this even though he is not a witch, but a warlock. He is just as much part of the Spellman bond as the rest. He continuously helps Sabrina in all of her hair-brained plans, but he also just wants what's best for his family. And even when he was in his darkest moments, escaping death or just dealing with his unfortunate judgments, the girls always support him as well. The Spellman family has shown that even though they have suffered great tragedies over and over, it has only brought them closer together.
The original, live-action television show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch follows another story-telling of Sabrina and the Spellmans. Though the plots and characters follow different paths than the new adaptation, one thing always stays the same- the connection between the Spellmans. Being raised by her two aunts and finding out she's a witch on her 16 birthday, Sabrina is thrown into a new whirlwind of situations and emotions. Throughout the span of 7 seasons, Sabrina and the Spellmans deal with learning magic, dealing with difficult relationships, and learning the magnitude of sacrifice on a multitude of levels- even sacrificing life for each other.
5. The Halliwells- Charmed
Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and then Paige are the Halliwell sisters in the television series Charmed. Throughout the span of 8 seasons, the sisters battle demons, monsters, and the FBI together in an attempt to keep innocent lives out of danger and keep the knowledge of magic from being exposed to the world. All the while, they are also traversing relationships, sisterhood, and loss on a tremendous amount of levels. Not to mention they always look amazing while doing so. One thing that is continuously proven is that their powers work better together, as they work as a cohesive team, and they conquer everything as sisters. Their powers couldn't even become activated until they were all back at their ancestral home together. The Halliwell sisters, through years of pain , confusion, struggle, and loss, have shown that true sisterhood is the bond that keeps you going through it all- it keeps you from losing yourself. They are one of the most iconic names in witch history for a multitude of reasons.
4. The Sanderson Sisters- Hocus Pocus (1993)
They're stealing the essence and lives of children, but they're doing it together, and that's what matters. Hocus Pocus is the Halloween film of many of our childhoods, and the Sanderson sisters are the trio of witches that will go down as legendary for their wit, sarcasm, and eccentric nature. They die together, rise again together, then die together again over the span of an hour and a half. They rise the dead together, and they spend all of Halloween night trying to find and defeat 3 children and a talking cat- which they lose together as well. Their silly banter and hilarious antics are the thing that keeps generations laughing and enjoying this film. And Bette Midler's I Put A Spell On You is enchanting and way better than the original.
3. The "Manon" Girls- The Craft (1996)
New to town Sarah Bailey finds new friends in "wannabe" witches Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle. Before things tumble down a dark and unrelenting path, and before backs are stabbed and cosmic karma is delivered, the girls share an incomparable bond that makes them stronger and a force to be reckoned with. I love these girls for the very reason that they are an unlikely group of friends, but beyond that, they find the bond of friendship and sisterhood through incantations, shared secrets, and sleepovers.
Sarah finds comfort in her new friendships after dealing with depression, Bonnie finds confidence, Nancy finds power, and all the girls find revenge in some way or another. Called the "Manon" girls because that is the deity they worship, the girls ultimately seal the bond of their coven and connection through a Invocation spell. This film makes these girls one of the most popular witches of all time.
2. Miss Robichaux's Academy- American Horror Story Coven/Apocalypse
For two seasons, Miss Robichaux's Academy of witches has experienced life, death, betrayal, but most of all a continous growth of love and respect for one another. In Coven, the girls continuously find it hard to find their place in all the dysfunction of coming to terms with their individual powers, while they are each also fighting each other for the possible Supreme role. Under Fiona, they were chaotic, but once Cordelia rises as Supreme, she shows unconditional love and support for her girls. This coven of witches and sisters is one of my absolute favorites of all time. Their bond has brought me to the brink of tears, especially in Apocalypse, when all sacrifices are made for each other, their survival, and the rise of the next Supreme. Sarah Paulson as Cordelia and her unconditional love for her girls is the epitome of motherhood and care. She is the mother of all witches. Her, Myrtle, and Misty help rise each other and the girls to their true potential. Through a lot of fighting, murdering, and laughs with each other, Miss Robichaux's witches show that witches who find each other, no matter where they come from, find a bond that can never be broken.
1. Sally and Gillian Owens- Practical Magic (1998)
My number one spot of my favorite sisterly witches goes to Sally and Gillian Owens. Two truly opposite sisters, growing up down different paths but always finding their way to each other in the end. Sally and Gillian battle demonic, abusive men and a family curse altogether in this film that captures the true essence of sisterhood in every way. They even enlist the help of fellow towns-women who share no magical abilities but show that the most power can come from women standing together, working towards a similar goal, and fighting for an equal purpose. In the end, Sally and Gillian prove that sisters are your soulmates, and a lifetime together is priceless.