Monday, August 31, 2020

The Witches (1990)

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I've never seen The Witches (1990) before. Just like I was never really interested in watching Hocus Pocus (1993) it came out at a time in my life, where I felt like I was too old to care about a kids movie like that. I was more interested in blood and guts and special effects. After watching it last week, I can tell you that I enjoyed The Witches more than Hocus Pocus, and let me tell you why...

***Warning Spoilers & Spoiled children!!!***

The movie is derived from a story by Roald Dahl, known for James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or as we know the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory just to name a few, so you know it's going to be a dark fantasy involving precocious children. (Already better than Hocus Pocus!)

It's truly a basic premise. A young boy's parents die and he's then cared for by his grandmother who has been diagnosed with diabetes. She goes for a retreat to a hotel by the seaside (I guess that's what people do in Europe? In the US doctors just put us on drugs and we work until we die.) Little do they know that there's a witch convention going on when they arrive! The Grand High Witch of All the World wants to turn children into mice with Formula 86, a potion hidden in chocolate. She succeeds in turning Luke into a mouse. At one point he's chased by a black cat, but the cat gets distracted ~ as cats do ~ and isn't in much of the movie. He returns the favor by breaking into the kitchen and dosing all the witches food with the potion turning them all into rats, except for one.

By the end you think Luke will be a mouse forever, but the remaining witch turns him back into a boy and gives them the money that was intended for the witches and a list of the witches in the US. So although this is yet another movie that gives witches a bad name, in the end it shows there's some good ones too! This makes me think it leads to a sequel, but alas no. 

I do know that there is a remake. It was scheduled to be released this October, but has been pushed to 2021. The special effects that were created by Jim Henson in the original are truly impressive, even 30 years later, it's going to be hard to outdo those, BUT Guillermo del Toro is at the helm of the new one. I image it will be good, just different. (So far there's some things that are problematic with the new one, but I'll come to my own conclusions after I see it.) 

The facial prosthetics of the witches and the animated mice with human characteristics in the 1990 version are wonderful. Overall I'd give this 4.5 chocolate bars out of 5. Only because I wanted more information on the children trapped in the paintings, and how grandma lost part of her pinky finger.

Here's the trailer...



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