The 1990s were the heyday of witches in popular culture. There was literally something for everyone. From kid friendly witch movies and teen witch movies to witchy romcoms. Witches were everywhere. Here’s a look back at ten of the best.
1990 – The Witches
Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
Written by: Allan Scott
Based on the classic Roald Dahl children’s book of the same name, The Witches is a terrifying kids movie. Anjelica Huston plays the Grand High Witch who conspires to turn every little boy and girl into a mouse.
1993 – Hocus Pocus
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Written by: Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris
Hocus Pocus was a box office disaster when it was released but has since become a Halloween classic. The Sanderson sisters, played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, are Salem witches who return from the past on Halloween night after the black flame candle is lit by a virgin.
1993 – Double Double Toil and Trouble
Directed by: Stuart Margolin
Written by: Jurgen Wolff
This made for TV movie stars Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen as two little girls who, on Halloween night, try to save their parents from their nasty old aunt who is a secret witch. It’s one of at least 20 movies made by the Olsen twins during the 90s.
1996 — The Craft
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Written by: Andrew Fleming and Peter Filardi
The Craft, was an edgy alternative to kid friendly Witch movies and in the years since its release has developed a serious cult following thanks in part to the “weirdo” girls at the centre of this movie and the goth fashion aesthetic. The Craft inspired a generation of teens to dabble in witchcraft or at least try the spooky party trick, “Light as Feather – Stiff as a Board.“
1996 – The Crucible
Directed by: Nicholas Hytner
Written by: Arthur Miller
The 1996 film adaptation of the classic Arthur Miller play tells the story of a teenage girl played by Winona Ryder who gets her heart broken by her married lover played by Daniel Day Lewis. The jilted lover leads a group of other young women in a ritual that leads to an actual witch hunt.
1997- A Simple Wish
Directed by: Michael Ritchie
Written by: Jeff Rothberg
Mara Wilson, also known for her role as Matilda, plays eight-year-old Annabel who calls on the first-ever male fairy godmother, Murray to help get her father the starring role in a new musical. But Murray bungles his spell and instead turns Annabel’s dad into a statue.
1997 – Eve’s Bayou
Directed by: Kasi Lemmons
Written by: Kasi Lemmons
Jurnee Smollett (sister of Jussie Smollet) plays a 10-year-old Creole American girl who finds out her father, played by Samuel L. Jackson is cheating on her mom. She seeks revenge by asking local fortune-teller for help with a voodoo spell.
1998 – Practical Magic
Directed by: Griffin Dunne
Written by: Robin Swicord, Akiva Goldsman, and Adam Brooks
The Owen sisters, played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, use their witch powers to deal with an abusive boyfriend. When it was released, Practical Magic confused people with its mix of horror and romantic comedy, but 22 years later, fans have come to appreciate the film’s unique qualities and the way it now feels perfectly suited for the #metoo era.
1998 – Halloweentown
Directed by: Duwayne Dunham
Written by: Paul Bernbaum, Jon Cooksey, and Ali Marie Matheson
This classic Disney Channel Halloween movie, follows Marnie, a young witch who teams up with her grandmother, played by the late, great Debbie Reynold in order to save the iconic and mystical Holloweentown. There is not a lot of depth in this one, but its filled with wholesome, lightly spooky fun and it rings all the right nostalgia bells for anyone who grew up in the 90s.
1998 Casper meets Wendy
Directed by: Sean McNamara
Written by: Jymm Magon
This direct to video family-comedy stars a young Hilary Duff in her first major film role. She plays the Good Little Witch who encounters Casper while she is taking refuge with her aunt in a resort to get away from the evil warlock Desmond.
For more on 90s Witches check out this week’s episode of my podcast History of the 90s.