Thursday Movie Picks: Halloween Edition - Witches/Warlocks

Thursday Movie Picks is a weekly event hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Every October for the past years, themes are centered around Halloween. For this Thursday, it is about witches and warlocks in film. Here are my picks for this week.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle is a Studio Ghibli production based from the book of the same name. This has the main character, Sophie, cursed to live as an old woman due to her mistaken association with Howl. She eventually stumbles onto Howl’s castle, and learns more about Howl and the other characters in the castle. I loved the film, as it was a clear reflection of how vivid and colorful the book was. It does deviate a bit from its source, but nonetheless a fantastic work from Studio Ghibli.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books didn’t make the transition onscreen quite well. However, I think the ones that were adapted to film were great books, though the film translation wasn’t as par. This was a great introduction to the film trilogy, as the elements of the movie weaved well together.

The Wizard of Oz
I haven’t read the book, nor the subsequent books, but I don’t think that will take away the enjoyment of the film. The Wizard of Oz is a classic, and rightly so. The effects may seem to be outdated, but still a wonderful film.


  1. I like your theme within a theme here! I haven't seen Howl's Moving Castle, but I hope to one day. I'm going to try to make my way through more Ghibli films.

  2. The Wizard of Oz is such a classic choice. Considering how old it is, I don't find it too outdated at all!

  3. The Wizard of Oz is a classic, didn't pick it myself because I was focusing on horror films. Haven't seen Howl's Moving Castle but I do like Studio Ghibli's output.

  4. Love The Wizard of Oz! Howl’s Moving Castle sounds very good, I'll check it out.

  5. The Wizard of Oz fits so well and is such a marvelous endlessly enjoyable film. After so many bumps in the road, Shirley Temple's unavailability causing Judy Garland to be cast, Gale Sondegaard only wanting to play a beautiful witch clearing the way for Margaret Hamilton, Buddy Ebsen's allergy to his makeup leading to his replacement with Jack Haley etc., all the proper elements just came together and created a classic. I think the slightly off effects add to its charm.

    I didn't care much for Lion, Witch...but it's a beautiful looking film. I'm neither an anime nor an animation fan so I haven't seen Howl's.

    Excepting my third choice which is very Gothic I went for the lighter side of witchery this week.

    I Married a Witch (1942)-Condemned to being burned at the stake along with her father 17th century witch Jennifer (Veronica Lake) puts a curse on her accuser Jonathan Wooley (Fredric March) that he and all his descendants will marry the wrong women. Their spirits captured in a tree they’re unexpectedly freed 250 years later to discover the curse is still working with the latest Wooley (also March) engaged to marry a shrew (Susan Hayward). Full of mischief and revenge the troublemaking duo decide to raise even more of a ruckus by way of a love potion but complications ensue. Supported by an excellent cast the two leads make the picture, their extraordinary chemistry remarkable since behind the scenes each bitterly hated the other. You’d never guess from what’s on screen, they seem completely swept away. The best showcase Veronica ever had, she’s seductive, alluring, humorous, seeming to carry a gossamer glow with her wherever she goes. A light as air concoction directed at breakneck speed.

    Bell, Book and Candle (1958)-Modern day witch Gillian (Kim Novak) and her cat Pyewacket, live in 50’s Greenwich Village along with her Aunt Queenie (Elsa Lanchester) and impish cousin Nicky (Jack Lemmon). She meets publisher Shep (James Stewart) and on a lark, partly because he seems immune to her and partly because Shep is engaged to her old college rival Merle (Janice Rule), she decides to make him hers by casting a love spell. Trouble starts brewing though when Gillian finds herself actually falling for Shep. That’s more than a little problem since Gill will lose her powers if she falls in love with a human. What to do? The film suits Kim’s languid style and she looks a million.

    Black Sunday (1960)-In the diametric opposite of I Married a Witch cult star Barbara Steel is Asa, a 16th century high priestess of Satan executed, along with several of her followers, by having a spiked mask hammered into her face. As punishment is meted out she vows vengeance of her accusers returning 200 years hence to inhabit the body of her doppelganger and reap bloody retribution. Trendsetting Italian Gothic horror movie is loaded with atmosphere and style though short on actual frights, excepting those opening scenes, but is permeated with creepy dread.

    Unmissable Bonus-Bewitched (1964-1972)-Beautiful blonde Samantha Stevens lives on Morning Glory Circle in quaint Westport with her often exasperated adman husband Darrin and their adorable kids Tabatha and Adam, plus nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz, while her zany, often difficult family drop in frequently unannounced causing no end of troubles. Big troubles too since Samantha and all her relatives are witches who strongly disapprove of her marriage to a mere mortal. A monster TV hit in its day with a cast full of expert comic actors chief among them Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha/and her swingin’ cousin Serena, Agnes Moorehead as her firebrand of a mother Endora, Paul Lynde as jokester Uncle Arthur and Marion Lorne as the befuddled Aunt Clara this is often considered a subtle metaphor for interracial marriage at a time when that was causing much upheaval. Inspired in part by my first two picks. Avoid the ghastly 2005 remake at all costs!!!

  6. I completely forgot about Howl, and I eeven saw it last week!! Beautiful film - its probably my favourite Ghibli. And I've just thought of Kiki too! What was I thinking??

  7. Love the Wizard of Oz because it shows a good and bad witch. I haven't seen the other 2

  8. I have heard that Howl’s Moving Castle is a really good book, have you read it? I think I want to read the book before I turn to the animation.