Around here, Halloween has tended to be translated as “The night of witches” to leave a clear and understandable reference to a holiday that was foreign to us until not long ago. There are few figures as associated with terror as witcheseven though these are a controversial concept as they are used by conservative institutions to stigmatize and condemn certain “undesirable women”.
However, it’s hard to deny that witches are also a powerful concept that works beautifully on screen. Now an effort is being made to resurrect and redefine them with modern eyes, but we should not leave behind classic and essential examples like the ones in this selection of recommendations, available on the different streaming platforms.
‘The mask of the devil’ (‘The mask of the devil’, 1960)
Address: Mario Bava. Distribution: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici.
The story of a witch who is taken with her lover to the cruelest execution by her brother for allegedly practicing witchcraft, only to resurface centuries later after the discovery of their bodies by travelers. An opening to the absolute panic that launches this amazing gothic horror story of the always fascinating Mario Bava.
The first film credited to the seminal Italian filmmaker is an exquisite black-and-white gem that dives into medieval fantasy, curses, the afterlife and, of course, witchcraft through this buried couple. With just the right elements, he creates a fabulous film, worthy heir to Universal’s monsters and becoming a classic in its own right.
Address: Dario Argento. Distribution: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Udo Kier, Miguel Bose.
The most iconic film in Dario Argento’s filmography and his most praised classic, which has become the image of reference every time the term giallo is mentioned. Although more than giallo, we are facing an incredible whirlwind where witchcraft and dance collide, separate and intertwine again to make everything an experience for the senses.
‘sigh’ is a well loaded film in all aspects, with visual images very high in color, shameless and heartbreaking violence. His sounds are also as captivating as they are terrifying, solidifying a proposal by Argento determined to be enigmatic and sensory to the last consequences. She clearly does.
‘The curse of the witches’ (‘The Witches’, 1990)
Address: Nicholas Roeg. Distribution: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Jane Horrocks, Anne Lambton, Rowan Atkinson.
One of those movies that do not fade from your memory, especially if you see it at a certain age. Many young people were traumatized before Nicolas Roeg’s interpretation of the classic terrifying tale by Roald Dahl, applying an absolutely macabre aesthetic to the witches that give the work its title and also with the distressing sensation around the child protagonists turned into mice.
Even so, it is more playful and fantastic than the myth has been building. An unappealable children’s horror classic, visually stunning and iconic and also told with fabulous poise. Anjelica Huston also does one of those works to remember creating one of the most impressive personifications of the figure of the witch that have been seen on screen.
Watch on HBO Max | Criticism in Espinof