Written by Patti Pauley
There’s just something about Anjelica Huston peeling off her humanoid face in The Witches that makes you want to squirm and throw holy water all over the damn place.
If you were a horror kid in the ’90s, chances are you’ve seen Anjelica Huston in all her genre glory as she so brilliantly took on the coveted role of a lifetime, Morticia Addams in the Addams Family movies; and nailed the shit out of it staking her claim as the modern babe in black we both wanted as a wife and mother. She was a goth goddess and we loved her for it.
However, before she was clipping off heads of rosebuds in her gothic garden, she solidified her spot in history in 1990 with her terrifying portrayal of Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch.
Adapted from the 1983 Dahl book and sadly, the last movie the great Jim Henson produced, The Witches brought just the right amount of intensity to the screen for young viewers without going over the PG rating. That’s quite an impressive feat considering the main antagonist of the film was in so many words, the Charles Manson of the witch world ordering her disciples to get rid of every last child on Earth through what else? Chocolate, of course. Chocolate that turns the repulsive, dogs dropping smelling, little brats into mice. While the premise alone is something that could give any small kid a few nightmares at bedtime, it was Huston’s performance in The Witches that scared the literal crap out of kids back in the beginning of the ’90s decade.
So on this day, which also happens to be Miss Huston’s birthday, we celebrate why the almighty Grand High Witch was and still is, the most horrifying witch on screen. *Spoilers ahead if you have yet to see this nostalgic theatrical gem.
The Grand High Witch Revealed
As stated at the top of this jam, not sure there’s anything more horrifying to a child than watching someone as beautiful as Huston peel the skin of her mug like a Mary Kay face mask to reveal her true hideous self.
It always bugged me how she was able to mask that enormously elongated nose underneath her disguise, but I suppose The Grand High Witch has her ways and I probably shouldn’t question it otherwise I may end up a pile of ashes. Which leads us into the next example.
The Grand High Witch doesn’t like smack talk
See here’s the thing: if you’re a low-ranking witch in the same room as your superior, you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. And for fuck’s sake don’t mutter crap under your breath within ears reach of the most powerful woman in the world. Even though the comment was a mere observation and harmless, the Grand High Witch made it painfully clear even the slightest apprehension from her subordinates will cost them dearly.
Bye, Bye Bruno!
Holy hell, does the Witch Queen hate children or what?! During the little witch convention, your scabby Highness shows off her latest, and very gweatest invention- Formula 86. The very potion to be diluted into candy bars that are to be dispersed to children worldwide. So she brings in a visual demonstration of what to expect to see once the formula goes into action. Looks like Conal Cochran has some serious competition here.
She outright tries to kill this baby
The Grand High Witch shows no mercy even towards infants. That’s some pure evil shit right there ladies and gentlemen. Luckily our flick’s protagonist little Luke intervenes and saves the day because I’m not so sure I could deal with that kind of baby killing fuckery in a supposed family friendly film.
She’s even terrifying as a damn mouse
The Skeksis have nothing on the Grand High Witch in pure rodent form. When plans backfire, the Witch of all witches finds herself in quite the predicament. If you didn’t have a phobia of mice and rats before, you might have one now because the Grand Highness’ rodent transformation is the ultimate in sewer rodent nightmares. And then what happens? She gets squashed by Mr. Bean.
Mr. Fucking. Bean.
This guy right here killed the Grand High Witch. I guess not even the head of the witches can compete with this kind of mojo.
So all together now, let’s wish her Majesty of sorcery and perfect jet-black hair a happy birthday! Thanks for all the paranoia when stepping into a candy shop as a kid.