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Oct 282015

Welcome to another Halloween themed top 10 list. This year it’s about my most favorite wicked witches in pop culture. Just to set the record straight, there is a difference between witchcraft and sorcery, although it is hard to tell sometimes. Be sure to check out my Top 10 Wicked Sorceresses list for a comparison. Now here are the witches.

#10) Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes) from H.R. Pufnstuf: Witches don’t come any sillier than her. In fact, you can tell just by the sound of her name that Witchiepoo is more funny than creepy. She is intent on capturing young Jimmy and stealing his talking flute Freddie, but never succeeds. It doesn’t help that Witchiepoo has bumbling henchmen and a talking castle that doesn’t believe in her. Of course that’s what makes this witch so interesting and memorable.

#9) The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus: Known as Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), this trio of witches intends to steal the life force from children for the soul purpose of staying forever young. They tend to bumble through situations while adjusting to the more modern world, since they’re from 300 years in the past, but that’s what makes them hilarious. However, these witches are also dangerous and creepy, so you definitely don’t want to get on their bad sides.

#8) Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) from The Brothers Grimm: This nameless beauty was vain and selfish, then eventually killed by the plague. Now as a vengeful spirit, the Mirror Queen has the power to possess an entire forest and capture young girls in creepy and mysterious ways to steal their youth. Seriously, what is it with old witches wanting to stay young?

#7) Maja from Adventure Time: This sky witch is known for taking various objects that contain sentimental affection for great power. In addition to that, Maja can fly, shoot bolts of electricity from her hands, and has an edgy distorted voice. At least she believes in fair trade, compared to most wicked witches.

#6) Taminella Grinderfall from Muppets franchise: This character was always cast as the wicked witch in some of the old Muppet fairytale specials like Tales of the Tinkerdee and The Frog Prince. Her methods of deceit are often silly and easy to see through, but they always seem to succeed, especially with King Goshposh. Since Taminella was never featured again after her defeat in The Frog Prince, she has definitely become underrated.

#5) Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) from Harry Potter franchise: Among many of Voldemort’s followers, Bellatrix is the most loyal as well as the most psychotic. She takes pleasure in killing anyone who crosses her and has sparked a personal vendetta with Neville Longbottom, since she was the one who tortured his parents. What really makes Bellatrix stand out is her crazy and sadistic persona, which is something any evil master ought to look for in a henchwoman.

#4) Theodora (Mila Kunis) from Oz the Great and Powerful: The Wicked Witch of the West has always been an iconic character. However, it’s the one in this movie version that stands out because it reveals how this wicked witch came to be. It’s so interesting to know that Theodora used to be good, then was driven to become a heartless monster. I’ve never been able to see the Wicked Witch of the West the same way again after that.

#3) Evil Willow (Alyson Hannigan) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow Rosenberg is a witch that has always been a loyal member of Buffy’s Scooby team. In season six, her girlfriend Tara was murdered and that pushed Willow to a breaking point. That drove her to take revenge and nearly destroy the world. It can be tough to see such a good character go bad, but Evil Willow’s edgy presence and determination makes her a witch you wouldn’t want to face in a dark alley.

#2) Queen Jadis (Tilda Swinton) from Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Best referred to as the White Witch, this self-proclaimed queen rules the land of Narnia with an iron fist and turns anyone who crosses her into stone. She won’t hesitate to hurt or kill others and is quick to judge when her servants’ loyalty is compromised.

Jadis has made appearances in the sequels and even the animated version was good. One thing is for certain. The White Witch is as evil as they come.

#1) Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk) from The Craft: This troubled teen is the head of her coven and desires great power, so she can use it to get what she wants. Eventually, Nancy lets that go to her head and ends up losing her sanity. As wickedly crazy as she is, I think Nancy is also likable, especially when she smiles. That is why I rank her at the top of this list.

Oct 052012

Masters of Horror (2005-2007) featured a different one-hour horror film each week. It’s the kind of horror that’s way too intense for basic cable, which is a bit much for me. Heck, some of those features make Tales from the Crypt look like Scooby-Doo. But there was one Masters of Horror movie that I really enjoyed. It’s called Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up.

Walker (Warren Cole) is a hitchhiking cowboy with a snake. He tricks people on the road to pick him up, then kills them. But there’s another killer out there, Wheeler (Michael Moriarty) the friendly truck driver, who does the same thing. They both work solo, but when their paths collide, competition starts to heat up with a group of bus passengers as their prey after the bus breaks down.

Wheeler is hilarious. I must admit that he sure has a way with a conversation. Whether it’s about guns, or what he claims to carry in his truck, or trying to tell CPR from IRS. That still cracks me up.

One of the bus passengers, Stacia (Fairuza Balk) strays from the group and finds a hotel room for the night. Little does she realize that next door, Walker is torturing another victim. Or is it kinky sex? A rodeo, perhaps? It all sounds the same from behind a wall.

Later, Stacia gets caught in the middle of things as she finds Walker and Wheeler exchanging lies to one another. Soon, the three of them get together in the truck. Walker and Wheeler tell the story of The Blonde and the Snake, which is much like The Scorpion and the Frog. Stacia is forced to listen while fearing for her life. Stacia is so easily irritated, it’s hilarious. It totally works for being scary and funny at the same time.

Fairuza Balk was such a sweetheart when I met her at Spooky Empire 2009.

This is a terrific movie. Unlike many of the other Masters of Horror films, this slasher has hardly any gore, but a great amount of comedy. Now that’s my kind of horror film.

Mar 302012

In the classic sci-fi thriller, The Island of Dr. Moreau, castaway Edward Douglas (David Thewlis) winds up on an island in the South Pacific, which is inhabited by many mutant beasts created by brilliant exiled scientist Dr. Moreau (Marlon Brando).

The first person Douglas meets on the island is Montgomery (Val Kilmer) the veterinarian who nurses him back to health.

Soon after, Douglas meets the lovely Aissa (Fairuza Balk), who is Dr. Moreau’s daughter that’s not all she appears to be.

 I still remember what a sweetheart Fairuza Balk was when I met her at Spooky Empire 2009.

Later that night, Douglas becomes suspicious after Montgomery locks him up in the guest bedroom and telling him that it’s for his own good. So Douglas picks the lock and snoops around. As it turns out, Dr. Moreau is trying to combine DNA from various animals with human genes in hopes of creating the perfect life form. The other inhabitants are all of Moreau’s attempts, which result in human-like beasts.

The various beasts do appear savage, but they have laws. One of the main laws is not to kill another animal. To enforce the laws, Dr. Moreau uses a shock device implant within each beast that’s triggered by remote. I guess that’s one way to keep them in line.

Douglas soon meets Dr. Moreau personally along with his little assistant Magi. I never fully understood what kind of creature Magi is, but he sure is a polite hardworking fellow. He even plays piano.

Things start to spiral out of control when one of the beasts, Hyena-Swine (Daniel Rigney), discovers the implant and gets it out of himself with his bare hand, or claw. He gets away and spreads the word to other beasts that wish to follow him in a revolt against Moreau. Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Aissa is a beast also and relies on serum to stay human. When Douglas hears about the revolt, he tries to get serum for her so they can escape the island together. Unfortunately, Montgomery is no help because he has gone insane and destroyed all of the serum.

It’s bad enough that the rouge beasts know how to use guns and explosives. They can also drive jeeps while destroying everything. Aissa soon changes into a wild cat. She’s still as lovely as ever, but with a new edge. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Luckily, Douglas isn’t up against all of the beasts. It’s really just Hyena-Swine, who is the real mastermind trying to take over.

This was a great movie. It has adventure, excitement, mutants, and Fairuza Balk all on one island.

Sep 032010

We all remember The Wizard of Oz. In the sequel Return to Oz, Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) gets sent to an asylum because of a sleeping disorder and her “delusions” of the Land of Oz. During her escape, Dorothy and her talking chicken Billena wind up in Oz and find out that it has been taken over by a new threat, the Nome King (Nicol Williamson) and Princess Mombi (Jean Marsh), who has a detachable head. They have captured the Scarecrow and turned Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and all of the civilians of the Emerald City into stone statues. Now it’s up to Dorothy and her new friends Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkin head, and the Gump to face Mombi and the Nome King, rescue the Scarecrow, and restore peace to Oz.

The animation on the rocks is neat. It has a creepy look with all the different faces and expressions. When the Nomes come out of the walls and attack, it reminds me of the clay animation from The Adventures of Mark Twain in the scene when he plays the organ.

All I can say is that once again, Dorothy ends up vanquishing the villain out of dumb luck.

As far as I can tell, when it comes to weaknesses, every witch is different. Dorothy unknowingly killed two witches in the first Wizard of Oz film. The Witch of the West’s one weakness is water and the Witch of the East was killed by having a house land on her head. What would’ve been next? The Witch of the Southwest having a weakness to rap music? The bottom line is that Dorothy didn’t know what she was doing, but she’s still one brave little girl.

I think this is a classic sequel. As it turns out, this was Fairuza Balk’s first movie, long before she played more mysterious roles in films like The Craft and The Island of Dr. Moreau.

I met Fairuza Balk at Spooky Empire 2009 and she was very sweet.

Nov 202009

I used to think that witches were all the same, like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. It wasn’t until I saw The Craft (Special Edition)when I realized that there was more to what witches are, not to mention that there were actually good witches as well as bad ones.

Fairuza Balk and me

The Craft stars Fairuza Balk as Nancy the teenage witch, which was the start of some of her more edgy characters. I think she has the sweetest smile. When I met Fairuza Balk at Spooky Empire 2009, she was very sweet and I was thrilled.

The other teenage witches in Nancy’s coven are Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Rochelle (Rachael True), and Sara (Robin Tunney), and they all attend a Catholic high school. How’s that for irony.

Each of them has a separate major problem in their lives. Nancy has trouble with her stepfather, Bonnie has burn scars all over her body, Rochelle keeps getting picked on by Laura (Christine Taylor) the queen bee, and Sara gets humiliated by Chris (Skeet Ulrich) the jock. The four of them get together and do a spell, which helps solve each of their problems all at once. It does work, but maybe too well.

Things really start to spiral out of control when the witches try to invoke the spirit. That spell causes Nancy to lose her mind completely. Sara is the only one who feels uncomfortable and gets driven to the point where she wants out of the group. Not a good idea, because in this movie, a witch leaving her coven is considered a traitor, which is punishable by death. It sounds like Sara is really in hot water now, and I don’t mean inside a boiling hot cauldron.

This is a good movie about teenage witches. They weren’t exactly “The Charmed Ones”, but I still found these characters just as likable.

Fairuza Balk Autograph