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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.

Mar 022012

When we last left Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), the third horcrux has been destroyed and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has found the ancient elder wand. The adventure continues in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 as Harry and the group arrive at the Gringotts Bank, where the fourth horcrux is hidden.

With Griphook’s (Warwick Davis) help they make it to Bellatrix’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault, which is guarded by a creepy Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon. Once inside, the group finds the horcrux, which is a golden cup, but other objects that multiply when touched surround it. Harry gets the cup, but Griphook doublecrosses him and escapes with the sword of Gryffindor. Luckily, Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape with the help of the dragon.

After that, Harry discovers that the fifth horcrux is back at Hogwarts and it has something to do with Ravenclaw House. It won’t be easy breaking in because death eaters and dementors heavily guard the school and Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is the new headmaster. Neville (Matthew Lewis) arrives from a secret passage to guide Harry and the others through and meet up with the rest of the Resistance.

Harry asks for everyone’s help to figure out what the next horcrux could be and Luna (Evanna Lynch) comes up with the conclusion that it’s a tiara that’s been lost for centuries. No one alive has seen it, which leaves everyone skeptical. At least it’s better than nothing.

Voldemort knows that Harry is back at Hogwarts and has a huge army of death eaters outside, ready to fight. The Aurors and teachers create a force field, but still prepare for battle. Neville holds the fort while Harry looks for the fifth horcrux. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione go to the Chamber of Secrets to get a basilisk fang in order to destroy the horcruxes. It’s amazing to see how much the basilisk remains have deteriorated over time.

Thanks to Luna, Harry learns that in order to find the horcrux, he will need a ghost’s help. I was hoping for Moaning Myrtle, but it’s not her. The ghost Harry finds is Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly MacDonald). She knows why Harry has come to her, but refuses to help. Eventually, Helena does tell him in a riddle, but Harry figures it out easily.

Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione get some old fangs from what’s left of the basilisk and destroy the golden cup. Outside of Hogwarts, Voldemort’s army fights its way past the force field. I couldn’t help but notice that the Quidditch field was destroyed in the process.

Soon Harry, Ron, and Hermione find the lost tiara in the Room of Requirement. Unfortunately, they also find Draco (Tom Felton) and a giant monster made of fire. I don’t know what it is, but Harry and the group manage a  narrow escape and destroy the horcrux.

Now there’s only one horcrux left, which turns out to be Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini. The battle soon comes to a halt with many casualties, including the deaths of some of the students and Aurors. Voldemort now wants to go up against Harry, one on one. Even though it’s suicide, Harry feels that he must go in order to see this through because he learns that another horcrux is actually inside of him.

Both Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Snape knew this from the start. The time has now come for Harry to face his destiny in the final confrontation against Voldemort, who has also captured Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). I was wondering where Hagrid was throughout this battle. Later, the battle resumes at Hogwarts, more intensely than ever before.

Although it’s a little sad to see this movie franchise come to an end, this was a good one to end with, providing plenty of closure.

Feb 292012

Well, this is it. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is in for the ultimate battle of his life in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is gone and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is on a deadly search to kill Harry with the help of his death eater followers. Once again, Harry gets visitors at his muggle home to bring him to the magical world, but this time it’s different.

The gang’s all here, Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson), Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Professor Lupin (David Thewis), and several others, all led by Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson). First, half of the group takes polyjuice potion to look like Harry, then they all take off in an exciting aerial escape with death eaters attacking from everywhere.

Soon they make it to the Weasley household safe and sound, most of them anyway. One thing’s for sure. Harry never has to go back to the muggle world, or be mistreated by his aunt and uncle ever again. However, Harry has bigger fish to fry. The horcruxes of Voldemort must be found and destroyed, wherever they are.

Later, the death eaters arrive and attack. Harry, Ron, and Hermione barely escape with their lives and are now on the run looking for a safe refuge as well as the next horcrux. Unfortunately, Hogwarts is not one of those places, even if it is their final year.

Luckily, Hermione has a tiny bag that carries a ton of provisions. That also includes a tent that’s bigger inside than outside. Great, now everybody’s gonna want one.

Quite a few references from the previous Harry Potter films are featured like the memory charms, the house that opens up, and Griphook (Warwick Davis) the goblin bank teller. But what I was really grateful for was the return of Dobby the house elf. Now that he’s been free for awhile, Dobby has become more helpful than ever.

It was real nice that I got to meet Tom Felton at MegaCon 2012, who is best known as Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise.

Okay, let’s review. There are six horcruxes total and two have already been found and destroyed, the diary and the ring. The third was a locket, but the one Harry and Dumbledore found in the previous movie is a fake. Harry, Ron, and Hermione find out that Miss Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) has the real one. Remember her? They infiltrate the Ministry and succeed at escaping with the locket. On a personal note, this scene did run pretty long.

Now here’s another dilemma. They have the locket, but don’t know how to destroy it. Until they do, the locket must be protected. Now it has become more like a Lord of the Rings quest. The wearer of the locket carries a heavy burden of madness. It affects Ron the most, which leaves him to believe that Hermione likes Harry over him, so he takes off. After weeks of traveling, Ron returns just when Harry finds the sword of Gryffindor, which is the key to destroy the horcruxes. Even after Ron does destroy the locket, Hermione isn’t glad to see him. How long do you think she’ll stay mad at Ron?

Meanwhile, Voldemort is in search for something to kill Harry with, but it’s not revealed until the Deathly Hollows story is told. It’s about three brothers who each receive a gift from Death himself. They are the Elder wand which is the most powerful wand ever made, the Resurrection stone that brings loved ones back from the dead, the Invisibility cloak made from a piece of Death’s robe. As it turns out, the three items are real. Since Voldemort’s wand cannot kill Harry, he seeks the Elder wand, but will it work like in the story?

This was quite an adventurous film. Even though it’s only the first half, it didn’t get very far with the horcruxes. There are three left with no clue on where or what they are. Check my blog for part 2 for the grand finale.

Dec 302011

The adventures of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) become more intense in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. With Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) still out there, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) helps Harry prepare for when he must face him. However, the key to defeating Voldemort once and for all is with retired Hogwarts teacher Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). So, Dumbledore brings Harry along to visit him. Harry wasn’t exactly rescued from the muggle world to Hogwarts this time, but he might as well have been.

It takes a little extra convincing, but Slughorn comes out of retirement as the new Potions teacher. That means Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) finally gets his dream job as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I can’t tell if Snape is thrilled or not, since he shows no expression.

As Harry finds his Potions textbook, which is somehow different from everyone else’s, he aces the class with ease. Despite that Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson), and the rest of the class resent Harry for it.

Later, Dumbledore shows Harry his liquid memories about Voldemort’s past. As Tom Riddle, he was close to Slughorn. However, one memory was tampered with. Dumbledore wants Harry to get Slughorn to give him the real one. Why Slughorn won’t give it willingly is because he’s ashamed of it.

It’s been awhile, but Quidditch is back at Hogwarts. Harry is captain now and Ron becomes a keeper. Ron is nervous at first, but Harry helps him gain his confidence and win the match for Gryffendor house.

Draco (Tom Felton) has been wicked before, but now he has become one of Voldemort’s death eaters and his first task is to assassinate Dumbledore. It starts when Katie (Georgina Leonidas), a student, touches a cursed necklace. Then a tonic poisons Ron. Harry already suspected Draco and he was correct, which eventually leads to a rough fight between them in the bathroom. I’m surprised that no one else noticed with all the noise they were making.

Love soon gets in the air. Hermione falls for Ron and Harry falls for Ginny (Bonnie Wright). You’d think it would have happened sooner after everything they’ve been through together.

Once Slughorn finally gains the courage to give the memory Dumbledore desires, the secret to Voldemort’s power is a dangerously dark magic called a Horcrux. That’s an object that prevents a wizard from dying because it conceals a part of one’s soul. Voldemort had his soul split into seven pieces.

In order for them to fully destroy Voldemort, the other six objects must also be found and destroyed. It won’t be easy because they could be anywhere or anything. Luckily, two have already been found. One of them was a ring that belonged to Voldemort’s mother. And remember the diary from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? That’s another one. Then Dumbledore recently figures out where the third one is and brings Harry along to a dark creepy cave with creatures in the water. What are they? Zombies? Gulloms?

This was an exciting sequel that sets up for the finale, despite a major loss at Hogwarts, which will never be the same again after this.

Nov 072011

Guess who is back for year five at Hogwarts, that’s right. It’s Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Now that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned, Harry is now under attack more frequently, even in the muggle world.

After rescuing his cousin Dudley (Harry Melling) from two dementors, Harry is threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts because wizards under 17 aren’t allowed to use magic outside of school. Harry is only 15.

Of course, Dudley blames Harry for what happened. Now Harry’s Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw) believe justice is finally served. Luckily, Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) and his aurors arrive to rescue Harry and bring him to the Ministry of Magic for his hearing.

When the hearing begins, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) arrives to defend Harry. However, there’s more to this hearing than the underage magic charges. Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) , head of the ministry, and his followers refuse to believe that Voldemort is really back. At least Harry doesn’t get expelled, thank goodness. It goes to show how evil dementors are, but is there more to that as well?

After getting to Hogwarts with Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Neville (Matthew Lewis), Harry meets a new friend, Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). I like Luna. She’s a little daft, but funny and likable.

The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher this year is Professor Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), the madam secretary who works for Fudge. She is a total dictator holding all of the students back when it comes to using magic. Harry isn’t afraid to stand up to Umbridge. Unfortunately, it causes her to punish Harry by making him use a quill that tortures anyone who uses it.

That’s only the beginning. Umbridge puts up all kinds of proclamations at Hogwarts. She’s practically taken over the school and even Dumbledore can’t stop her. The only ones who actually take her side are Mr. Flitch (David Bradley), Draco (Tom Felton), and a few other Slytherin students. This definitely explains why there’s no Quidditch this year either.

As much as the ministry tries to hide the truth about Voldemort, the students decide to have Harry teach them the knowledge needed to fight evil in a secret room. At first Harry is unsure about it, even with his hands on experiences, but everyone shows courage and is willing to learn.

The training goes very well and Harry is doing great as a teacher. However, Harry is still on edge with the nightmares he’s been having. That’s why Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) provides Harry with lessons on how to prevent Voldemort from invading his mind. At times it seems as if Snape is going overboard, but we do get to see some of his past, which partially explains his bitterness toward Harry’s father.

Once Umbridge finally gets taken care of, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Neville, and Ginny (Bonnie Wright) head to the ministry and find a large room filled with crystal balls of prophecies. When the group of aurors arrive on the scene, they’re all in for a rough battle against Voldemort and his death eaters.

Among them is a new villainess, the dangerously wicked Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). She’s a wild and crazy witch, who is responsible for what happened to Neville’s parents. Neville has a grudge, but doesn’t let it get in the way of the cause, thanks to Harry.

This sequel was exciting. Despite the tragedies that occur, some good comes from it. Hogwarts returns to normal and Fudge finally comes to his senses once the physical proof was there for him to see. It sure took him long enough.