For All You Know, A Witch Might Be Living Next Door to You: The Witches (1990)

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For all you know, a witch might be living next door to you.

So I’m a giant fan of Roald Dahl, I’ve read pretty much everything he has written.

One book I had never read before was The Witches. I wasn’t really interested in reading about witches.

However, I was able to get a free copy of the book for free and decided to read it. The next step after reading-of course checking out the film version.

Luke Eveshim visits his grandmother in Norway and she tells them all about Witches. Witches hate children and wish to wipe them off the face of the Earth. They can smell a child a mile away.

Helga: Real witches are very cruel, and they have a highly developed sense of smell. A real witch could smell you across the street on a pitch-black night.

Luke: She couldn’t smell me. I’ve just had a shower.

Helga: Oh yes, she could. The cleaner you are, the more a witch can smell you.

Luke: That doesn’t make sense.

Helga: Oh, yes it does. A dirty child, it is the dirt she smells. A clean child, it is the child.

She then goes on to tell him how he can tell a woman is a witch:

  1. They always wear glovesA real witch will always be wearing gloves when you meet her because she doesn’t have finger-nails. Instead of finger-nails, she has thin curvy claws, like a cat, and she wears the gloves to hide them.”
  2. They’ll be as ‘bald as a boiled egg’Not a single hair grows on a witch’s head. You’d think this would make them easy to spot? Wrong! Real witches always wear a wig. And not just any wig. An expensive first class wig that looks like real hair. The only way to check is to give it a pull to see if it comes off.”
  3. They’ll have large nose-holesWitches have the most amazing powers of smell and therefore have slightly larger nose-holes than ordinary people. They can even smell out a child who is standing on the other side of the street on a pitch-black night, and the cleaner you are, the more smelly you are to a witch. Witches call them stink-waves.”
  4. Their eyes change colour– Look carefully into their eyes, right into the middle of the eye where there’s normally a little black dot. If she’s a witch, the black dot will keep changing in colour, and you’ll see fire and you’ll see ice dancing right in the very centre of the coloured dot. It will send shivers running all over your skin.”
  5. They have no toes– Witches don’t have any toes. They just have feet with square ends. A real witch will hide her ugly feet by squeezing them into pretty shoes, which they find extremely uncomfortable. Look very closely and you might see a real witch limping very slightly.”
  6. They have blue spit– Real witches have blue spit, like ink (they even use it to write with). If you look very carefully you might be able to see a slight blueish tinge on their teeth.”

Shortly after, Luke’s parents die and he is to go live with his grandma. He doesn’t mind it too much, but then his grandma becomes ill and can no longer eat sweets. The doctor recommends visiting the English sea to improve her health.

They head out with Luke bringing along his pet mice, even though the manager is very much against it. He warns them that if the mouse is found anywhere not in its cage, they are out of the hotel.

Luke tries to train his mice in secret, running into an overweight boy, Bruno  who only wants to eat and then finds an empty conference room. It soon is filled with the RSPCC-the Prevention of Cruelty to Children group. But this group turns out to be something much different.

When I saw this scene I was like:

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I was an adult watching it. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to a child.

The Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston), the boss, goes over her new plan to destroy all the children in the world.

Grand High Witch: Now, this is my plan: Each of you will go back to your homes… and resign from your jobs. Give notice. Retire. You will then buy with the money I give you…[Irvine gives her the money from the case boxSweet shops. Candy stores. The best and most respectable sweet shops in England. [throws the money, the ladies are picking up the moneyUpstairs: I have a trunkload of this English money… So, you’ll be able to offer three, maybe four times what these shops are worth. Go, go, go.

Yes, her plan is for them to sell chocolate that will transform children into:

Ahhh!

Yep, their plan is pretty sound. The only thing that throws a wrench in it is that Luke has heard the whole thing and is preparing what to do to stop them.

That is until his mouse gets away from him and reveals that he is in the room. The witches see him and turn him into a mouse as well.

Luke has to navigate the hotel, one of which does not allow mice and has said if they find any about the Eveshims will be out.

Luke hurries back to his room as fast as he can in the hopes he can make it to their room without being squished. He hurries as fast as he can and tells his grandma the whole story. The two come up with a plan to steal the Witches formula and stick it in their special banquet soup, turning them all into witches.

There are only two problems: 1) How to get past the hotel staff without being caught.

Hmmm….

And how to change Luke and Bruno back to boys again?

Will they succeed and save the world? Fail and every child be turned into mice?

So I really liked it.

It isn’t like American film, slower paced and has more dialogue than action but I really enjoyed it. Best of all they kept it almost exactly like the book.

When they showed the way the witches looked it was amazing! Completely perfect in how terrifying it is.

I liked the ending of the book better than how they changed it in the end, but the film’s ending would appeal to children more I’m sure.

To start Horrorfest VI, from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to One Blow to the Head and the Deed is Done: Candlestick (2014)

For more on Roald Dahl, go to Come With Me and You’ll Be in a World of Pure Imagination: Happy 100th Birthday Roald Dahl

For more on Anjelica Huston, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more on witches, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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It was a headless horseman… But it was a headless horseman…you must believe me. It was a horseman, a dead one. Headless.

I saw this years ago with my sister. She probably shouldn’t have shown it to me as I was too young to be watching an “R” rated film, and all I mostly remember is being confused.

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Ichabod Crane was detective not a teacher?

What?

What?

The horseman didn’t follow the correct rules of not being allowed to cross over the bridge. That made me so mad as I had read the book!

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And there were these weird flashbacks of Ichabod; lots of witchcraft; and the worst performance of Christopher Walken…I don’t know it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Whattheheck

So whenever I do Horrorfest, I always plan out ahead of time the things I will review and then because of life when I actually do the reviews, half the things I choose end up not making it into Horrorfest, but are changed out with other films. This film, however, was not one of those. From the beginning of Horrorfest I had wanted to review it.

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You see I had decided it was time to do a Tim Burton film, and choose Sleepy Hollow. I then ended up adding Corpse Bride into the mix as that film I just happened to see. So with Corpse Bride filling that quota, did I need to review Sleepy Hollow?

suspicious Hmm

Well , yes. You see I decided this year I am going to go through my old posts and do films I mention in them, along with remakes and sequels. Tying the old to the new. As I reviewed Disney’s Sleepy Hollow during the original Horrorfest, I decided to bring it back.

Ghosts are bad, but the one that's cursed, Is the Headless Horseman; he's the worst!

Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed,
Is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst!

So now as an adult, older I decided to watch it. And what did I think?

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You as in the film

You as in the film

I thought it was horrible. First let’s look at Johnny Depp’s character Ichabod Crane. In New York he is “forward thinking” and “ahead of his time”.

as always

as always

Tim Burton really needs to move on from that theme it is boring to see it in every film he does. Anyway, Ichabod is a constable, police officer, but America didn’t have a police force until 1838, and New York didn’t have it until 1845. If the film takes place in 1779, he couldn’t be a police officer.

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Does Burton do any historical research?

Or do anything

Or do anything

So he’s all advanced that no one understands him.

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He gives a powerful speech, but is sent to Dutch area of Sleepy Hollow to solve their murders.

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Now when he gets there he turns into the wimpiest person ever. He faints at everything, everything turns him into a shudder; he is brave enough to go into the forbidden woods but too afraid of a Legend. You can’t have him a scaredy-cat and super brave at the same time. It just makes no sense.

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Then we have this whole storyline that witches are good, the church is bad. Ichabod’s mother was a witch, or excuse me “a child of earth and nature” killed by his father the minister. Katrina Van Tassel, is a witch and they go on and on that witches are good, pure, kind, etc.

Young Masbath: A strange sort of witch, with a kind and loving heart. How can you think [her guilty]?

But then the villain of the film is a Witch! You constantly go on about witches being good and misunderstood, and end with your crazy, vengeful, psychopath villain being the thing you are defending.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

And more importantly WHAT DOES WITCHES HAVE TO DO WITH THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN????!!!!

Ghosts are bad, but the one that's cursed, Is the Headless Horseman; he's the worst!

But it isn’t really the films fault per say. You know how everyone is obsessed with zombies? Well I know you thought the ’90s were only obsessed with dinosaurs and ninjas, but we also had a witches craze. There was The Witches, The Craft, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hocus Pocus, The Crucible, The Blair Witch Project, Practical Magic, Halloweentown, and even Scooby-Doo got in the act with Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.

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So it doesn’t surprise me. I just think it is stupid that they can “control” the horseman and provide better barriers than “holy ground” or THE BRIDGE HE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO CROSS!!!

Yes I am still angry about it.

Yes I am still angry about it.

And Christopher Walken…

I love this man but he was a horrible Headless Horseman. He WASN’T scary! Not at all. All he did was go rah, rah. BORING! Now the Disney one, that was SCARY!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This one:

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

I don’t recommend it. Visually it is beautiful but that isn’t enough for me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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For more on Sleepy Hollow, go to A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

For more witches, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

For more Tim Burton films, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Johnny Depp, go to Whatever You Do Don’t Fall Asleep: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

For more Christina Ricci, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more films based on books, go to I Came Upon a Shattered Glass Jar and Four Baby Turtles Crawling into a Strange Glowing Ooze: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)