They haunted our childhood with their nose warts and evil cackles, but as we aged, the fear of the most famous witches from TV and movies never left us. Sure, we realize now that the makeup and cobwebs were more set dressing than actual horror, but those psychological scars aren’t going anywhere.
Now a pair of champions – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – arrive in theaters, with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the fairy tale tykes all grown up. But one question remains: which witches will they be hunting?
With that in mind, we’ve named the fictional witches we most hope to see the siblings unleash bullet and bolt upon; as well as those we dearly hope haven’t made their hit list. See if your own tormenters can be found on our list of 10 Witches We’d Love (or Hate) To See Hansel & Gretel Fight.
“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.”
Last Seen In: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
While it’s true that the Wicked Witch of the West (or ‘Elphaba’ to her sympathizers) doesn’t pose the biggest physical threat to any would-be attackers, we can’t help but feel that she deserved more than just a bucket of water as retribution for her cruelty.
Sure, her sister may have been killed by a naive young girl who then stole the corpse’s shoes. And sure, she may have had the odds stacked against her with skin the color of a green bean. But when you threaten to kill a living scarecrow and a dog the size of a loaf of bread – the gloves come off.
“He knows how to play! Itty-bitty-baby Potter!”
Last Seen In: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Out of the entire world of Harry Potter‘s elaborately dressed (and named) wizards and witches, there’s only one woman we genuinely fear: Bellatrix Lestrange. The perfect blend of insanity, cruelty, power and cunning (with a dash of homicidal maniac thrown in for good measure), she’d as likely kill you as look at you, giggling uncontrollably while she did it.
Frankly, as the only witch who might actually fit right in with Hansel & Gretel’s twisted coven, Bellatrix would likely put up the best fight. But the siblings’ brand of justice seems to be the only thing that might actually wipe that smirk off her face.
“I have no interest in prisoners. Kill them all.”
Last Seen In: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Jadis, the last Queen of Charn, Chatelaine of Cair Parnavel, Queen of Narnia – in other words, one evil and frigid witch. Known colloquially as The White Witch, the central antagonist in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is an embodiment of corruption, ambition, and pride.
It’s one thing to destroy all life in your world, then turn it into a frozen wasteland and its creatures into stone on a whim; it takes a different level of perversion to display said victims on your castle lawn. It’s perversion deserving of a more bitter end than a lion dishes out, Neeson-voiced or not.
“…..[trees rustling]……[twig snap]………”
Last Seen In: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
We use the term “seen” loosely, since the audience is never actually granted a look at the mysterious ‘Blair Witch.’ Considering what we would have seen was a witch painstakingly crafting and hanging stick-men, spreading slime on backpacks, and shaking tents, we’re not exactly sorry.
Nevertheless, The Blair Witch Project was the first (and last) found-footage film to actually make us question if it was real or not. It’s not that we’re still scared of filming trees after sundown (we are), but a chance to watch Renner and Arterton fight, not flee, from what is obviously the witch-equivalent of a high school or Internet bully is much needed.
“I hate being a witch!! I just turned the most popular girl in school into A PINEAPPLE!”
Last Seen In: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996)
Before people jump to any conclusions and think we actually want to see Sabrina Spellman (get it?!) sliced and diced, let us explain. More than anything, we just really think her cat Salem would have some great quips about two fairy tale characters turned ruthless killers.
Given that the show itself was a light comedy, there was never any chance for Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) to make with the serious witchcraft. But if bullets and blades started flying, charms wouldn’t do the trick. We’d pay to see Sabrina, the Killer Witch any day….provided Salem was in it.
“Stop, stop, stop! You’re going to take someone’s eye out. Besides, you’re saying it wrong. It’s LeviOsa, not LeviosAR.”
Last Seen In: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
While nothing would be more compelling than seeing Hansel & Gretel break into Ron and Hermione’s home in pursuit of “the greatest witch of her generation,” we’d be heartbroken.
Not that Hermione couldn’t defend herself, but if the pair are as deadly as the trailers imply, we don’t like her odds. A quiz on the effects of Basilisk venom she’d do fine with, but inexperience with crossbows has to count against her.
And if we’re honest, Ron would likely be the first to go.
“I happen to think mine is the level head. And yours is the one things would roll off of.”
Last Seen In: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
To be clear, we’re talking about the sweet, innocent, plucky young Willow – not the ‘power-crazed and slightly evil’ Willow. Not that we blame her for her power trip, since we’re surprised it didn’t happen sooner. And as brilliant as the dialogue between she and her pursuers would be, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to watch her fight without her friends.
As the embodiment of everything positive that magic can bring, and how love can be more powerful than the strongest spells, seeing Willow killed would be tantamount to heresy. Unless Joss Whedon is directing, in which case she’s as good as dead.
“Try to control your temper. Remember, ‘Peace on earth, goodwill to men’ includes witches.”
Last Seen In: Bewitched (1964)
While technically justified, we couldn’t handle the assault on our nostalgia that would occur if Hansel & Gretel smashed into the home of Samantha and Darrin Stephens. Would it be fair punishment for using witchcraft to clean or get grocery shopping done in a blink? Not in the slightest.
The courageous Tabitha running through the house, frantically rubbing her nose in an effort to save her mother may be the stuff of great drama, but not what H&G:WH is going for. As we see it, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) is too much of a treasure to put in harm’s way. Endora, on the other hand….
“You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.”
Last Seen In: The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
They’re some of the most famous witches in the modern era, but the trio of unknowing conjurers seen in George Miller’s book adaptation would only drag down a witch-hunting adventure. The John Updike novel may be memorable, but not for its broom-flying or cackles.
We have to imagine that if Hansel & Gretel stumbled upon three women sculpting, teaching a music lesson, and hammering away on a typewriter, they’d just apologize and leave. Jack Nicholson might tip them off that something was amiss, but we’d rather they move on to bigger threats.
“If any man dared take on an Owens woman, he’d live briefly in the euphoria of her love… until meeting an untimely death.”
Last Seen In: Practical Magic (1998)
Despite coming from a family of witches, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) Owens aren’t what comes to mind when people think of ‘witches.’ In fact, they prove that people who believe old wives tales will just miss out on some fascinating realities.
Sure, they use magic when it comes in handy – and yes, Sally used it to bring the man of her dreams into existence. They even brought a dead boyfriend back to life – one who was corrupted by evil spirits and supernatural power along the way.
Wait…why are we defending them? On second thought, maybe Hansel & Gretel need to take a trip by the Owens’ place after all.
We won’t know until we see the movie for ourselves if these witches (or ones like them) are among the cast, but that wait is almost over.
Which of these witches do you wish to see dispatched or spared? Have we overlooked any particularly terrifying or heartwarming enchantresses that hold a special place in your own memory? Name them in the comments.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters releases today.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.