Wicked Witches (2019) releases in select theaters and direct to video on August 9th.
It’s always a gamble watching horror movies about witches or witchcraft. Because so much is filmed through a Christian lens, any religious belief or practice is bound to come out warped; but witchcraft is especially targeted. Beginning with King James who threw out older conventions of white and black magic and introduced the concept of all magic stemming from alliance with the devil, drawing on the infamous Malleus Maleficarum and influencing a translation of the Bible that reinforced his own beliefs. According to scholars, the translations of ancient Hebrew texts into English were suspect from the start: Writing for Haaretz, Elizabeth Sloane examines this dubious translation, stating that “Thousands of years down the line, without a Rosetta stone of ancient evils and a definitive translation of mekashaph, we cannot know if the authors of Exodus meant poisoners, herbalists, or people who used magic for evil.” Yet, Exodus 22:18 (KJV) is the most frequently quoted justification for attacks and hatred toward witchcraft despite the lack of solid justification in the translation.
So, as a witch myself, I keep an open mind and join along for the ride. It’s a movie that takes strong inspiration from 1970s horror, as seen in the camera work, the framing, lighting, color, set choices, etc. This really gives the film an edge.
If you’re craving more reviews, see my master list here.
Sloane, Elizabeth. “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live: A Murderous Mistranslation?” Haaretz. 17 August 2017.
The Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger. Trans. Rev. Montague Summers. Ed. Wicasta Lovelace and Christie Jury. 2018.
Winscher, Stephanie. “King James and the Era of the Witch Trials.” The Ashford Humanities Review. 5 September 2016.
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