Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Witches (1990)

The Witches: adapted by Allan Scott from the book by Roald Dahl; directed by Nicolas Roeg; starring Anjelica Huston (Grand High Witch), Mai Zetterling (Helga Eveshim), Jasen Fisher (Luke Eveshim), and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Stringer) (1990): Dark children's movie made from an even darker Roald Dahl novel. Orphaned Luke and his grandmother must battle the Grand High Witch and all the witches of Great Britain in order to save the children of Great Britain from a terrible fate. The Jim Henson studio puppetry and animatronics are terrific. 

Anjelica Huston is comically terrifying as the Grand High Witch, while Jasen Fisher makes for an appealing and heroic boy hero. The movie is gratifyingly horrifying, though a tacked-on ending that isn't in the book really needed at least a couple of lines of set-up: it's perilously close to a concluding title card that reads 'Poochie Died on the Way Back to His Home Planet." And yes -- that Nicolas Roeg! Recommended.

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