Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something wicked this way comes - 10 films to watch alongside American Horror Story: Coven

By s. Wednesday, October 9, 2013 , ,
In case you forgotten, American Horror Story: Coven premieres tonight. Finally a show that really leaves you in agonizing pain of wanting more and wishing it was Wednesday just to see the new episode. Here is the list of movies that may keep you busy in the meantime. (inspired by this awesome list of 5 movies with witches by Jess)
Aurora is cursed by the evil witch Maleficent - who declares that before Aurora reaches her 16th birthday she will die by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning-wheel. To try to prevent this, the king places her into hiding, in the care of three good-natured - but not too bright - fairies.

It might be a good idea to start with something light and, ironically, still one of the darkest Disney movies. Why that one? Because it features the most powerful Disney villain in history - and a witch too - Maleficent, soon to be brought to life by Angelina Jolie in feature film. Elegant, powerful and evil sounds like something we might see on Coven this season.
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into an apartment in a building with a bad reputation. Strange things start to happen: a woman Rosemary meets in the laundry dies a mysterious death, Rosemary has strange dreams and hears strange noises and Guy becomes remote and distant. Then Rosemary falls pregnant and begins to suspect that her neighbours have special plans for her child.

Roman Polanski's classic horror film features witches who help Satan impregnate Rosemary. The idea of malevolent witches hiding in the apartment next door, pretending to be polite and caring neighbors is very spooky and disturbing even today. Plus any excuse to see this movie again is a good one.
Christine Brown is a loans officer at a bank. Worried that her boss will think less of her if she shows weakness, she refuses a time extension on a loan to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush. In retaliation, the old woman place a curse on her which, she subsequently learns, will result in her being taken to hell in a few days time.

Right on the campy side of the movie world, Sam Raimi's fun and gruesome movie features young woman who gets on a bad side of a certain gypsy who curses her with the uses of old magic. The film features great performance from Alison Lohman, who will hopefully return to acting one day.
Dennis Allan (Bill Pullman) is a scientist who visits Haiti on the strength of a rumour of a drug which renders the recipient totally paralyzed but conscious. The drug's effects often fool doctors, who declare the victims dead. Could this be the origin of the "zombie" legend?

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Hugely underrated flick featuring hoodoo aided by great atmosphere and a number of spooky scenes. It's creepy, disturbing and if you are a guy - watching this one may prove to be quite painful during one particularly unpleasant scene.
Constable Ichabod Crane of the New York police arrives in the small village of Sleepy Hollow in 1799 to solve a mystery of murders. With all the victims found with their heads missing, everybody in Sleepy Hollow is talking about the ghost of the "headless horseman". Crane, believing only in logic, refuses to believe the public's theory about the horseman and begins his investigations, only to find his faith shattered when he himself encounters the headless horseman. 

Sleepy Hallow remains my favorite Tim Burton movie. Gorgeously shot, wonderfully scored entertaining film that is both spooky and warm, creepy and funny. Christina Ricci, who was born to star in Burton's movie, is just lovely as a witch who helps Crane without him realizing that. Johnny Depp is delightful in this one - weird, innocent and cute. It's nice remembering he can act like that and not the minimum effort he brings to the films nowadays.
1955. Small time New York City gumshoe Harry Angel is hired through a law firm by a mysterious man named Louis Cyphre. The case is to locate a man by the name of Johnny Favorite, a popular singer before World War II. Johnny's associates are highly populated by those into mysticism and particularly voodoo, which takes Harry to New Orleans. As Harry continues his investigation, one by one, the people he interviews turn up dead. 

I always recommend Angel Heart - it's such a fantastic movie and not enough people has seen it. Made back in the day when De Niro used to star in good movies and Mickey Rourke was hot, the film is incredibly well made and has amazing atmosphere - mysterious, dense, dangerous and sexy. Another thing that makes the film so great is fantastic score by Trevor Jones & Courtney Pine - the music adds so much to this film. Few films captured the fascinating ambiance of New Orleans as well as this one did.
Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman) have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents' death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical--their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens' sorcery also carries a price--some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.

Another underappreciated little gem is Practical Magic - fun and romantic story of the witches in the Owens family. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock deliver lovely performances and look absolutely gorgeous in the movie, while Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest provide fun support as their eccentric aunts. Aidan Quinn plays a cop who is investigating the disappearance of Gillian's boyfriend and he falls in love with Sally. Quinn and Bullock have such sweet and passionate chemistry here but the most emotional and wonderful aspect of the movie is its depiction of female solidarity and the bond of sisterhood.
25-year old girl gets a job as a caretaker living in a plantation home in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana. She soon discovers the scary attic in the house, with all sorts of hoodoo recipes, spells, books, etc. She starts to investigate and question Violet, the owner of the house, about the secrets. But if she believes in what she discovers, it will all become real.

Skeleton Key is a fantastic movie and just like with Angel Heart - not enough people saw this one. It's one of my favorite horror movies - featuring strong and I think last good performance from Kate Hudson - the film has amazing atmosphere, creepiness, beautiful cinematography and fantastic score. It also features wonderful performance from always brilliant Gena Rowlands and terrific twist ending.

A young American dancer is trying to settle in at the ballet school, but hears strange noises and is troubled by bizarre occurrences. She eventually discovers that the school is merely a front for a much more sinister organization.

While making Coven, Ryan Murphy was inspired by Suspiria and you really cannot blame him. The film holds up to this day, though every once in a while I hear disturbing rumours about remake being planned. Suspiria is a masterpiece of the genre - the cinematography is something to witness and the creepy score is frequently praised and used to this day.

A small group of teen girls in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts caught in an innocent conjuring of love potions to catch young men are forced to tell lies that Satan had invaded them and forced them to participate in the rites and are then forced to name those involved. Thrown into the mix are greedy preachers and other major landowners trying to steal others' land and one young woman infatuated with a married man and determined to get rid of his innocent wife.

Based on famous play by Arthur Miller The Crucible focuses on Salem witch trials. Featuring great performances and a closer look at, if not the facts, the mob mentality of the crowd and unfair prosecution, the film is a perfect choice to see before enjoying Coven.

American Horror Story: Coven premiers tonight on F/X at 10. 



  1. The only film in that list I haven't seen is Suspiria which I'm going to add for my 2014 watchlist. I liked most of the films you picked with the exception of The Skeleton Key which I don't think was very good as I really dislike Kate Hudson.

    1. Oh, you've gotta see Suspiria. It's a great film, little lacking in the story department but the visuals are amazing.

  2. Great list! I love to randomly shout "I saw Goody Proctor with the devil!" at inappropriate times. I remember seeing The Skeleton Key in theaters, but I cannot for the life of me remember what happened. Maybe I need to revisit that one.

    1. Thank you! haha, that's a good one :)

      You definitely should, it's a great film!

  3. Pretty awesome list! Definitely there a few I haven't seen before (Crucible) and one I may never watch - The Serpent and the Rainbow. That's just a hell-no!

    1. Thank you! Serpent and the Rainbow is really creepy so I get it :)

  4. Cool list. I dig most of these, but I haven't even heard of The Serpent and the Rainbow. I'll have to check it out.

  5. Nice to see you included Rosemary's Baby, one of the best horror films I saw this year, such good performances, and the ending is so memorable.

    Which version of The Crucible is that? I heard several adaptations exist.

    1. Yeah, it's such a classic! Let's hope they won't remake this one.

      It's the one with Winona Ryder.