The Grand High Witch

February 06, 2011


Roald Dahl’s the Grand High Witch is one of the most scary-as-shit characters in children’s literature, at least from a tot’s POV. Creatures whose sole onus in life is to kill children can be scary. But it’s their leader who can give a heart attack.

Scary book and it's not even by Stephen King.

While children’s imagination tends to run aflutter, Jim Henson proved to have the wilder one. Warner Bros. engaged his first-rate puppetry services to bring Dahl’s The Witches to cinemas in 1990, scaring Generation Y way before Jersey Shore did.

All glamour outside, all evil inside

It certainly helped that Anjelica Huston exuded her signature dark looks in the movie, foreshadowing her bewitching role a year later:

Now that, my friends, is no evil. Morticia Addams is just idiosyncratically morbid. Here's how to dress up like Morticia.

In the film as in the book, the Grand High Witch is evil queen of the first degree, able to brew designer potions for lesser hags and shoot lethal optical sparks. She virtually planned to instigate a genocide of children, which should have rolled out from England to the world. Yes, the movie teeters into full-blown horror territory.

For children’s books, Roald Dahl’s works are famous for being delightfully disturbing. Though the Grand High Witch has her comeuppance (horrors if she doesn’t!), the book ends not as happily as the film.

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