Friday, October 4, 2019

Reel Magic: Magical Movies and Shows

Reel Magic: Magical Movies and Shows

I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. Apart from reading, movie watching is probably my number one hobby. I love getting lost in stories, magical worlds, and the lives of others, both on a page and on the big screen. October is the perfect time to enjoy some movie watching, especially spooky, magical, and witchy themed movies. It is the spookiest month after all. So without further ado, here are my top choices for magical movies and TV shows to enjoy this October.

1. The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Ready to live deliciously? This movie is a masterpiece. Written and produced by Robert Eggers, this 2015 film follows a family in 1630s New England as they move out into the country after the father has a religious disagreement with the town. They move to the edge of a forest and strange things begin to happen. The shots are beautifully dark and the story thrilling. It's considered a horror flick, but I'd consider it more suspenseful. The ending shot is absolutely stunning and makes the whole movie worth it in my opinion.

2. The Halloween Tree

This is a Cartoon Network/Hanna-Barbera movie based on Ray Bradbury's book and always gets me ready for Halloween. I grew up watching this film every October and when it stopped airing, I started hunting it down on Amazon and YouTube. The film tells the story of a group of trick-or-treaters who learn about the origins of Halloween while they try to get their friend's soul back after it is spirited away for stealing a pumpkin from the pumpkin tree. Leonard Nimoy plays the role of Mr. Moundshroud, who guides the children on their journey. Ray Bradbury even narrates the film. For those of you with little witchlings, this is a great way to teach them about the best holiday ever.

3. Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton version)

Can someone make me all of Katrina Van Tassel's dresses? They are some of the best costume dresses ever, especially the one she wears at the end. Plus she's a witch, so what's not to love about her? Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow is a unique take on the Headless Horsemen folktale and includes science, witches, magic, and lots of extremely fake blood. Tim Burton always uses extremely red fake blood as symbolism in all his films and I love it. There are so many great actors and actresses in this movie and it is perfectly dark.

4. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix Series)

Get over the controversy witches because this show is riveting. I loved every minute of it. It's filled with magic, witches, snarky comments from Aunt Zelda, and just enough suspense to keep you on your toes. This remake of the TV show is based upon the comic and does the comic such justice. It even has a Christmas special you can watch in December so you can continue the witchy October celebrations on through December.

5. Stranger Things (Netflix Series)

This may seem a little odd on a list of magical movies and TV shows to watch, but hear me out. The Upsidedown is an excellent metaphor for the Otherworld. The Otherworld runs parallel to ours, just like the Upsidedown, and it's very possible there are places like the Upsidedown within the Otherworld. Stranger Things follows a group of kids, a police chief, and Winona Ryder (haha!) as they battle against creatures from the Upsidedown to save their small town. If you haven't seen it yet, be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster you're about to jump on. I guarantee you will get attached to all of the characters. I keep coming back to rewatch it and you will too.

6. Howl's Moving Castle

This animated film is my absolute favorite Miyazaki film, followed closely by Spirited Away (which also contains witches and magic and is also on this list!). Howl's Moving Castle is set in a time where both magic and modern technology exists together. It follows the story of a young woman named Sophie who is turned into an old woman after she scorns a witch. To break the curse, she must break the curse of a famous wizard, Howl, who gave his heart to a fire demon. It's such a beautifully animated film that everyone in the family can enjoy all year around.

7. Spirited Away

Another Miyazaki film, this coming of age story tells the tale of Chihiro who enters the world of spirits after her parents are turned into pigs. Full of magic, dragons, spirits, and witches, this is a great film to watch any time of the year and is perfect for the little witchlings. It too is stunningly animated and I love the representation of spirits and offerings in this film. Based on my experiences, it's pretty accurate.

8. Penny Dreadful

This TV series takes place in Victorian England and is supposedly based on Penny Dreadfuls. I'm here to tell you it isn't but is instead based on gothic novels written during the Victorian period, including Dracula, Frankenstein, and A Picture of Dorian Gray. Side note, the most famous penny dreadful, which were short stories you could purchase for a penny, is Sweeney Todd, who is not in this series, unfortunately. It's filled with suspense, magic, witches, and magical creatures. Eva Green is a force to be reckoned with in this series. Furthermore, this series contains one of my favorite scenes in cinematic history which you can find here. As a fellow scientist, Dr. Sweet spoke to my soul in this scene and I will never forget his line, "If only we would stop and look and wonder. Wonder..." I deeply connected to this entire series, and believe its a beautifully magical series. It's another emotional rollercoaster so be prepared. There is so much more I could say about this series, but you'll just have to watch it to understand my love for it.

9. The Addams Family (1991)

What isn't there to love about this film? It's not very magical, but it still has big witch vibes. I want a love like Morticia and Gomez Addams. Plus they've raised two, healthy, aware children. What isn't there to like about this odd family?! I haven't seen the animated film out now, but I'm sure its cute for kids.

10. Practical Magic

Yeah, I included it because how could I not? It's one of my favorite witchy movies and it deserves its place on this list. Need I say more?

Edit: I need to throw out the TV mini series by Cartoon Network, Over the Garden Wall. If you have not seen this wonderfully spooky animated series, you need to get on that. The music is absolutely beautiful and the animation is stunning. The story is thought provoking, cute, yet also very creepy. It'll totally get you ready for Halloween.

You may notice several famously witchy movies are not on the list such as Hocus Pocus, The Witches of Eastwick, The Witches, Halloween Town, Nightmare Before Christmas, and a slew of others. They are all amazing movies to watch during October; they just appear on every witch movie list imaginable. I wanted to offer some other movies and TV shows that are often overlooked to spice things up. Have a movie you love to watch that isn't on the list? Drop the name in the comments below!

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