Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
Starring: Anjelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson
Review by Eric Scot Lemons
Holy hell, this is such a good flick. Oh, you mean a movie directed by Nicolas Roeg with the help of Jim Henson based on a novel by Roald Dahl is good? You don’t say. But it really fucking is. I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a young child of 7 or 8 and it scared the crapola out of me then. It had always been a film I regarded as one for kids that probably shouldn’t be for kids. So, now my oldest is 7, so I fired it up for him, fully forgetting the monstrosity that Anjelica Huston becomes early in the second act as she confronts a large coven in a hotel convention hall. If you don’t remember, it is a Jim Henson creation that looks like a human condor in gaudy-fab makeup. It is startling because it is frightening enough to stand up to long takes, but human enough to be comical.
The film is set up perfectly for kids. While the first act is almost entirely exposition, it is fun and prepare you for the rest of the film. It sets in motion a mythology surrounding witches that makes the film a sort of guessing game; stating witches have purple eyes and no toes, left my children interrogating every person in the film for these hidden features. We are told growing up that strangers are possibly dangerous, but never fully understand why. This film is a super fun and interesting display of actual physical attributes to make one suspicious of their fellow humans. Now, I don’t know if creating monsters out of people is beneficial for children in the long run, but the film is fun.
My kids love spooky shit. They loved this. This is the type of horror that is much more difficult to classify cause it relies on real terror, instead of cheap camera tricks. You see the monsters throughout. You know the danger. Whether you succumb to it is up to you