The Wicked Witch of The West is the witch who started it all. She defined the term and got the ball rolling. But a lot has changed since 1939. Witches nowadays come in all shapes and sizes. They’re not confined to a certain genre, and are not exclusively evil. They don’t always wear pointy hats and travel in broomsticks. But we can all agree that they’re still pretty terrifying. Even Harry Potter‘s Hermione Granger, who used her power to defeat evil, is one we’d never want to mess with. Witches are powerful, and even more intimidating when they come in packs.
10. Gillian Holroyd
In Bell, Book and Candle, the beautiful Kim Novak plays a modern witch bored with her sophisticated life. She makes men fall for her (which isn’t hard when you look like Novak), but it’s a one way street. If she falls in love, her powers banish. This 1958 rom-com has great performances, including two by James Stewart and Jack Lemmon. But it’s Novak who fascinates with her bewitching portrayal and mesmerizing eyes.
9. Queen Ravenna
The newest addition to this list is Queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman. Say what you will about the movie, but Theron’s performance is absolutely phenomenal. She steals the movie with her bird-eating vile witch who values her beauty above anything else. She sends her goons after the innocent Snow White, burning down a villages to get to her. She’s a woman obsessed. Though Queen Ravenna’s heart is as black as ebony, Theron made her more human and rounded. She offered something new to this ancient character, and put her stamp on one of the most popular witches of all time.
8. The White Witch
This fur-dressed ice queen is so cold that even her crown is made of icicles. Not only does she kill magical lions, but she can turn humans into stone if she feels like it. She kept the land of Narnia in an eternal winter, and her reign was gruesome. Tilda Swinton’s icy witch sort of reminds us of Queen Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. Thank heavens the latter lady doesn’t have any magical powers.
7. Winifred Sanderson
The Sanderson sisters are a dimwitted and goofy bunch, sure. But it would be a sin to leave off Bette Midler‘s soul-sucking Winnie. In Disney’s cult hit Hocus Pocus, three Salem sisters are resurrected on Halloween night after 300 years. Their mission is simple: gather as many children as possible and suck the living souls out of them. But two teenagers, a young Thora Birch and a black cat with no sense of humor, stand in their way. Winnie, along with her two sisters, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, roam modern-day Salem, bewitching adults with musical performances and terrorizing kids with their wicked ways.
6. Princess Asa Vajda
Mario Bava‘s shocking goth horror Black Sunday stars scream queen Barbara Steele as an ancient witch put to death. She comes back 200 years later to get her revenge. The cool thing about Steele’s beautiful Asa Vajda is that she’s not only a witch, but also a vampire. She can kill and give live. Black Sunday was a sensation when it was first released in 1960. It was blunt in its depiction of sex, violence and religion. And Steele’s role was a defining one for her career (it’s the movie that started it).
5. The Witches Of Eastwick
The Witches of Eastwick are so powerful and badass that they defeat the devil himself. It’s like desperate housewives, but with magic. In this 1987 comic-horror movie, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer use their voluminous hair and witchcraft to banish serial seducer Daryl Van Horne, played by Jack Nicholson. All three actresses give memorable, comedic performances. And let’s be honest, Nicholson never really stood a chance against all that hair.
4. Grand High Witch
The Witches is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel about a wicked coven of witches and the little boy that falls into their evil plan. Anjelica Houston portrays the Grand High Witch, and she’s absolutely terrifying. Once that face of hers comes off, she’s more creepy looking than one of those possessed people in Night of the Demons. How kids were able to survive this movie is beyond us.
3. Sarah Bailey/Nancy Downs
In The Craft, a.k.a. every teenage girl’s favorite girl night movie, newcomer Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) arrives at a catholic prep school and falls in with a trio of outcast girls who practice witchcraft. The group is lead by white-trash goth Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), who uses her powers to torment Sarah and other kids at school. Nancy, on the other hand, is a natural witch who tries to put an end to Nancy’s evil ways. These teen witches are on opposite sides of the spectrum, but equally terrifying. There’s nothing scarier than a teen girl with magical powers, wouldn’t you say?
2. Hermione Granger
They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman. In the case of wizard boy Harry Potter, that woman is Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson. Without her, he wouldn’t have made it past that troll in The Sorcerer’s Stone. Unlike most witches on this list, Hermione used her powers for good… but even so, she’s not someone you’d ever want to cross. She’s as smart as a whip and as fearless as a lion. And definitly the most popular witch of our time.
1. The Wicked Witch of the West
The most powerful and popular witch in history is the Wicked Witch of the West. Period. No contest. Like we mentioned before, she’s what started it all. Sure, witches don’t actually look like her anymore. (They’re a lot sexier and well-versed). Their skin is not green and their laughs are not maniacal and high-pitched – but the image still stands. Margaret Hamilton‘s performance in the forever classic The Wizard of Oz is going to be a hard act to follow.
Who’s you favorite movie witch?