The Wild Hunt offers reviews of TV and Films that either feature depictions of, or may be of interest to, Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Heathens, and other polytheists. Whether it’s the latest Netflix or Amazon Prime series, a summer blockbuster, indie film, or network offering, you’ll find it here!
A new independent fiction film exploring Witchcraft has hit the festival circuit. Anna Biller’s latest film The Love Witch is a colorful feast of pathological obsession, violence, narcissism, love and Witchcraft. Filmed in 35mm, the film contains a remarkable retro flair combined with a contemporary sensibility. Through the film, Biller explores both modern themes, such as the expression of female fantasy and non-traditional religious practice, along with age-old struggles involving gender politics and romantic love. In an interview, Biller told The Wild Hunt, “I can’t remember the exact moment I decided to make this film, but it initially came from getting interested in pulp novel covers and being struck by the images of witches on some of them.”
[Editor’s Note: This review does contain some spoilers.]
The Witch is an unsettling and cinematically-beautiful film that challenges its viewers through its themes and multilayered construction. But it is not at all what you might expect. Written and directed by Robert Eggers, The Witch is the latest film to capitalize on the public’s continued obsession with witch stories and, even more specifically, the Salem mythos. Subtitled “A New England Folk Tale,” the title alone sets a definitive tone for an American audience before a single ticket is purchased and the lights go down in the theater. The legendary connection between witches and New England is woven into the very fabric of the American story, captivating the imagination and intriguing the mind.
TWH – As we reported Friday, October is a popular time for interview Witches. The season also brings a flurry of Halloween-inspired television programming. From the holiday specials to the classic horror films, the entertainment industry capitalizes on our cultural love for all things related to the secular holiday. This phenomenon is nothing new. In the 1930s, Betty Boop appeared in a short called Hall’ween Party (1933).
Disney’s most iconic animated villain has returned to the big screen in a live-action fantasy that twists and soars as it fractures the original fairy tale upon which it’s based. At its simplest level Maleficent is an extended re-imagining of Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty (1959) with a focus on its well-known, dark-cloaked villain. However in presenting this alternative perspective, the live-action film dabbles in contemporary feminist, religious and ecological themes as it takes you through its fantasy world. The story begins with Maleficent as a young fairy living in the Moors, a world of enchantment and peace. She eventually meets Stephan, an orphan human boy from the greedy human world.
On Sunday WGN America debuted its first originally-scripted TV series: Salem. Crafted in the horror genre, the show follows in the footsteps of the popular American Horror Story: Coven. WGN uses the tag line: “The Witch Hunt Has Begun – In Salem, witches are real, but they are not what they seem.”
On opening night Variety reported that the show earned “1.5 million viewers” which is “seven times the network’s season-to-date average in the 10 p.m. timeslot.” WGN is capitalizing on the recent popularity of witches in order to launch its new original production offerings. In July the network will premiere its second series, Manhattan, and then in 2015, Ten Commandments. WGN’s Salem is the latest in a very long-line of television and film productions using the city as its setting.