Something Wicked This Way Comes: Why Witches are the New Zombies
I can still clearly recall being hidden between two banisters on the stairs in my old house watching Dawn of the Dead with my parents secretly while they thought I was asleep. I remember feeling terror creeping over me, but not being able to yell out “what the shit is happening, I am scared” because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I watched most of the movie and went back upstairs into bed, silently, knowing I would hold a deep-seeded fear for zombies inside me for the rest of my life. Something about flat, human teeth ripping and tearing at my flesh just screwed me all up. I pulled the covers up over my ears and sat there in the darkness. That is when I heard her comforting voice.
Something about flat, human teeth ripping and tearing at my flesh just screwed me all up. I pulled the covers up over my ears and sat there in the darkness. That is when I heard her comforting voice. Zombies are not real, sweety. Followed by a giggle, almost childlike. I pulled the blanket down and there she was, curled up at the edge of my bed. Her long, matted, dirty black hair hanging in her reddened eyes. She clicked her teeth and rolled her tongue, her eyes darting around in her head. She crawled up my chest and began to pet me, breathing heavily in my ear. Hot, rancid breath. “You know I’d never hurt you, right?” She said, slipping her hands through my hair, and then the door opened and my Mom came in:
“You weren’t talking to her again, were you? We talked about this. Witches aren’t real and you need to let this go!”
She turned around and shut the door, sternly, and the moment it shut, Ruth appeared on my bed again, holding her mouth shut so as not to cackle too loudly. She began to speak in her raspy voice:
Wow, your Mom is a bitch, huh?”
You said it, not me, I retorted, and she went on to tell me about the time they burned her at the stake in front of her children. That night I slept like a baby.
From Zombies to Witches
Everyone knows for the last ten years, the zombie has taken over. From the massive fame of AMC’s The Walking Dead to movies like Warm Bodies and even making their way as DLC into a Rockstar game (Red Dead for life, son) zombies have truly saturated the market as of late, especially in the horror department. For a long time now, people have been speculating what would take over the monster spot. 80’s ers was big on slashers, 90’s went big with gore, but from the 00’s on it has been zombies, zombies f*cking everywhere.
Now, as a HUGE fan of zombies growing up (the above story in intro is true, btw), I loved this “zombie worship” for a long time. It was like my specific horror fetish was being fed, over and over. It was great. But right around the time Warm Bodies came out and Fear the Walking Dead hit, I was almost literally physically full on zombies. Not enough trying to redefine it, it was more like covers of covers of the same song, over and over.
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But this led to a pop culture question. What does this mean for zombies, and if zombies have hit their glass ceiling, what’s coming next? Well, every horror movie I have seen in the last 12 months has told me.
Witches, bitches. Witches.
The Witch and Blair Witch the Same Year
One of the best horror films of 2016 was The Witch. came out at start of year and very little that came after it stood out nearly as well-executed. Based on New England folklore (where I am writing this from, btw) realistic (to an extent) and filled with palpable tension, it was a horror movie experience quite unlike any other. It was a movie that very much seemed to have a pro-satanic message once the end was reached, and little did we know that would be but one movie about witches to drop in a year when MANY did.
Not long after the success of The Witch came the all but unannounced Blair Witch reboot (which was actually decent at flushing out the lore and being scarier than first film, which is rare). After that, saw a movie called “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” and I don’t wanna spoil anything but um, let’s just say it fits here, too. So the three horror films from 2016 that were most talked about were all about witches, see where I am heading?
They have already taken over.
The Craft Remake
Now the buzz is abound about the remake of the great 90’s witch flick (to beat all witch flicks) The Craft. Problem is, if they go for the tween market, this movie is gonna take steaming shit on the (badass) original. That or it could be the scoring goal that proves witches are the new zombies and they are here to stay. If the reboot kicks ass seems The Witch craze will be set in stone. And if not, well, about time someone makes vampires cool again anyway.
Actually, our witch obsession makes sense considering in our American history we burned 100’s (maybe 1000’s) of innocent women over time by (literally) branding them with such titles. Maybe these movies are our “white guilt” surfacing again. Who knows, but as long as they stay as creepy as The Witch and make Ruth come out on the end of my bed to say hi again, I am all about it.
She tends to spend all her time with younger children now. Not cool. I miss the way she smelled like moist earth and her always telling me to do awful things to the people next door.