Sometimes, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch, grabbing a soft blanket and some comfort food, and popping in a movie. We did this just the other night, in fact. So that got me to thinking about some of the movies that I have watched in the past that have featured “witches.” The more I thought about them, the more I came to understand just why Paganism and Wicca is so misunderstood by the general population.
Yes, Rosemary’s Baby is a classic. From Mia Farrow’s cute little bob (before the haircut) to Ruth Gordon’s over-the-top performance as the nosy next door neighbor. I recall watching this as a child and being terrified. (It probably is terrifying as a child.) As an adult, however, I shudder.
For those of you not familiar with the storyline, it’s about an upper-middle class couple who buy an apartment in Manhattan and immediately begin experiencing strange things. Guy, the husband, is a struggling actor looking for his big break while Rosemary, his doting wife, wants to be a mother. They make friends with the eccentric, but friendly, couple next door and things go downhill from there. Rosemary gets pregnant, but we later learn that Guy has actually sold her out to a coven of witches who, in turn, offer Rosemary to Satan in order to breed the antichrist.
Oh, where to start…This is another classic example of how Wicca and Satanism is unjustly combined. It’s also a good example of showing how little the world really understands about casting spells or hexes on other people. Guy has a hex placed on his rival so that his rival will become blind, thus opening up a great role for Guy. We would never really do this if we were smart because a good witch would know that it could come back on us times three.
I have really struggled with this movie and actually got on a message board about it where someone pointed out something that I had never considered-the “witches” never actually refer to themselves as witches. Rosemary calls them that, Rosemary’s friend calls them that, and a book that Rosemary’s friend lends her calls them that. The “witches”, however, never use the term themselves.
In doing some more history on the film, and most notably on the book that it was based on, I found out some other information. During the sixties and seventies, Wicca was rising in popularity possibly as a direct result of the women’s movement of the time. Wicca offered a female oriented viewpoint that a lot of other major religions lacked at the time and therefore it was quite attractive to those women (and men, of course) who were seeking a different pathway in religion that offered more power to women. Feminists, by and large, were barely tolerated in a lot of areas and it was a struggle that still continues today. “Rosemary’s Baby” was written during this time period so it’s possible that it’s not just a fun, creepy story but also a rant on feminism and women coming into more power.
Look at poor Rosemary, for instance. She tries to find something for herself and have her own life, and what does her husband do? He sells her body to the devil in order to advance his own career. Interesting stuff.
The Wicker Man
This is another very, very interesting movie. The plot is unique and honestly it uses some beliefs and practices in Paganism very well. The plot is that a detective (a wholesome, virginal detective) goes to a remote island to find a missing girl. What he finds is a place that still clings to the old ways and a community that actually drew him there so that they could sacrifice him in a wicker man in order to have a better crop.
Unfortunately, the movie is a product of its time in terms of style. The remake with Nicholas Cage wasn’t very good at all and I found myself rooting for the pagans, whereas in the original I had a lot more sympathy for the detective.
Still, I give the screenwriter credit for trying.
I pick on this film a lot, but I really find it fun if you don’t take it too seriously. I imagine that young women all over the world are attracted to this movie and its lure pertaining to power and magic. Wouldn’t we all like to do a glamour spell and immediately have our hair and eye color changed? No more bad hair days for us!
There are bits and pieces to this movie that try to stay accurate, but in typical Hollywood style they over-do everything and exaggerate a lot. Still, it’s entertainment and harmless.
The Mists of Avalon
So the movie version of this is a little different from the gorgeously written novel, and it’s not actually about Wicca but more along the lines of Goddess worship, but I find the conflict in this very true to life. Sometimes, we have to accept our fates and be true to ourselves, no matter how much heartache that brings to us. There is a lot of beauty in this story, although you’ll only get an inkling of it if you simply watch the film and avoid the novel.
This is wishing everyone pleasant movie-watching and lots of entertainment.
Your Warm And Caring “Resident Witch In Charge”