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Fear Street 1666 (& 9 Other Best Horror Movies About Witchcraft)

Witches are a popular image in the realms of horror media. Whether that's the classic green-skinned, broom-riding, cackling conjurer or the more mysterious and magical mavens of the night, witches have had audiences spellbound for centuries, and that notion has only evolved with the introduction of film and TV.

RELATED: 10 Best Movies That Reimagine Old Myths

The archetype has evolved far beyond the standard-issue wicked witch, but many horror flicks have reinvented the concept into something truly terrifying, some witches have even become iconic figures of the genre. But no matter what spells they cast or what dark forces, deities, or demons they invoke, they will almost always be good for a few screams.

10 Haxan

Just because it's a silent film, doesn't mean it's not absolutely terrifying. Haxan, also known as Witchcraft Through The Ages, a 1922 creepy clip show, centers around medieval interpretations of witches, demons, and the occult. It's half horror movie, half semi-documentary, and 100% nightmare fuel. Anything evil anyone can picture witches doing, it all happens here.

They make pacts with the devil, they sell love potions, they consult with demons and familiars, it's all there. The grainy, black-and-white film certainly helps sell the evil visuals, almost like what the viewers are watching they weren't meant to see.

9 Hocus Pocus

It's not a terrifying film, but it's a great way to get young horror buffs into the genre. Disney's twisted Halloween favorite might feature some over-the-top witchy leads, but behind the warts and flying vacuum cleaners, the Sanderson Sisters dabble in some seriously dark materials.

RELATED: 5 Times We Felt Bad For Mary (& 5 Times We Hated Her) in Hocus Pocus

Winifred uses a book bound in human flesh given to her by the devil himself, Sarah seduces her victims with song, and Mary can sniff out the blood of children like a hunting dog. They're not exactly the typical order from the wonderful world of Disney. They might be low on body count, but they're horror villains at the core.

8 Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

The controversial cult favorite, Halloween III: Season of the Witch sent Michael back to Shady Grove and replaced his night of knife-wielding antics with a more complex sci-fi plot involving masks, androids, evil corporations, and (of course) witchcraft. The original response was far from what the filmmakers wanted, but Halloween III did give viewers something different.

The plot itself is a bit overly complex for what turned into a successful slasher series, but it concerns an evil CEO of a toy company who casts an evil spell on his Halloween masks to remind consumers of the dark, pagan origins of the holiday. It's a bizarre watch, but a creepy cult classic nonetheless.

7 Suspiria

To say that witches aren't a popular subject when it comes to art-house horror films is a gross understatement. With that in mind, it was Dario Argento's Suspiria that lit the fuse on the creepy candle. The film might be an acquired taste for some due to its slow plot and sometimes confusing symbolism, but it definitely reinvented the witch.

RELATED: 5 Ways The Original Suspiria Movie Is The Best (& 5 Ways The Remake Is Better)

Set in a prestigious ballet academy, unnatural and unholy happenings are going on after a new ingenue replaces the lead dancer. What follows is a twisted spiral of murder, madness, and black magic all in the confines of a school hiding a deadly secret.

6 Hereditary

Though more of a cult-focused movie, Ari Aster's breakout film, Hereditarydefinitely had some witchy vibes once the truth about grandma Ellen comes to light. After her mother's death, Anne and her family soon become plagued by supernatural and emotionally disturbing forces that center around an evil entity.

The use of spiritualism, rituals and the occult is what drives home the witchcraft elements in this gut-wrenching film, a flavor that Aster would use later for Midsommar. It's a mix of themes that help the director's work stand out in the genre - and featured one of the most malevolent demonic possessions in movie history.

5 The Craft

The Craft is an iconic horror film for goth culture, namely for Fairuza Balk's iconic performance as Nancy. Some high school dramas involve characters getting superpowers or discovering a life-changing secret, but this movie has a group of high school outcasts unleashing dark forces when they adopt a penchant for witchcraft

RELATED: 20 Wild Details Behind The Making Of The Craft

This film is practically one of the poster children for witch-focused cinema, and its cult status certainly helps with its reputation. Outcasts dishing out sweet karma against their oppressors will always get viewers, but as the film shows, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

4 Gretel & Hansel

Easily the most underrated film on this list, Gretel and Hansel reimagines the typical Grimm fairytale witch in the cottage in the woods. It takes a lot of influence from the original story but goes the extra mile with its dark overtones.

Those expecting a gingerbread house and cute kids running through the woods will be very disappointed as this interpretation sees Gretel and her little brother trying to survive in a dark fantasy world with monsters, ghosts, and a very strange old crone with a peculiar appetite. The psychedelic imagery and visuals are also a bonus.

3 The Wicker Man

It's impossible to discuss the subject of witchcraft-focused films without bringing up the iconic Wicker Man. Before Nicholas Cage was screaming and spitting out CGI bees, this sinister slice from the '70s features Christopher Lee as the leader of an island of cultists who lure a determined detective to his doom with the help of some seriously scary black magic.

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It might be an older film and feature the iconic Lee as the villain, but it's not all corn rigs and barley. It's a slow burn with a creepy atmosphere that only escalates as the film carries on. Viewers will never view a maypole the same way again.

2 Fear Street: 1666

As the newest entry on this list, Fear Street: 1666 has a lot of competition to contend with in the witchcraft department. The third entry in Netflix's brilliant horror trilogy revolves around the curse of Sarah Fiers and the dark rituals that fuel the events of the previous two movies.

The sinister events that plague Shadyside all spawn from a devilish deal done during the founding of the town. The mix of demonic imagery and twisted runes and rites make the film's story and atmosphere saturated with pure horror movie brilliance. As entertaining as it is scary, it was the perfect way to cap off the series.

1 The Witch

Robert Eggers's debut film, The Witchnot only breathed new life into period horror films but brought to viewers perhaps the most terrifying example of a witch in the woods. Inspired by folktales and legends of early New England, the film doesn't shy away from the dark and twisted origins of witch-focused narratives, including pacts with the devil and human sacrifice.

It's been described as "watching something that should never be seen" which is pretty accurate for this colonial nightmare. As a puritan family is cast out of their village, they are forced to fend for themselves against the elements, and a fiend watching them from the forest. It's easily one of those movies viewers only need to watch once.

NEXT: The 10 Most Iconic Evil Witches From Movies, Ranked

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