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New Life for a Horror/Comedy Classic

The Witches: Everything You Need to Know

The Witches: Everything You Need to Know


In 1990, several unexpected creators joined forces to create one of the strangest and funniest family movies of the decade: THE WITCHES. The movie followed a boy who discovers a convention of child-hating witches in a seaside town. Despite being affected by part of the witches' plan, the boy vows to stop their plot.

The original movie was the product of a collaboration between Muppet mastermind Jim Henson and Australian director Nicolas Roeg, who made movies like the very creepy horror film DON'T LOOK NOW and the David Bowie "alien visitor" movie THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. Angelica Huston starred in the adaptation of a book by Roald Dahl ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "James and the Giant Peach").

Now THE WITCHES is being remade by director Robert Zemeckis (BACK TO THE FUTURE, FORREST GUMP) with Anne Hathaway starring in Huston's role as the Grand High Witch. Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro are producing. Here's everything we know about THE WITCHES.

The Witches Release Date

THE WITCHES was originally set for release in October 2020, but the film was delayed to 2021, with a final release date not yet set.

Is There a Trailer for The Witches?

While THE WITCHES is close to completion, there is not yet a trailer for the movie. There are a few fan-made trailers for the new version of THE WITCHES on YouTube, but they feature no actual footage from the remake. That said, if you don't know the original 1990 movie by Nicolas Roeg, that trailer is very much worth a look — we've embedded it just above.

What's the Story in The Witches?

Anne Hathaway stars in The Witches

Here's how Warner Bros. describes the movie: "THE WITCHES tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. The boy and his grandmother come across some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, so Grandma wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans."

Author Roald Dahl criticized the original 1990 movie for changing the ending of his novel — the movie featured a more optimistic ending than the fairly grim conclusion of the novel. The new movie by Robert Zemeckis is said to be a much more faithful adaptation of Dahl's book, but still, several big changes are being made.

The most notable difference in the new version of THE WITCHES is that it takes place in 1960s Alabama, rather than in Norway and England. Jahzir Kadeem Bruno stars as the unnamed boy who stars as the main character, and who is staying with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) when he discovers a convention of witches led by Anne Hathaway's character. These witches are more like child-eating demons, and they wear gloves and wigs to hide their long, clawed fingers and bald heads.

The witches plan to do away with children by turning them into mice, and the boy falls victim to this plan. That does not stop him from trying to thwart the witches' plan, however.

The Cast of The Witches

Stanley Tucci co-stars in The Witches

[Image Credit: Screen Gems]

In addition to Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, and Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, THE WITCHES features the great Stanley Tucci as Mr. Stringer and Chris Rock in an as-yet unrevealed role. Since the boy is an orphan, it's possible that Rock plays his father in flashbacks. And Codie-Lei Eastick plays Bruno, another child who the boy meets during his battle against the witches.

The Witches Filmmakers

Producer Guillermo del Toro once planned to direct THE WITCHES, but he stepped back to focus on other projects. He did write an early version of the script, which was knocked into final shape by director Robert Zemeckis and writer Kenya Barris ("Black-ish"). Alan Silvestri, who has composed music for many films by Zemeckis, is writing the score to THE WITCHES.

We're excited to learn about the other technical collaborators on the movie. The original 1990 movie had amazing puppets and other visual effects and we expect the remake to be just as visually spectacular.

Check out a list of our favorite horror remakes!

All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, unless otherwise noted.

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