From wart-nosed dog thieves to gorgeous beauty thieves to childhood essence thieves, there's been an impressive array of cinematic witches over the past 100-ish years. Some are legitimately terrifying and can leave nightmares for years to come, while others show up on ABC Family marathons. (I think you know who I'm talking about.)
So, to officially separate the real deal from the posers, here are the 15 most terrifying witches in movie history, ranked in order of "AHHHHHHHH!"
17-15. Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer from "The Witches of Eastwick"
Jack Nicholson was actually the scary part of the movie, but they're witches, so they count.
14. Queen Grimhilde from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"
Maybe not the most outwardly terrifying being a cartoon and all, but still -- you never looked at an apple in quite the same way after you first saw "Snow White."
13. Mary Sanderson from "Hocus Pocus"
Mary is definitely the comic relief of the Sanderson sisters, but that doesn't really take away from the fact that, as a child, you knew she 100 percent wanted to eat you.
12. Sarah Sanderson from "Hocus Pocus"
Ditto for Sarah, though her love of torture and creepy singing voice gives her just a slight edge over her older sister.
11. The Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz"
The OG witch might lose a bit of her fright-factor with age (the film's, and ours), but it's still impossible to forget the way she made you feel when she first went after Toto.
10. Asa Vajda from "Black Sunday"
She drinks blood, worships Satan, and can reanimate her own corpse. This is all pretty terrifying for a black-and-white flick from the '60s.
9. Mombi from "Return to Oz"
She decapitates innocent girls for a living and keeps their heads -- thirty of them, to be exact -- in a beauty parlor of sorts so she can switch up her look at the drop of a hat. Or head. That's pretty damn scary.
8. The White Witch from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
Call it the Tilda Swinton Effect, but she's terrifying.
7. Winnie Sanderson from "Hocus Pocus"
Rest in peace, Thackery Binx.
6. Mater Suspiriorum/Helena Markos from "Suspiria"
Props for making ballet school even scarier than it was in "Center Stage." Above you see a dead ballerina possessed (by Mater) to kill our heroine, and below, an actual glimpse at Mater, who is only seen in the film's gruesome finale:
5. Nancy from "The Craft"
Nancy is a trailer park sociopath who becomes mad with power and kills a bunch of whales and Skeet Ulrich. No thank you.
4. Bellatrix Lestrange from "Harry Potter"
Bellatrix kills Dobby. And Tonks. And Sirius Black. Again -- seriously, no thank you.
3. Minnie Castevet from "Rosemary's Baby"
No one wants a neighbor who drugs them and makes them get raped by the Dark Prince. Literally, no one.
2. The Blair Witch from... well, you know.
The fact that we don't even know what she looks like to this day makes her even more terrifying than she was in 1999. Ages like a fine wine, that Blair Witch.
1. The "Grand High Witch" from "The Witches"
No contest, here -- leave it to Anjelica Huston and Roald Dahl to create the most terrifying witch in movie history. She kills babies, turns innocent children into mice, and transforms from this:
Thanks for the nightmares.