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In "Beautiful Creatures," Lena Duchannes traipses into the damp, small town of Gatlin, South Carolina with the sole intention of remaining a good witch. There are those in her lineage who want nothing more than for her to join the dark side upon turning the dreaded age of 16, but the gal's got eyes for a little human boy named Ethan and just wants to play nice, for crying out loud.
Most of her predecessors in cinematic spell-casting, however, were not quite so noble. In fact, a lot of them would just do some downright effed up stuff. Let's review some of the worst.
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Four high school goth girls (Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk and Rachel True) learn to exercise earth's darkest magic against the bullies who trash their social lives, and they dish out some pretty messed up orders. One induces a heart attack on her redneck stepfather, for instance, while another charms the local dreamboat (Skeet Ulrich) into falling madly in love with her. The bitchiest of all paybacks hits the prom queen (Christine Taylor), though, whose lovely head of hair starts falling out in random chunks. Gross. To be fair, she totally had it coming.
The poor Owens sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) get one hell of a tough break with their family inheritance. Not only are they raised by the quirkiest broads on the block - their indiscreet caster aunts - but they're forbidden to fall in love, lest their special someone find himself turning up toes.
If it'd followed the book to the letter, the most twisted moment of magic in "Half-Blood Prince" might've come along when Professor Dumbledore freezes Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) from being able to save him, but alas, it's Harry's use of the slicing spell Sectumsempra on Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) which stings most. Bloody fierce, that one!
Oh, Maleficent, you cruel, cruel witch. Angelina Jolie might be trying to give you a new face, but we know what you did. At the christening of little Princess Aurora, Maleficent dooms the girl to die at 16 after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel spindle, and while the good fairy Merryweather is able to take the curse down a notch, the beauty is still made to sleep until her Prince can arrive and kiss away those eye boogers.
The three Salem witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) in this modern Halloween classic can be accused of many, many ills upon the townsfolk, but none pisses everyone off more than their annual ritual of sucking the life force out of virginal children on All Hallow's Eve to stay young.
A widowed gypsy executes his own form of justice against a small town lawyer for running over his wife by cursing the man to lose pound upon pound of body weight until there's nothing left. That's some ice cold revenge.
So, technically David Bowie's eccentric spell-slinger is a Goblin King, but he definitely still has a way with making magic dance. All poor Sarah does is recite one little passage and poof, baby bro Toby disappears into the night.
Sometimes we just want to yell "stop what you're doing right now, you moron!" to this movie character or that, and the main kid in this 1987 shrieker was one of those cases. Reading random incantations might just open up an entry way to hell, dummy.
Merida's mum gets the raw end of the deal in Disney and Pixar's latest animated adventure when she eats a slice of magic cake delivered by her own daughter straight from a witch in the woods and turns into a friggin' bear. Teenagers are seriously the worst sometimes.
The housing market slump hits an all-new low when a loan officer on the rise denies an old woman a much-needed payment extension, and she responds by cursing the poor chick with three days of torture and a trip straight to the netherworld. Lopsided shot of comeuppance, that.
Three women share a bed with the devil until things get out of hand, and they can only get rid of him by setting up one brutal voodoo doll stabbing and burning ritual. Yow!
A birthday trip to the beach goes miserably wrong when a little orphan boy named Luke is turned into a squirmy mouse by the square-footed convention of witches down the hall. What's worse is that the meanies are posing as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Yeesh.
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The world started looking at those curbside fortune telling machines a little different after this flick came out. A little boy wishes to become a big boy, and voila! He wakes up a man (Tom Hanks) and has to learn to hack it in the dreaded real world. On the bright side, he also gets an early sneak peek at the perks of manhood.
Unrequited love never lasted quite so long as between Angelique (Eva Green) and Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp). The brokenhearted enchantress turns the poor chap into an
everlasting gobstopper vampire to suffer in eternal isolation. Way, way harsh.
Bewitching a woman into signing divorce papers and shipping herself off to Iceland is certainly one way of taking care of the ex-wife.
Whether the supposed Blair Witch in this mockumentary is even a thing in this story is questionable, but somehow the video explorers finds themselves hopelessly and irretrievably lost in the Burkittsville woods. The actual witchery is never spelled out, but our imaginations filled in the gaps. Somehow, teeth were involved, and that's enough for us.
The witch in the wardrobe is one cold mother. She keeps all of Narnia in a subzero state of winter and turns her enemies into stone - which is pretty much the very definition of hardened punishment. Medusa, scoot over. The White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is taking your mean seat.