Cailee Spaeny in The Craft: Legacy

The cultural impact of the 1996 horror-thriller The Craft goes far beyond its status as a cool femme-goth paean to mid-1990s fashion and music. It even goes beyond its seemingly timeless camp appeal, which proliferates in memes all over social media, in part due to Fairuza Balk’s tour de force performance. The screenplay, co-written by director Andrew Fleming and Peter Filardi, with help from a Wiccan high priestess consultant, wraps up the story of witchlets-gone-bad by making it clear that using witchcraft for evil intentions will backfire spectacularly.

By contrast, the new premium-streaming release The Craft: Legacy had three witchcraft…


(originally published on the A24 Film blog!)

Robert Eggers’ is a witch’s witch movie

It’s steeped in history; Eggers spent years researching Puritanical New England of the 1600s, and stayed faithful to the period by skipping the over-the-top, lightning bolt special effects you see with most onscreen witches. (He really committed to the mood: His crew only shot in natural light, but only on overcast days.) …


Ratched is lurid, violent, sexually explicit, outrageous, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Ken Kesey’s novel or Milos Forman’s award-winning film adaptation.

The latest series from producer, writer, and director Ryan Murphy is as decadent and indulgent as his previous work. Indeed, no one seems able to say no to this guy, certainly not Netflix. Like many viewers, I enjoyed Hollywood, which was loosely based on the life of Scotty Bowers, a longtime pimp to the stars who was the subject of the fascinating 2018 documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood. On the one hand, Murphy’s efforts…


Easter is a day of seasonal splendor for me. Raised Catholic as many witches were, Easter has always held a special magic of memory, in that way children remember sensory impressions of seasonal rituals, rather than religious dogma: waking up to an Easter basket full of goodies prepared by my mom, putting on colorful outfits, planting flowers, and going to church where I heard and sang beautiful hymns I still remember to this day. Sometimes it was raining, or even snowing, but there would still be a nice dinner (usually baked ham) and a family gathering. …


This new series will offer ideas for movies and series that have stories or themes at least marginally related to the pandemic we’re all living through.

Scene from THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957)

Well, my friends, welcome to the new normal. Working from home, eating and drinking at home, heck, doing everything at home for the foreseeable future. For those of you going out into the world to work, please be safe, and thank you. For those of you who have all you need and are doing what you can to make sure others have what they need, thank you. We’ll get through this together.

If you’ve…


This BBC/Netflix production is an audacious rekindling of the undying appeal of literature’s most famous vampire.

The new BBC mini-series Dracula streaming on Netflix is a delectable, binge-worthy effort that updates the classic Gothic story in provocative ways. Told in three episodes that are slightly over an hour apiece, each installment boasts a different setting, and all three locations turn out to be rather mutable and Byzantine, which adds additional twists and turns to the suspense. …


My coven has a little framed bit of calligraphy hanging by the entrance door to our temple, hung there back in the 1970s I believe, that says “The Lyf so short, the Craft so long to lerne.” It’s Hippocrates by way of Chaucer, but of course it applies beautiful to witchcraft. I found myself thinking about this all week after this article came out wherein a journalist claims she spent a week learning witchcraft and then made a whole bunch of insulting claims and assumptions about it. …


If Castle Rock is intended to be a commentary on Trump’s not-so-great America, well, what better genre than horror to spread the angst?

When I first started this television column, “Watch Closely,” it was with a somewhat lighthearted notion that I’d be a bit of a dark-hearted fan girl at times; my first “boyfriend” was Charlie Manson! Indeed, my tastes tend towards the dark side of things, in television, in films, and in literature. I’ve been a fan of Stephen King for a very long time (the late 1970s! whew!). The first novel of his I read was his second…


This clever Japanese zombie film is a spirited attempt to blow up and reinvigorate the genre.

One Cut of the Dead

First, I recommend going in cold to this movie and knowing as little as possible. That said, I’ll do my best not to share any major plot spoilers here. This clever Japanese zombie film by Shin’ichirô Ueda is a spirited attempt to blow up and reinvigorate the genre. It’s also a frenetic, hilarious, and super-savvy exercise in exploring the possibilities for inventiveness and creativity in the world of low budget filmmaking.

The film opens in a way that makes it feel as if its…


Killing Eve is a smart, funny, and often shocking exploration of the complex psychologies of women leading dangerous lives, for whom killing comes much easier than it ought to.

Narratives about anti-heroes have become more pervasive as television’s storytelling landscape shifts and expands into paradoxical realms. An anti-hero is a protagonist whose motivations and actions are not necessarily praiseworthy. These characters may be immensely appealing, even charming: hence, sociopaths and narcissists make great anti-heroes.

The most notable recent example of anti-heroism is Walter White (Bryan Cranston) of Breaking Bad. This beleaguered chemistry teacher, after he is diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, decides the only way to provide for his family is to start cooking crystal meth. As his cancer recedes, his greed and ambitions expand. Walt’s normally passive…

Peg Aloi

The Media Witch is a multi-faceted writer, mainly a film/TV critic. She’s also a tree-hugging weirdo and badass bitch with a nice head o' hair.

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