Top 10 90s Witches, Ranked
BY ROSIE MULLEY
JUL 02, 2020
Witches from 90s movies and TV were an intriguing variety. Some were traditional, others adapted to the current culture, and the rest were a medley of the two. The witches that stood out were remembered for their iconic style, magic prowess, affiliation with dark, light, or neutral magic and their indelibly wicked personalities.
The Nancy Dowds and Sanderson Sisters of that generation would influence later witches down the line and remain icons of the decade. A couple of the rankings will contain one or two more people as they were established or renowned as a single entity.
10 Aggie Cromwell – Halloweentown (1998)
Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) came from a long line of witches known across Halloweentown. During her oldest granddaughter Marnie’s 13th Halloween, she managed to gauge Marnie’s interest in witchcraft and Halloweentown.
Aggie was unknowingly followed back to Halloweentown and eventually realized it was wrong of her to dismiss her daughter’s wish for normalcy. The two reconciled and the family continued the Cromwell legacy. Aggie was remembered for her grandmotherly nature and her literal bag of tricks and relics.
9 Elzora – Eve’s Bayou (1997)
Caroll’s mystical nature and authoritative tone made her a force to be reckoned with. She enveloped the role and was one of the best aspects of the film, from her piercing eyes, haunting makeup, and spot-on readings. Carroll was initially skeptical about her character’s garb and felt that the wig and makeup would mean she wouldn’t be taken seriously. However, after being done up as Elzora, she realized the ensemble worked.
8 Blair Witch – The Blair Witch Project (1999)
According to The Blair Witch Project lore, the Blair Witch commanded Rustin Parr to kidnap several children and murder them in his home. In 1994, three college students traveled to the Burkittsville woods where Parr’s house was located. During their trip, peculiar coincidences occurred and remnants from the legends begin transpiring in front of their eyes.
While viewers never got a decent gander at the Blair Witch, it was the terrifying lore behind the character and creepy incidences in the film that stuck in audiences’ minds.
7 Sally & Gillian Owens – Practical Magic (1998)
In Practical Magic, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) were sisters who were affected by a long family curse that killed the men in the family’s love interests. They helped each other out, as Sally’s husband just died and she was raising two children, while Gilian was trapped in an abusive relationship.
Since childhood, Gillian was entranced by her magical powers while Sally was hesitant to use them. By the film’s climax, their sisterly love broke the curse and Sally realized she could use a little more magic in her life. Bullock and Kidman’s chemistry, along with their powerful sisterhood, sealed this duo’s fate as one of the most memorable 90s witches.
6 The Sanderson Sisters – Hocus Pocus (1993)
Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) were some of the most feared witches in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1693. Before they were hung, Winifred placed a curse where they could be resurrected during a full moon on Hallow’s eve if a virgin lit the Black Flame Candle. Centuries later, luck was on their side and the three witches were revived in the late 20th century.
Viewers fondly remember the Sanderson sisters for their devious nature but genuine curiosity about modern society. Midler, Najimy, and Parker’s charismatic and fun portrayals helped make Hocus Pocus an annual tradition to watch during the Halloween season.
5 Sabrina Spellman – Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1996 – 2003)
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) was a well-intentioned but clumsy 16-year-old when she found out she was a witch. Her aunts, Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Broderick), served as her guides and caregivers while Salem, (Nick Bakay) their “pet”, was transformed into a cat after trying to achieve world domination.
The series was a light-hearted romp that dealt with Sabrina learning magic but her spells usually biting her or others in the butt. In 2018, a dark adaptation titled The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was released by Netflix and it’s gone on to become one of the streaming service’s most popular series.
4 The Grand High Witch – The Witches (1990)
The film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name was controversial during its release. Dahl wasn’t impressed with the changes the film made, while some audiences felt it was too frightening for children. However, one decision Dahl approved of was Angelica Huston being cast as the Grand High Witch.
The Witches, being less grim than the book, kept the malevolent and sadistic characterization of Huston’s character. She was a miserable woman who loathed humans (especially children), wasn’t above murder, and was profoundly powerful.
3 The Halliwell Sisters – Charmed (1998 – 2006)
Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Prue (Shannon Doherty), and Piper (Holly Marie Combs) were sisters who found out they were witches after discovering their family’s Book of Shadows. The sisters varied in personality and magical prowess.
Phoebe was the youngest and had the power of premonition, Prue was the oldest and telekinetic, and Piper was the middle sister who could freeze objects and people in time. The series’ format had the sisters facing a villain of the week, but the main antagonist was The Source of All Evil. As the series progressed, their abilities evolved and their relationship grew. While viewers had their favorite sisters, they were recognized as one body that could protect the world from evil.
2 Nancy Downs – The Craft (1996)
In The Craft, Downs (Faizra Balk) was the leader of a coven that included her friends and the new girl Sarah. All were seen as outcasts at school, which Down owned to a T.
As their powers increased, Downs’s sanity and empathy were flushed down the toilet, whilst her abilities and apathy flourished. Audiences remembered Downs for her personified 90s goth girl appearance, her loose-cannon personality, and Balk’s mesmerizingly spooky performance.
1 Willow Rosenberg – Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)
Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) had one of the most tremendous character growths in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When she met Buffy, Rosenberg was a timid and unpopular computer whiz. As the series progressed, she became more assured of herself and started practicing magic.
While studying magic (contributed by life events) inadvertently led her down a dangerous road, she found herself again with the help of friends. Many viewers related to Willow, as she was initially the underdog of the series and accredited Hanngigan’s sympathetic and authentic performance to her appeal.