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YMMV / The Witches (1966)

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Just how aware is Granny Rigg of everything that's going on? It's not sure if she knows exactly what Stephanie's plan for Linda is. It's left open whether or not she's in the dark completely or she knows but is powerless to stop it.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: There's an odd sequence in the middle of the film where Ms Mayfield is told she has to organise a historical pageant in the school yard - and Linda is reluctant to play Galileo. Although Ronnie and Linda have a semi-relevant argument during the pageant, the whole sequence is pointless.
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  • Fair for Its Day: The movie is remarkably feminist for a Hammer Horror production. Gwen Mayfield suffered a mental breakdown and it's not presented as a character flaw, but rather her attempts to overcome it are meant to be seen as commendable. She's also a smart and determined woman who will do what she can to save someone in trouble. The fact that she has no Distressed Damsel tendencies or any form of love interest is quite impressive. As for the villain - it's a woman who wants to take the body of a young girl. Not out of a desire to become young and beautiful again - but rather to expand her knowledge about the world.
  • Ham and Cheese: Kay Walsh is having quite a lot of fun once Stephanie is revealed as the villain.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Michele Dotrice - who plays Valerie - would roll with cult members in The Blood on Satan's Claw three years later.
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  • Les Yay: There's a bit of it between Stephanie and Ms Mayfield. Her First-Name Basis in their first scene and tender treatment of Ms Mayfield throughout the movie is particularly affectionate. The third act of the movie almost has Stephanie behaving as a partner would towards her. As noted on the main page, Stephanie is almost coded as a lesbian, with her lack of husband and masculine wardrobe.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Stephanie is about to cross it when she plans to murder a teenage girl so she can become young again.
  • Narm: The infamous orgy scene towards the end. Viewers are jolted by the Mood Whiplash - of a film that spends two acts as a suspenseful thriller and suddenly turns into a fountain of Narm.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Stephanie once she's revealed as the coven head acts a little silly but still manages to be quite chilling - through the sheer effort of the actor.
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    • Likewise the West Country accents on most of the casts. They're silly yet still manage to be effective. Valerie is still quite intimidating.
  • Never Live It Down: The infamous pagan interpretive dance is what the film is mostly remembered for. If it's mentioned, expect this scene to be brought up.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The opening sequence of the African witch doctors running Gwen out of her house is startlingly effective.
    • Gwen waking up in the middle of the night to find a totem by her bed. She screams for Stephanie and then faints when she opens the door to another totem. Cut to over a year later when she's been in a nursing home.
  • So Okay, It's Average: As far as 60s horror films go, it's neither terrible nor a masterpiece but perfectly fine. There are some good performances from Joan Fontaine and Kay Walsh and a good atmosphere, but some plot points bring it down to average.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The film goes off the rails in its third act for some, ruining the great atmosphere it had spent time working on.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Given that it's outright said that Granny Rigg made Ronnie Dowsett ill and it's implied she had a part in his father being drowned, it's shocking that she gets no comeuppance for her actions. We're meant to sympathise with her granddaughter being sacrificed but viewers expecting Granny Rigg to get some kind of Laser-Guided Karma will be disappointed.
  • Values Resonance: The film shows a woman suffering a mental breakdown and managing to overcome it and earn her happy ending. Likewise she does everything herself without help from a man. Nor does she have a love interest (though Alan could be an Implied Love Interest).

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