Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Worst Witch

Before there was Harry Potter, there was Mildred Hubble -- a first year witch at a prestigious all girls institution. With her freckly best friend she battled the school's know-it-all (Ethel Hallow) to learn the fine art of witchcraft while messing up laughter potions, falling off brooms, and foiling school takeover plots.

Definitely not familiar at all.

The cast of "The Worst Witch" -- this amazing 1986 film -- was star-studded. It featured:

  • Fairuza Balk as Mildred Hubble, still popular for her work in "The Craft" and "The Waterboy."
  • Diana Rigg, former Avenger, as the strict Constance Hardbroom
  • Charlotte Rae, beloved as Mrs. Garrett on Facts of Life, as twins. She played both the headmistress and purple/pink haired villain.
  • Tim Curry as the Grand Wizard. OhyesTIMCURRYomg.
I'm not sure how old I was when I saw this movie, 9 or 10?, but I can tell you Tim Curry left a very favorable impression on my young self. Second only to "Clue" and then, you know, that whole Time Warp thing.

So last night I watched "The Worst Witch" again for the first time in years. Sadly, the "special" effects don't hold up and the feel-good theme song makes me want to throw up in my mouth. But near the end, there he was again, in all of his wizardly glory. Tim Curry and his song "Anything Can Happen on Halloween":

If you can't see the embedded video click here.

In retrospect I am not sure if the bigger star was Tim Curry or Tim Curry's cape.

Also in retrospect, I'm not sure why I loved this movie so much when it was about a non-straight A student triumphing over the A student, since I was one of those obnoxious Ethel-Hallow-A-types and the entire message of the film is that people like me always get their comeuppance. Probably by being turned into a pig.

Ah. Suspended disbelief plus magic powers plus Tim Curry equals happiness in a VHS tape.

Thank you, memory lane, for being full of such delicious weirdness.

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