It’s mostly a coincidence that I’m posting this during Women’s History Month. I realize that March is a time to celebrate women’s achievements and not necessarily to reflect on negative mythologies perpetuated about them. But while it’s still relevant, I want to tell you what an awesome theatrical experience The Witch is — at least if you’re a seasoned fan of horror. I live for the next great horror movie and it’s rare that one comes along. So thank you Robert Eggers for delivering one of the most layered, sincere and enchanting films I’ve had the pleasure of watching. I’m a nerd when it comes to American folklore and one book I’ve treasured for some years is a collection of early American witch stories. On top of that, I’m a fan of Sylvia Townsend-Warner (a seriously under-celebrated writer) and have read some dense scholarly articles on the Salem Witch Trials. Having that background made The Witch even more impressive. From its florid dialogue to its nightmarish depiction of sixteenth century Puritanism, The Witch is frighteningly believable. And even if you’re not into period movies, there are plenty of thrills and lovely cinematography to keep you captivated.
I’m being a little severe by calling volume 1 of Scott Snyder’s graphic novel The Wytches “bad.” Mostly I did it for a catchy title. Sailor and her parents move to a new town in New England to escape a sinister event that has colored her life, only to find that they have placed themselves directly in the clutches of evil. I felt the characters were underdeveloped and the plot takes too many plunges without prepping readers first. Even though I knew I was reading a horror/sci-fi comic, I found it hard to buy into. The wytches are pretty cool though, and possibly inspired by Jeff Smith’s rat creatures from his Bone comics? And even if I wasn’t in love with the first volume, I’m still interested to see how the story develops from here. So if your a graphic novel reader, why not check it out from our library and prove me wrong?