For many people, particularly in the UK, 1990’s The Witches represents their first childhood encounter with the horrific – and probably stays with them to this day. Roald Dahl’s children’s tales were always shot through with a bolt of the macabre, and his ‘untouchable national treasure’ status meant that parents would never dream of denying children access to his work, no matter how many of his characters met grisly ends. It’s with some trepidation then, that we learned this week of the plan to remake the 1990 adaptation, although the team behind the project has us intrigued.
The film will reportedly be helmed by Robert Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Back to The Future and Forrest Gump, providing his final negotiations with Warner Brothers prove successful. On board to produce are Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo Del Toro – a veritable supergroup of Oscar-winning directors. At one point, Del Toro was on board to direct, but this should surprise no-one, as of course at one point Del Toro has been on board to direct everything.
It’s difficult to imagine a version of The Witches without Anjelica Huston as their malevolent leader. Her performance was a feast of the very finest ham, enough to put Vincent Price himself to shame.
Zemeckis’ take is promised to be truer to the 1973 book. There is currently no release date, although with Zemeckis’ next film, Welcome to Marwen, due out in November, we wouldn’t expect it any time soon.
Watch the original trailer for The Witches (1990):