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The Worst Witch - Special Halloween Expose On The Most Disturbing Movie Ever Made - Part I!
Matt - 10/23/00

Sorry about the lack of articles this weekend...I was marooned at my friend's house in Jersey for the past two days after encountering what is assuredly the worst alcohol-induced disease of all time, leaving me with absolutely no chance of making it through anything that even slightly resembled a car ride home without whatever was in my stomach shooting out every hole in my face like some misfit circus act. So I was stranded on a couch there, unable to even stand up without tempting a blackout. Obviously, being stuck on a couch with the net or any desire to eat licorice for 45 hours straight wasn't exactly the most exciting way to spend my weekend, so my friend offered up some videos for us to watch, including one he cited as being 'right up my alley'. Now usually, when someone pitches that line at me, I'll almost assuredly hate the movie. The last movies that were said to be 'right up my alley' were Star Trek V and The Haunting. Ugh. But he followed it up with an interesting tag - 'The movie stars Tim Curry and that teacher from The Facts of Life wearing a pirate outfit and a pink wig. Tim Curry has a music video. Oh yeah, someone turns into a pig, too.' Holy...shit.

I didn't even need to see the movie to know that it was the best thing ever put on film.

The Worst Witch.

We've reviewed Corey's Video Diary and Vanilla's Cool As Ice, but I'm 100% confident in telling you - this is three times as wonderfully bad as both of those combined. I have never thrown out the term 'oh. my. GOD.' so gratuitously as I did while watching this amazing display of an all-star 'B' cast and some of the worst special effects 1986 had to offer.

The Worst Witch is the story of Mildred Hubble, the worst student at a witchcraft school run by Mrs. Cackle. Mildred is played by a young Fairuza Balk (The Craft), and somehow supplies us with the only performance in the movie that won't make us feel really really ashamed. Mrs. Cackle, on the other hand, is played by Charlotte Rae. Yes, that Charlotte Rae. Mrs. Garrett Charlotte Rae. What's better - Charlotte plays double duty here, not only playing the school principal, but also her evil sister, Agatha - a 'bad' witch who has a Texas accent, dressed like a pirate, has pink hair, and manages to pound out at least one horrible song number in this short made-for-tv special.

Along the way, we also run into the Grand Wizard, played by Tim Curry in a role that seems to be at least somewhat inspired by his work in Rocky Horror as Dr. Frank N. Furter. Only this time, Tim's dressed up with a bat bowtie and a gay pride rainbow cape the size of a hang glider. Get the point? There's no way you can cheat yourself by not finding this movie. As if you needed any more reasons to pick it up and formulate a drinking game based on it -- Curry gets an excruiciatingly long music video thrown into the middle of the flick with every bad special effect from the 'star wipe' to the 'double-face' clumped together. The whole thing comes off worse than your friend's live-action rendition of Sweet Transvestite. It's fucking amazing.

Usually, I reserve the extra long screencap reviews for the really special stuff. This obviously is one of those times - I've never had a movie turn me into an instant fan just by hearing who was in it. By the time the opening credits stopped, I was completely convinced that sometime next year I'm flying back in time to 1986 to create this movie just so I can write about it now. If you were ever curious as to what's truly X-E material - this is our new holy grail. Now let's show you why...

Note: This article is going to be long. Long to the point where it seems like I screencapped every second of the movie. But, it's a rarity, and this will probably be your best chance to get close to the action only a flick that includes a 15 minute music video with cuts to pictures of frogs can bring.

We kick off the festivities at Mrs. Cackle's International House Of Witches, or something to that effect. It's a place where all witches-in-training go to learn the tricks of the to fly, how to hold cats, and how to make scary faces. (unfortunately, I'm not kidding) In the second pic we see young Mildred, the student who just can't seem to do anything right!

The vixen you see up above is Mrs. Hardbroom, who spends most of the movie making pouty faces and wearing a costume assuredly bought ten minutes before filming from the local grocery store's Halloween section. Hardbroom is particularly hard on our heroine Mildred. Her job at the school is to teach overall witchy behavior I guess. In the second picture you see Mildred & friend fuck up a spell and manage to turn into...a shitty special effect! If only the director would've told them to keep their heads straight during this shot, it might've worked...but half the time the girls decide to check out the floor, knocking half their faces invisible. But it's a good thing Mildred fucked up, because it leads us to our first meeting with GOD herself...

Mrs. Garrett! Well, Mrs. Cackle, but I don't think Charlotte Rae could do any role without everyone thinking of her as Tootie's massa. Mildred explains the situation and how she's a constant disgrace to the world of Wicca to Mrs. Cackle, but Cackle insists that she's entirely too old and wrinkled to really give a shit about what any of the students are doing. I just noticed that Mildred actually looks a lot like Jo from Facts of Life, just a little less inclined to date her classmates. Charlotte seems pretty subdued in this role - but when you see the other part she played in this flick, you'll understand why she had to conserve energy....

Holy fucking shit #1. It was at this point in the movie that I realized it was sent from above. Somehow, somebody convinced Charlotte that this role would boost her career. Not only does she get to play the sleepy witchy school principal, but she gets to play her evil sister: a pink-haired woman in a pirate costume with a Texas accent. I reiterate - that is Mrs. Garrett. Dressed like a pirate. With pink hair. And a Texas accent. She's the villain of our story, but she really doesn't do anything remotely bad. These evil witches just dance around in the forest, apparently plotting to do something to the good witches, but it's impossible to figure out what since their plans are hatched within cryptic messages of a later song and dance number.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the witches-in-training get an essential ingredient to complete their quests - cats! The production values of this flick really shine through in this scene, as every cat Mrs. Cackle tries to pass to a student gets its claws stuck on her shirt, leaving us with about seven ten-second spreads of poor Charlotte trying to look nonchalant while ripping cat claws off her outfit.

The girl you see receiving her standardized #2 black cat up above is Ethel - the evil student witch who really dislikes Mildred. Remember that for later, because it's crucial to the development of this thing's 'plot'! At this point I should also mention that the movie hasn't hit anywhere near the insanity level it will in a little if you're thinking to yourself that this doesn't seem too weird or fucked up...just you wait and see.

Luckily, you won't have to wait very long...back at the forest, Agatha (that's evil Charlotte) and her merry band of bad witches shout things at each other, presumably evil things no mortal should ever hear...

Now, I watched this movie while under the influence of a high fever and no sleep. It was hard enough to make sense of what these people looked like, much less what they were talking about. So I'm not sure of the chain of events that led up to Agatha's next method of action, but through Satan's will, she decided to incorporate a song and dance number from Hell.

I used to freak out whenever the cameras got a little too close to Charlotte's face on The Facts of Life, so you can imagine my pain when they literally went up her nose for this 'musical number', which basically consisted of Charlotte jumping up and down while screaming syllables at the top of her lungs. Now, this was a kids movie, so one could argue that the totally inappropriate song number was thrown in for them, since we all know that kids are music lovers to the extreme. But you can't tell me that making Mrs. Garrett scream at you with her face smushed against the camera is actually a 'song'. She looks like that girl from No Doubt after eating a ton of cake and battery acid.

Since she's a freak, Mildred gets the stupid bastardized grey and white cat, further proving that she's worthless as a witch. Now it's time for a little flying lesson. The girls all put on some of the worst costumes ever created - with staple marks visible throughout - and head off outside to find out exactly how to make that broom work. Now it's time to meet today's flying instructor....

The Amazing Spider-Woman! Yep, she's even got the webs on the back of her cape. Amazing Spider-Woman teaches the children that, in order to fly, all one really needs is a shitty special effects machine that will misproportionately superimpose them in mid-air. To prove her theory, she demonstrates by standing in front of a projector screen.

The kids try out Spider-Woman's theory - and it works great! They seemingly fly right through buildings without noticing, and sometimes seem about 50' tall in comparison to the background! Those tricky witches. Amazingly enough, even with all this debauchery, Mildred manages to fuck up and crash.

Neither her cat or Mrs. Cackle are too pleased with her about it, but Mildred lucks out: Mrs. Cackle might be upset, but nothing she says makes any sense anyway, so even if she's yelling at you, you just nod and smile as if she's talking about her favorite past summer vacation. And the cat? Well he can't even talk at all. Mildred escapes everyone's wrath this time.

Lunchtime for the little witches. Evil Ethel taunts poor Mildred, making fun of everything from her witching ability to her manly jaw. Mildred, a pacifist by nature, offers up nothing but a disgruntled stare. But Ethel's not completely satisfied just yet...she needs to do something so vile and just wrong, that Mildred will never, ever forget who owns her at that school. After some internal debating, Ethel hatches a plan...

Oh, you damn right. You daymn right. Ethel plays for keeps. She threw a hard-boiled egg into Mildred's water, deeming it completely undrinkable! She's trying to dehydrate poor Mildred! This is sort of like getting a fish wrapped in newspaper sent to your house, or something involving sneakers and cement. Mildred's not exactly sure of the egg/water symbolism, but she knows its bad news. If Ethel would waste perfectly good edible ovulation like that...there's really no telling what she's capable of.

Believe it or not, that's just the normal stuff that goes on in the movie. It's all downhill from here. If you were at all shocked by what you've seen so far - I don't reccomend reading part two of this. It'll seriously fuck you up.

This post will be continued in just a few prepare yourself. It's time for you to really ask yourself: Am I man enough? Can you handle a movie that includes a scene like the one pictured below? If the answer's yes, you've got some serious stuff down there. If the answer's no...well, you're pretty fucking smart.

You won't believe what that pic is actually a part of. The most disturbing scene, in any movie ever, PERIOD. Part II of this expose will be up shortly - prepare for the worst!

- Matt

PS - I'd also like to mention that I've got a fucking fever right now. So you better appreciate the fact that I'm resizing pictures of fucking Tim Curry instead of dying. Out of all the days for this article to fall on, it had to be the one where I'm too sick to even drink. God knows a few shots would make detailing this amazingly evil movie a whole lot easier. Stay tuned for...part two!