Double, double, toil and trouble, witchcraft’s back and pop culture bubbles: The season of the witch has descended upon television and film, reflecting an era of renewed female empowerment.
The big screen is playing host to director Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, goes nationwide Nov. 2), a new take on Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic about the coven at the heart of a world-renowned dance company, and the push-and-pull between young star Susie (Dakota Johnson) and the troupe’s enigmatic director Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton).
“Though the influence of women in numbers is undeniable, the capacity and energy of one singular woman, should she choose to ignite it, is equally as powerful,” Johnson says.
CW’s “Charmed” (Sundays, 9 ET/PT) is another revival, a modern TV take on the 1998-2006 show about three enchanting witch sisters saving the world from supernatural bad guys, while Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (premieres Friday) is a horror-tinged coming-of-age tale starring Kiernan Shipka (“Mad Men”) that’s way darker than old episodes of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
Add in the return of Supreme Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and her kind in the current “Apocalypse” season of FX’s “American Horror Story,” plus “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris developing a “Bewitched” reboot, and we’re all bound to be under their collective spell soon enough.
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“It’s a way to tell a female empowerment story about women who historically have been disempowered and killed for their power,” says Amy Rardin, creator and executive producer on the new “Charmed” alongside writing partner Jessica O’Toole.
“Witches aren’t villains anymore,” O’Toole adds. “A female superhero seems more what a witch is now. A lot of what you’re seeing of the pop culture witches out there is following that model.”
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