I wish I knew more about the origins of this magnum opus. It is apparently based on a series of kids’ books and yes, it’s very similar to Harry Potter, but The Worst Witch books came out decades ago (HBO later resurrected the concept as a series to cash in on Pottermania). The story centers around Mildred Hubble, the eponymous witch who just can’t seem to do anything right. Hubble is played by Fairuza Balk, who also starred as Dorothy in the very creepy mid-’80s film Return to Oz.
I was fortunate enough to see The Worst Witch as a kid, so I’m capable of tapping into that childish appreciation in order to survive an annual viewing each Halloween. Still, it’s not easy. If time flies when you’re having fun, then The Worst Witch, which has a running time of 60 minutes, clocks in at about fifteen hours.
The film features a lot of terrible jokes, junior high school girl politics and awful blue screen effects, but these days I don’t pay much attention to any of that (as much for my sanity as anything else). No, I live for one thing: Tim Curry’s music video. It is, in the words of Matt from X-Entertainment, “The most disastrous ten minutes ever recorded, the most disastrous ten minutes…of all time.”
Curry plays “The Grand Wizard,” who all the young witches and even the witch-teachers swoon over. Even the suggestively-named Ms. Hardbroom can’t help but have a mock-orgasm just looking at a photo of the Grand Wizard.
The whole Grand Wizard thing always puzzled me. Did the Ku Klux Klan form some sort of alliance with the Witches’ Council? They seem unlikely bedfellows, but perhaps that’s what witches and clansmen are driven to these days. If that’s the case, we can expect a music video from Trent Lott anytime now.
Tim Curry is a fine comic actor, and even the best of us screw up once or twice (consider Raul Julia’s star turn as “Aram Fingal” in Overdrawn at the Memory Bank). I suspect Curry may have been zoned out on coke during the filming of his WW scenes. But none of this excuses Curry from participating in the most diabolical, destructive combination of visuals and sound ever etched on celluloid. Of course, through the magic of YouTube, you too can enjoy “Anything Can Happen On Halloween” (it’s only five minutes long, and you’ll be so busy trying to determine whether you’ve suddenly started tripping on acid the time will just fly by). Or, if you want Curry on your iPod, you can download the MP3.
For obvious reasons, The Worst Witch isn’t wasn’t the first film to be released on DVD. But eventually The Powers That Be caved to overwhelming public demand. If you would rather not spend actual money on the DVD, you can always enjoy Worst in mediated form via Caracappa’s extended—and hilarious—review.
Incidentally, one of my parents’ three pugs, Millie, is named after Mildred Hubble (my sister and I gave her the name, of course).
The Worst Witch. Melting minds for more than twenty years.