The wizardry of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and a superbly over-the-top performance by Angelica Huston gives The Witches a good deal of charm and enjoyment.
Pic opens in Norway where grandmother Helga (Mai Zetterling) is telling her nine-year-old grandson Luke (Jasen Fisher) about witches and their wicked ways. His parents die in a car crash, and Luke and grandmother travel to England for a holiday.
They go to a stark Cornish hotel. Also checking in is the annual ladies meeting of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; in actual fact a meeting of the British witches, due to be addressed by the Grand High Witch, Huston. Young Luke accidentally overhears the meeting where Huston announces her grand plan to feed poisoned chocolate to all British children, which will turn them into mice.
In a tight black dress and vampish haircut, Huston seems to enjoy herself as the evil chief witch, and the pic seems to be merely plodding along until she arrives on the scene.