As we get closer to Halloween, your resident goth here, Trystan, is kicking off Witchy Wednesdays, a series of spooky costume movies I’ve watched recently. Because sometimes the good old-fashioned kind of horror is better than the real shit we see in the news every damn day. Gimmie some fake blood and things that go bump in the night over dumb white men with easy access to assault weapons or a dumbass starting nuclear war via Twitter any time. Ehem.
My first frightening frock flick is The Witch (2015), set in the 1630s at the height of the New England witch hunts. You may be familiar with the context from The Crucible (Arthur Miller’s play or the 1996 film version) or even TV’s Salem (2014-2017), but this film takes a darker turn. Playing on the themes of religious extremism, paranoia, and mass hysteria, The Witch keeps you wondering until the very end exactly what happened to this family of settlers in an isolated colony.
I can’t say more about the plot in a review without giving something crucial away, so let’s just look at the costumes, which are much more historically accurate than similar things set in this time and place. With the film’s laser focus on one family, it’s easier to get the clothing right, of course. But the clothes are so very right, down to little details that made me squee, right when I was getting creeped out. So, yay!
Typical look for judgemental village elders.
View of the family’s back shows piping on the father’s jacket and tabbed skirting on his and the two children’s jackets.
More detailing on the father’s jacket, although he seems to have an aversion to wearing a hat.
Hand-done topstitching in evidence on Caleb’s little jacket.
More hand topstitching can be seen on Thomasina’s cloak.
The fit on all their clothes is amazing.
This is the kirtle worn underneath her jacket. It laces up the front, plus the straps lace to the bodice — perfectly reasonable for the period and for a young girl.
This is my favorite image! You can see the cap’s ties going around her head — 16th- and 17th-century caps had long ties that gathered a little bit at the nape of the neck and were tied up over the crown of the head to stay securely on. You rarely see this onscreen.
Again with the cap ties — here you can see how the ties sit in front of a ridge which is created by her braided hair under the cap. Period hair and caps FTW!
Yeah, there’s some blood. But note how her skirts have deep pleats in them because she’s a growing girl. Smart!
The little twins look to be dressed like miniature adults — as they should be.
Behind-the-scenes pic of mom shows an accurate pleated collar.
The witchy woman in the woods is all about the boobs. All the better to seduce little boys, I guess.
Behind-the-scenes, the witchy woman menaces the girl. Right there with ya, sister
Have you seen The Witch? Did it give you the chills?