Jessica Harper in Dario Argento’s 1977 film, Suspiria. The remake is being released in theaters this month. Go see it! (If horror doesn’t make you queasy.)
Internet Deep Dive is a series of blog posts dedicated to my obsessions. I dig through longreads and YouTube and podcasts and post the links to my top three favorite pieces or interviews here on my blog. Here’s a link to my last Deep Dive, which is about Frank Ocean.
Happy Halloween! In honor of this glorious holiday, the theme for today’s Deep Dive is witches.
In case you haven’t noticed, witches have made a resurgence in pop culture over the last few years. From books and movies to tarot cards and group texts with “coven” in the name, witches and the style and imagery traditionally associated with them have come to be emblematic of both the #MeToo era and today’s feminist movement. There are lots of practicing wicca out there (I would be curious to know what they think of the way witches are being portrayed and undeniably monetized), but some people just love the symbolism behind being a witch in the age of #MeToo, when it seems like so few men can be trusted and it would be SO CONVENIENT to be able to put curses on the ones who have violated your bodily autonomy. There are also undeniable similarities between the way women are treated today (see: Christine Blasey Ford) and the way women accused of witchcraft were treated hundreds of years ago (see: Janet Horne and everyone before her).
With all of this in mind, here are a few articles about witches and witchcraft in the modern context:
- ‘Suspiria’ Then and Now: Finding Darkness in an All-Female World” by Julie Bloom
Without giving too much away, Suspiria (both the 1977 original and the 2018 remake) are stories with female power at their center. I wouldn’t recommend reading this unless you’ve seen one of these films, but if gore isn’t your thing and you don’t plan on seeing them, read away! Bloom interviewed the filmmakers and actors about why they were inspired to tell these stories–because the films are definitely two different stories despite their shared themes–and how the original version managed to “flip the traditional dynamic of violence in horror movies on its head” by having women as both victim and perpetrator of dark magic and intense violence.
- “Lorde is the celebrity avatar of pop culture’s witch obsession” by Constance Grady
Can’t talk about witches without talking about one of my favorite musicians. Lorde is a study in contrasts: her music is minimalist but powerful, and her looks are often monochromatic but still stand out against a sea of neon, over-processed pop stars. This article goes into the way Lorde’s rise to fame happened to coincide with the resurgence of the nineties witch aesthetic, but it also talks about the glorious idea of weaponized femininity and how that plays in to what we look for in the prominent ladies of music.
- “Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?” by “The lack of powerful black witches in film and TV is a symptom of a larger problem that has existed in America since its very beginning: the fear of black women’s autonomy and prowess,” writes Basti