Years before J.K. Rowling stole her main character from John Buechler, Jill Murphy was busy crafting more material for Ms. Rowling to pilfer.
First published in 1979, Murphy’s children’s series The Worst Witch concerned the young Mildred Hubble and her misadventures at Miss Cackle’s Academy For Witches. Yep, that’s right. A British woman wrote a series of kids books about a witch school. In the 80’s.
In 1986, British television produced the first novel into this 7th night entry for our Halloween festival.
The Worst Witch stars a young Fairuza Balk, British Avenger and Bond Girl (and Bond Wife) Diana Rigg, and creepster extraordinaire Tim Curry.
It’s an odd piece of shot-on-video 80’s weirdness that actually gave me the the creeps in my youth, when I would catch it around Halloween on HBO.
That’s mostly thanks to Mr. Curry and his Halloween visit to the Academy, where he sails in on the biggest cape this side of a Spawn comic and sings the weirdest fucking Halloween song you can imagine, all to some of the greatest chroma key effects 1986 could muster.
If you’ve never seen The Worst Witch, or that sequence, I highly recommend its viewing. The impatient souls among you can visit it on YouTube. I have yet to master the art of hot linking from my phone, so simply copy the text: Anything Can Happen On Halloween – into a YouTube search.
Make no mistake, although it hasn’t showed up yet, “Anything Can Happen On Halloween” makes it’s appearance on the playlist a bit further down the road. I’ll post some gifs of that madness when the time comes, as currently my laptop is doing its best impression of HAL-9000.
Until then, celebrate the 7th with a little Halloween gold called The Worst Witch.