Woman As Witch - By Illyse Singer
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Women lately. How could one not? The overturning of Roe V. Wade felt akin to the witch hunts of Salem over 250 years ago. How could we be back here? How have we not grown as a country? As a people. It’s not easy to be a woman right now. To feel her rights being stripped away from her. To have a governing body be able to dictate to her what is able to happen to her own private body. It almost feels like being trapped inside a horror film. As a female, as a film programmer, I could not be silent on this matter.
Women have been feared throughout all the ages; but not in the beginning. Females were worshipped. They celebrated nature, sexuality, creativity, and the cycles of life. Remnants of female deities got buried into the earth. The early religions disappeared. The switch to a patriarchal church was particularly devastating for us. Mary Magdalene, known as the whore, instead of the sacred beloved partner was erased from history and the bible. Women have been feared for their bodies, their sexuality, their creativity, their independence. We have been made to feel like demons, monsters, and witches. As people who are less then, who cannot possess their own power.
As someone who has always been fascinated by witches and the supernatural, I recently found out that the Salem witch trials weren’t about witchcraft at all. It was about keeping sovereign women in their places (true witches when you think about it.) Any woman that threatened a man was deemed a witch. Any woman who was to come in control of property or money was called a witch and burned at the stake. This was a tactic to take control, to strip women of their rights, to make them forever dependent. And don’t we see the evolution of this today in our current version of the patriarchy? The forceful push against releasing our binary gender structure. The disallowance of feminine energy to prevail in various forms. The same threat to traditional male power structure that has always been at war with the feminine. What would the world be like now if this hadn’t happened?
Looking at woman through the lens of witch or supernatural is an interesting one in film. This series is here to examine themes of women as the monster, demon, witch, but also just women in power who are in control of their own destiny. Women were powerful and dynamic in the pre-code films, then America got puritanical again and the idea of woman changed. We will look at the evolution of women in film through the role of supernatural and just being who we are, THE WITCH.
We’ll be starting with Rosemary’s Baby, Queen Of The Damned, Femme Fatale, Species, The Craft, Carnival Of Souls, Black Sunday, Jennifer’s Body, Alien 3, Cat People, Johnny Guitar, Bitter Moon, Lady Sings The Blues, Passion Of Joan Of Arc, Remember My Name, Women In The Dunes. Mostly all on 35mm with more titles being added.
We can’t wait to see you. Long live the Witch. #WomanAsWitch