They worked their magic!
Jim Henson presents a horror story for children. It is a sinister fairy tale and the perfect gateway to scary movies. It is about the nasty kind of witches reuniting for a convention in a luxurious hotel and turning two kids into mice. This is based on a book that was adapted into a stage play, a two-part radio dramatization and an opera by Marcus Paus and Ole Paus.
After the opening credits, the writer wastes no time and dives right into the subject of witches, as the young protagonist’s grandmother tells the tale of a young girl who one day vanished only to appear in her father’s painting. This is the stuff of nightmare. The rest of the film can be divided in two blocks. There is the convention scene, where all the witches gather, then the mice subplot.
The mouse puppetry is way ahead of its time. That’s where Jim Henson’s magic comes in. The witch make-up is disgusting, when not downright traumatizing. The last drop of magic that makes The Witch a masterpiece is the acting. The kids are naturals. The witches are gross. Rowan Atkinson’s character is much more vocal than Mr. Bean. The cast and crew probably had a blast working on this.