For tonight's countdown to Halloween post, I thought about asking my readers a question I have been asking myself recently: can you have witches in a modern setting for a horror story? I was wondering the same thing last year and the year before. Witches are a common stock character of Halloween, they are part of many Halloween displays (like the one you see at this window), yet they are confined to decorations, to the caricatures of the ugly old cackling witch or the sexy vixen (see this recent post). Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, they have all been modernized in one form or another in fiction, revamped so to speak. Witches, not so much. Maybe because the witch hunts of the past turned them into sympathetic characters. Yet I rediscovered them in fiction recently, and I think they have potential to be a true menace in a modern setting. This is what I wrote about them in 2015: "She is an poisoner, she is in league with the Devil, she shows no remorse to hurt young children and animals. If they are seen with cats, toads and other animals, let us not ignore their true nature: these are devils, familiar spirits, that have taken the shape of these beasts. The witch is the female, folkloric ancestor of the serial killer or the child abductor. Or simply the nosy, busybody neighbour, who can be quite malevolent herself." But the stories I have seen them as true evil all dated from at least a hundred years. They creep in modern fiction, but so far in my read they are generally sympathetic.
So tell me, did you read recently about evil witches in modern horror stories? What do you think of the witch as an archetype? Any idea how to use them in fiction?
12 hours ago