25. Endora (Bewitched)
Endora is no eviler than your average mother-in-law, but she has magic powers that make her a scarier adversary than the rest. While she torments Darrin endlessly, she’s really only looking out for her daughter.
24. Tabitha Lenox (Passions)
Although Tabitha is a villain, she’s a villain on a soap opera, where all characters are a little bit evil when the plot calls for it. Besides, she had a rough childhood, so we can excuse some of the not-so-nice things she does later in life.
23. Faye Chamberlain (The Secret Circle)
Faye is actually one of the good witches, but she’s never really good. She has very little respect for authority and often uses her powers to her own advantage, which frankly makes her way cooler than the rest of her circle.
22. Amy Madison (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Amy is a magic addict, and who can really blame her? This is a woman whose mom once switched bodies with her against her will, and who was later turned into a rat. That doesn’t excuse her for being a terrible influence on Willow, though.
21. Madame Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
Anyone who can go head-to-head with Merlin must be pretty powerful. On the other hand, Madame Mim’s powers seem mostly relegated to shapeshifting, which makes her relatively easy to defeat by someone as clever as Merlin.
20. Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)
Regina doesn’t really exist — that’s just the fictional version of herself the Evil Queen created when she cast her spell. But real or not, Regina has done plenty of good to counteract the Queen’s misdeeds. That makes her kind of OK.
19. Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
What’s the difference between a witch and a sea witch? Ursula has some distressingly lofty ambitions, but she can’t really leave the water, making her the Aquaman of fictional witches. Sorry, Aquaman.
18. Marnie Stonebrook (True Blood)
As far as True Blood villains go, Marnie was one of the fiercest. (It might have been that awful accent.) Then again, most of her evil deeds were done while she was possessed by much more powerful witch Antonia, which hardly counts.
17. Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
OK, yes, Willow did once try to destroy the world, but in her defense, it was only to end human suffering. Also, she’s saved the world so many times, we can forgive her one transgression, however serious.
16. The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)
Few witches inspire the same level of fear as the Wicked Witch of the West, with whom we all grew up. But what does this witch do that’s truly wicked? Start a few minor fires? Threaten a child with physical harm? Be green?
15. Winnie Sanderson (Hocus Pocus)
While her bumbling sisters were mostly there for comic relief — sorry, ladies — Winnie was both the brains and the brawn of the operation. In a movie that’s far more silly than scary, she’s actually kind of intimidating.
14. Ridley Duchannes (Beautiful Creatures)
It’s not like Ridley chose to be dark — that was just the path she was granted. And really, she looks like she’s having too much fun as a villain to do anything else, even if she does still have a conscience.
13. Lamia (Stardust)
Lamia needs to consume people to stay young and beautiful. It’s selfish, yes, but after seeing Michelle Pfeiffer in old age makeup, you can understand why Lamia’s task is so important. Team Lamia, sorry.
12. Melisandre (Game of Thrones)
While Melisandre will surely do more very bad things later — hush, book fans — she’s already showed her true colors on Game of Thrones. And birthing a murderous smoke baby, however cool it looks, is not an OK thing to do.
11. Minnie Castevet (Rosemary’s Baby)
Oh, sure, she looks harmless. Adorable, even. But let’s not forget that meddling neighbor Minnie is actually a witch who serves Satan. She tricks her neighbor into getting raped by the devil. Not so cute anymore, is she?
10. Muriel (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
Muriel is responsible for the deaths of Hansel and Gretel’s parents — not to mention a whole mess of other people. Hey, at least she looks good being bad. (Or she does in her human form. As a witch, not so much.)
9. Asa Vajda (Black Sunday)
Bloodthirsty witch Asa Vajda is fierce and beautiful. And yes, evil — but she wouldn’t be doing bad things if she hadn’t been burned at the stake in the first place. Next time just let the witch be and she won’t return for revenge.
8. Nancy Downs (The Craft)
As far as teenage witches go, Sabrina has nothing on Nancy. That’s because Nancy is cruel and unbalanced, which makes her way more dangerous. Remember, she’s just trying to cope with being an outcast.
7. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
First of all, living for this style. Second of all, Maleficent might be an evil witch, but she’s mostly just a stickler for politeness. Invite her to a party and she won’t put a curse on your baby. Easy as that.
6. Queen Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman)
One version of Snow White’s Evil Queen already got a spot on this list, but Queen Ravenna deserves special treatment. She has more power and agency than in other iterations of the story. Plus, she eats human hearts whole.
5. Mombi (Return to Oz)
Few witches caused more childhood trauma than Mombi, who unsuccessfully tried to control all of Oz. The real reason we remember her? She had a wall of heads to choose from. A WALL OF HEADS. Thanks for the nightmares.
4. Mater Suspiriorum (Suspiria)
Although she’s responsible for all of the horrible things that happen in Suspiria, we don’t see Mater Suspiriorum for most of the film. And then we do, and she’s just as decrepit and scary as you’d expect. Our Lady of Sighs is gross, y’all.
3. The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Say what you will about the film — and yes, it’s hard to compete with C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy series — but Tilda Swinton is cast perfectly as the White Witch. That’s because Tilda Swinton herself is actually a witch, and a striking one at that.
2. The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
Wait, this was a kids movie? The Grand High Witch is horrifying. It’s bad enough when she’s in disguise — Anjelica Huston is very intimidating — but underneath… Also, she wants to kill children, which is objectively uncool.
1. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)
There are countless witches in the Harry Potter series, but none are as fearsome as Bellatrix. She’s beautiful, crazy, and sadistic — it’s a delightful combination to watch, but not to face. And she’s the real villain of the series. Voldemort who?
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