Welcome! It’s Hallowe’en week and I’m celebrating with an entire week of spooktastic content. Look away now if you’re not interested in Hallowe’en! I thought we’d start off with some of my favourite icons. As you know, I love vintage and I’m obsessed with eras past, so no surprise that most of these women are from the last century. If you sense a theme of “glamorous middle-aged spooky women”, then you’re definitely correct! I think a lot of the spooky girls of the 90s came with a whole load of angst and baggage; I prefer the stronger and slightly older women of horror.
It’s always Wednesday who gets the attention, but I’ve got a soft spot for Morticia, you know? I think people’s love of Wednesday is largely due to the pre-teen Christina Ricci film portrayal (which I’ve not seen), or the 2008 musical (currently touring with Carrie Hope Fletcher as teenaged Wednesday).
I’ll confess here that I grew up on both the 1960s Addams TV show and the original comic strip. In both of those Wednesday is a young child and a kind of secondary character in the ensemble alongside her brother Pugsley. It’s Morticia who is the lady of the bonkers Addams house, always swanning around in glamorous black outfits. I remember as a child being fascinated by her hair; so long and shiny. Morticia also seemed unique in that she and Gomez were so clearly and obviously in love. Most other portrayals of married life seemed to be of the “ball and chain” variety. Morticia wasn’t like that and I loved her for it.
I have no recollection of when I first saw this movie, but I’m pretty sure I was in primary school at the time. The plot concerns a witch and her father and some sort of convoluted revenge plot. Honestly, I don’t know but you can Wikipedia it. The MAIN reason I wanted to include Veronica Lake is… oh my good lord the imagery! This film sparked my love for witches. The production stills alone grant Veronica a place on this list. Just look at these costumes!
I also grew up on The Munsters. It’s weird to think originally this was aired alongside The Addams Family but on a different network? Apparently The Munsters won the ratings battle- probably due to the theme tune which is way better. Oh, you didn’t know creepy surf-rock was a thing?
Lily Munster and Herman Munster had one of the most enduring loves I can remember seeing as a child. I think Lily was supposed to be a vampire, but most of the plotlines just revolved around The Munsters trying to live a normal life. At one point Lily had to go out and get a job because Herman had been laid off. Can you get any more 1960s american family sitcom?!
I’m sure most of you will be familiar with Kiki’s Delivery Service, one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films. What I love about Kiki is that she’s so relatable – as a teenager I really resonated with her story and she was a very inspiring role model. It’s hard to describe the plot of the film; Kiki essentially sets out into the world to make her way and… does. But, as with all Studio Ghibli films, the film is filled with beautifully observed moments of empathy, gorgeous animation and stunning backdrops. For a film about a witch, it’s incredibly human.
Oh, Elsa Lanchester. I mean, what kind of Hallowe’en icon list would this be if I didn’t include Frankenstein’s Bride? One of my favourite films of all time and an example of one of the few instances when the sequel is better than the original. She’s in the film for a super limited time, but between that lightning bolt, that hair, and those eyebrows, it was long enough to inspire a thousand different looks and she’s become one of horror’s most enduring women.
I feel like Elvira will be unknown to audiences over here! I first encountered Elvira when visiting American family in my pre-teen years and was kind of fascinated by her; low-cut black dress, huge black hair, sarcastic commentary on horror movies. Cut to a few years later when I rediscovered her in university and ended up watching most of her original series with my housemates.
So for the uninitiated, Elvira looks very typical “glamour goth vamp” but she chats in a kind of California, Valley Girl tone (think Clueless). Elvira had her own film in the late 80s, which I haven’t seen. What I know her from is her horror movie show, in which she basically introduced a B-Movie from the horror genre (normally something obscure and ancient), and then whilst showing the film, would interrupt every now and then to comment on how bad the acting is or how tacky a costume is. It’s hard to explain in text, but she’s so funny and sarcastic that it makes for really compelling viewing! I’m not sure if it’s available on DVD, but if you can find any of Elvira’s show knocking around on the internet (let’s face it, nothing ever truly dies with Reddit around) then definitely check it out.