The Wicked Witch of the West

No one can deny after seeing The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a frightening gal. The first time I saw her on TV was when I was four. If you want to cite childhood memories that may have traumatized a growing young lad, this was it.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

What would the end of Women Who Wow Wednesday‘s Horror month be without The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West? I dare you to count the number of w’s in that sentence.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

There’s a whole history behind the green-skinned lady, but this post won’t contain any of that. In fact, I’m not even going to include how her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, died. Well, we know a house fell on her. That’s about it. Has anyone else ever asked what that woman was doing there in the first place? Was she just standing around waiting for it or was she flying on her broomstick when the house slammed into her? Okay, so maybe I have included a little history with this post.

The other thing I remember about the Wicked Witch was her cackle. Oh, such a dastardly laugh it was. That line where she says, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” It still sends chills up my spine. Is it me or does she get meaner as the years go on? Maybe it’s just me. She certainly knows how to scare the pants off a grownup.

Since I’m quoting lines from the movie, here are a few more that make me want to run away and lock myself in my room with the covers over my head:

“Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too!”

“How about a little fire, Scarecrow?”

“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Come back! I’ll give you Auntie Em, my pretty! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!”

“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.”

“What a nice little dog. And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to want to visit me in my loneliness.”

“The last to go will see the first three go before her. And her mangy little dog too.”

“You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I’m going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!”

Tell me you don’t hear her voice when you’re reading those lines to yourself. I still can hear it and I’m not even trying.

Yes, the Wicked Witch belongs in an asylum, but you can’t tell me she doesn’t wow. As bad as she is, she is a character everyone recognizes. For this reason, her image has remained with me since a child. Maybe one day, I can watch The Wizard of Oz without that scary feeling I get in the pit of my stomach reminding me of the first time.

Until then, I’ll watch her again and again covering my eyes as if I were on a roller coaster. It’s the only way to survive a scary ride.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you remember of the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz? Were you as frightened to see her the first time I was?

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23 thoughts on “The Wicked Witch of the West

  1. Such a classic movie, and you’re right, I instinctively read those lines in her voice. I always loved the Wicked Witch character and her flying monkeys though lol

  2. She’s very frightening and there are two lines that have always stayed with me. One you mentioned, “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?” and the other is “Poppies. Poppies will make them sleep.” Lol, you’re right, I read those lines with her voice in my head. I think it’s impossible not to.

  3. I always enjoy your Oz-themed posts. The Wizard of Oz story has always been close to my heart. It is the quintessential American fairy tale. There are many, many changes between the original novel and the MGM movie The Wizard of Oz (1939). I wrote a piece on the Witches in Oz last year, before Oz, the Great and Powerful came out. You can check that out here: http://hiddenhistoryofoz.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/four-witches-in-oz/
    As for fright and nightmares, those came to me from sci-fi, not Oz. I have always been amazed at how pervasive The Wizard of Oz is in American culture. The references to Wicked Witch immediately conjure up the green skin. There simply is no alternative. Follow the yellow brick road. We’re not in Kansas anymore. The man behind the curtain. All of these and many more have become part of our cultural lexicon. That is part of the reason that I chose Oz to explore in my stories – there is a rich culture that is at once recognizable and memorable.

    • I’ve even read essays about comparisons between ” OZ ” & Star Wars. I don’t think it’s coincidence. Chewbacca / The Cowardly Lion. C3PO / The Tin Man. The Professor / Ben Kenobi. Tot / R2D2 ( Maybe ). & Leia / Dorothy.

  4. I love this post, Jack – right after my own heart! Wizard of Oz is one of my most favorite movies. I’m going to add my “did you know” to the pot: during test scenes, her shots were considered too scary and a lot of her screen time was cut. She didn’t scare me as much as the Jabberwokey in a live-action Alice or the Banshee in Darby O’Gill and the Little People, but she was right up there!

  5. One of the icons of cinema history and the Wiccan community is probably still stigmatised as a result! But this is how witches should be in fantasy: bad to the bone. So much more interesting than their goody-two-shoes rivals.

  6. Love this post, Jack! I don’t know at what age I first saw the witch, but she freaked. me. out. Especially her flying on her bicycle during the tornado and transforming into witch form. Whhhhuuuu. Shivers. What a great role and movie. I really should read the book.

  7. I love Margaret Hamilton, and after she was in this movie, she had a fair-to-middling career until TV started to show WoO yearly in the 1960’s or so. Then Margaret got a great renaissance of plum, albeit typecast, roles in grand dame guignol flicks and The Addams Family and such. She was great!!

  8. Have to admit that even at a young age, I fully expected the WWoW to find redemption or reclamation, so the manslaughter caught me by surprise.

    The Wizard was found to be a fraud and yet his sentence was light, why was the WWoW not redeemed?

    But to the point you so beautifully raised, yes, she was definitely one of the malevolent creatures I had (or have) ever met…her personal pain must have been intense.

  9. I saw her for the first time when I was really little, but I was more scared of the flying monkeys than her. She’s definitely one of the most iconic villains and I’m sure she gets in the Top 10 whenever people do movie bad guys. By the way, did you know the green color they used for her is copywritten? So any other version of Wicked Witch can’t be that shade of green, which is why Mila Kunis looked brighter. I think the mole isn’t able to be copied too.

      • I prefer origin stories. I even preferred the bits of the Star Wars prequels showing how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, or ” Smallville ” showing how Lex Luthor became Clark / Superman’s nemesis. Gives more depth to a character.

      • I caught one clip of the movie that Mila was in, as the Wicked Witch of the East. Not your average 1 – dimensional wicked witch. & I like a good origin story.

  10. I wanted those red slippers.

    Honesty I think the flying monkeys scared me more than the witch! Ha.

    Watching it when you’re older puts a fascinating look into the battle of good and evil and powerful desires and obsession.

  11. If George Lucas had written her back story, maybe she would’ve been like a Good Witch in Training, a female Anakin Skywalker.

    I have a feeling Lucas was influenced at least a little bit by the Oz books whn he wrote the scipt for Star Wars ( 1977 ).

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