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22nd Jun 2018

Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’ to get terrifying new adaptation

It will be much darker than the 1990 classic

Kyle Picknell

Roald Dahl famously hated the ending of the original

Depending on how old you are you might remember first film version of Dahl’s 1983 children’s novel The Witches, which was given a movie adaptation in 1990. Again, depending on how old you are it either scared you completely shitless or was a mildly amusing way to keep your children in line.

Whilst it performed poorly in box offices Nicolas Roeg’s film was well received by critics but it was the author himself who had the most damning reaction, reportedly telling the director and executive producer Jim Henson: “Take my name off this thing. You’ve missed the whole point of the book”.

The book ends with the incredibly typical macabre Dahl scenario of a boy who is trapped inside the body of a mouse after drinking some potion.

It’s always trapping kids in things with you isn’t it Dahl, whether a giant peach or the body of a mouse or a weird torture chamber chocolate factory. Were you accidently locked in the cupboard as a child? Is that what this is about?

“I’ll be a very old mouse and you’ll be a very old grandmother and soon after that we’ll both die together,” the narrator says at the end of the novel.

In the Hollywood version, however, it was all’s well that ends well as the unnamed narrator is magically turned back into a boy after the witches’ spell is magically reversed.

New director Robert Zemeckis, famous for Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, is attached to the project and has committed to using the darker source material. He will also write the script whilst auteurs Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity) and Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) will act as executive producers.