We’re talking Disney animated feature films only, here. No Pixar, no Marvel, no Magica De Spell, no Hocus Pocus. We can argue about what constitutes a witch later. For now, in honor of the live-action Maleficent, here’s an up-to-date ranking of the ladies I’ve determined to be animated Disney witches.
10. The Enchantress
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
She sets the events of the movie in motion, but only appears in the stained-glass prologue. Stained glass will never haunt your nightmares.
9. Orddu, Orgoch, and Orwen
The Black Cauldron (1985)
Only my sister and I have fond memories of this movie, which our grandma snuck us into after a showing of Flight of the Navigator. Even then, I only remember Gurgi, and nothing of these witches.
8. The Fates
Another trio, though not very haunting—all they do is give Hades a prophecy. Contrary to the O-witches from The Black Cauldron, at least these ladies look suitably creepy.
7. Mama Odie
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
What’s the point of voodoo powers if you only use them for good?
The best witches revel in their witchery; they don’t try to suppress it. Maybe if Elsa goes back to using her snow to entertain her little sister, she can move up higher on the list.
5. Mother Gothel
She might not be the most terrifying witch, but she does get the most horrifying ending.
4. Madam Mim
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
I’m always a fan of the dotty-old-lady-type witch. They seem harmless until they get cranky and turn into dragons.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
She’s brassy. She gets one of the best villain songs this side of “Be Prepared”. And she doesn’t underestimate the importance of body language.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
I have to hand it to Disney here—they picked the best witch to plot a feature around. She’s legitimately scary, and has one of the best witch character designs in the Disney canon. I only hope that seeing her backstory doesn’t soften her up too much. She’s fabulous the way she is.
Think you can do better than an awesome purple dragon? Let me know all the witches I forgot about in the comments. (No, Grandmother Willow doesn’t count.)