The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Taglines: Something wicked this way comes.

All three previously married but now single, best friends sculptress Alex Medford, cellist Jane Spofford and writer Sukie Ridgemont are feeling emotionally and sexually repressed, in large part due to the traditional mores overriding their small New England coastal town of Eastwick. After their latest conversation lamenting about the lack of suitable men in Eastwick and describing the qualities they are looking for in a man, mysterious Daryl Van Horne and his equally mysterious butler Fidel arrive in town.

Despite being vulgar, crude, brazen and not particularly handsome, Daryl manages to be able to tap into the innermost emotions of the three friends, and as such manages to seduce each. In turn, the three women blossom emotionally and sexually. After an incident involving one of the town’s leading citizens, the ultra conservative Felicia Alden, the three women begin to understand how and why Daryl is able to mesmerize them so fully.

The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American comedy-fantasy film based on John Updike’s novel of the same name. Directed by George Miller, the film stars Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, alongside Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon as the eponymous witches.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

About the Story

Alexandra Medford (Cher), Jane Spofford (Susan Sarandon), and Sukie Ridgemont (Michelle Pfeiffer) are three dissatisfied women living in the picturesque town of Eastwick, Rhode Island. Alex is a sculptor and single mother of one daughter; Jane is a newly divorced music teacher unable to have children; while Sukie has six daughters and works as a columnist for the Eastwick Word, the local newspaper. The three friends all have lost their husbands (Alex’s died, Jane’s divorced her, and Sukie’s abandoned her). Unaware that they are witches, the women unwittingly form a coven where they have weekly get-togethers and share their fantasies about ideal men.

A mysterious man (Jack Nicholson) arrives in town and stirs up trouble by buying the town’s landmark property: the Lennox Mansion. The arrival of this enigmatic stranger fascinates the townsfolk, all except for Felicia Alden (Veronica Cartwright), the devoutly religious wife of newspaper editor Clyde Alden (Richard Jenkins), Sukie’s boss. Felicia senses that this man (whose name is easily forgotten) is up to no good.

One night, at one of Jane’s music recitals, the strange man appears and makes a spectacle of himself, which leads to more gossip. After the recital, Jane receives a bouquet of flowers with the initial D written on it. This sparks Sukie’s memory, finally revealing the man’s name as Daryl Van Horne. However, as chaos over the name spreads through the crowd, Sukie’s bead necklace inexplicably breaks and falls to the floor, causing Felicia (who had mocked Daryl’s name) to trip down a large staircase and break her leg.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

The following day, Daryl sets out to seduce Alex. As he converses with her, he says insensitive, disgusting, and rude things every time he speaks. Appalled, she tells him off, refuses his amorous advances, and begins to walk out. Before she opens the door, he speaks to her, manipulating her emotions until she eventually agrees. The next morning, Daryl visits the shy and insecure Jane. As the two sit down and share polite conversation, Jane explains that the Lennox Mansion was built on a site where alleged witches were burned at the stake.

Later that night, Daryl encourages Jane to play her cello with wild abandon, never before achieved, playing faster and faster while accompanied by Daryl on the piano, until finally the strings break, the cello bursts into flame, and Jane flings herself upon Daryl with passion. The following week, Daryl invites all three of the women to his mansion, his sights now on Sukie. Later, as envy and rivalry emerge among the women, they inadvertently levitate a tennis ball. Finally aware of their magical abilities, the women agree to share Daryl.

As the women spend more time at Daryl’s mansion, Felicia spreads rumors about their indecency. Alex, Jane, and Sukie become social outcasts. As the witches begin to question their loyalty to Daryl, he causes them to unknowingly cast a spell against Felicia. Later that night, while ranting to her husband about Daryl being the Devil, Felicia begins to vomit cherry stones. Horrified by her uncontrollable behavior, Clyde kills her with a fire poker.

The Witches of Eastwick Movie Poster (1987)

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

Directed by: George Miller
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins, Carel Struycken, Helen Lloyd Breed, Caroline Struzik
Screenplay by: Michael Cristofer
Production Design by: Polly Platt
Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond
Film Editing by: Hubert de La Bouillerie, Richard Francis-Bruce
Costume Design by: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Set Decoration by: Joe D. Mitchell
Art Direction by: Mark W. Mansbridge
Music by: John Williams
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: June 12, 1987