"Burn Em All!"

So, since it’s Halloween… lets talk about this red band trailer for “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,”  which looks about as agood as these “stupid on purpose” genre riffs get. Specifically… is it at all “weird” that I find this in somewhat bad taste?

What I mean is… I totally “get” that they’re just riffing on the familiar fairytale (LOVE the gag with the milk bottles) and that 0.00000% of this is meant to be taken seriously, but… they MUST be aware that “Witch” isn’t strictly a fictional, made-up thing like vampires or zombies or whatnot, right? That there’s an actual, recognized religion (several of them, in fact) in the 21st Century world that calls it’s practice “Witchcraft” and it’s adherents “Witches,” right? I mean, this cannot be NEWS to anyone making a big-budget American fantasy/horror movie, yes?

I know it’s kind of a weird area, since Wicca etc. names itself AFTER the historical/mythic version of Witches/Witchcraft and not the other way around, but still… the whole jokey “the only good witch is a dead witch” thing kinda rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I’m oversensitive to this, having known and been friends with more than a few real Witches in my time, but it seems kind of weird to not be qualifying them as “evil witches” here, fairytale or not.

I dunno, maybe I’m nuts… but this feels, to me, just a little bit like having “The Wandering Jew” show up as a monster in something and saying it’s okay because it was an actual 13th Century legend. I don’t know that it’s a huge deal (any Wiccans and/or Witchcraft-identifying neo-pagans want to chime in?) but it feels odd in the 21st Century – regardless of context, can you see someone making a movie called “Christian Hunter” or “Muslim Hunter?”

59 thoughts on “"Burn Em All!"

  1. Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous 2:20
    You're whining to your opponents that their message is logical, but that they didn't sugar-coat it enough for you? I advise that you grow up and stop expecting that discourse needs to be wrapped up with a bow on top to count as “civil discourse”

    @ Nathan Lintlicker
    >“visa-vie”
    When you try to use “smart words” but you spell them incorrectly, it just makes you look even dumber.

    @thegoodcapm

    If you want to be offended, then go right ahead and keep being offended. In a society that values freedom, you do not have the right to not be offended. Expecting other human beings to police their own behavior just to protect your precious feelings is absolutely juvenile. Besides that, you're expecting people to be respectful of a “religion” that even members will admit is completely made-up.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    @anonymous
    I'm not telling people to police their behavior. I'm saying a lot of people know nothing about Wicca (clearly you're one of them with your last sentence), and thus THEY have no right to make assumptions.
    -thegoodcapm

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  3. Anonymous says:

    @Goodcapm
    You tell me you think I'm wrong without even trying to define why. You can sit here and argue that the emperor has clothes all you want, it doesn't make it so.

    Wicca (and all Neo-Paganism for that matter) is self-defined as having been created from various and diverse religious backgrounds across the world.

    Sugar-coat it all you want, but “we arbitrarily cherry-pick from other religions” is not a religion. It's made-up. You have no basis for demanding that other people pretend it's sacred.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Completely made up and cherry picked from other religions are two different things. Mormonism is completely made up. Wicca, yes, is in fact comprised of bits from different polytheistic religions. That doesn't mean it's insubstantial. Just because we said “hey, these guys were right about SOME things” doesn't mean we don't matter. And it doesn't mean it's arbitrary.
    – thegoodcapm

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  5. KingOfDoma says:

    @Nathan:

    If they were sent to an 1800s plantation and almost eaten by a black person, that wouldn't be proper justification. That said, you're not wrong for concluding that this movie isn't offensive (as I've seen, there've already been wicca who've commented and said they're cool with it), just that you got there the wrong way, that's all.

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  6. Nick says:

    I have two immediate thoughts on this.

    First, while I can fully understand someone else feeling differently, as far as I personally am concerned, “witch” as used here and “witch” as in a follower of Wicca are essentially two entirely different meanings of the word. I don't see this movie as anti-Wicca any more than I see making negative assumptions about someone wearing a swastika on their arm as anit-Hindu; I see the connection between the two as trivial, regardless of its basis in reality.

    Second, relating to WHY I feel that way; the difference between witches and “the Wandering Jew” is that witches are also a common and immediately recognizable “monster” in MODERN pop culture, instead of just in the Xth century.

    Another thought – I wouldn't be surprised if “not all witches are evil” turns out to be A Thing at some point in the movie. Wait and see. 😉 In fact, when I first saw this trailer, I thought it looked like a spiritual successor to Van Helsing; and that's the movie that named this trope: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VanHelsingHateCrimes

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  7. Johan Milde says:

    I would not put it past writer/director Tommy Wirkola to actually make a “Christian Hunter,” and for it to be bad in an awesome way. “Kill Buljo” was not exactly gentle in its representation of Sami and northern Norwegians. (He is sami, from northern Norway himself)
    And for him personally, I actually think he, as most Norwegians, is not aware of the existence of the Wicca religion. In Norway, almost the entire Neo-Pagan movement is made up by the Asatru, and the number of witches is probably not even in its third digit.

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