Anna Biller took seven years to make The Love Witch, and with her efforts, she made perfection. Anna Biller composed some of the songs and greatly influenced the cinematography. Biller poured herself into this film; she even had some of her paintings hung up on the film set. The release of The Love Witch, and the message Biller was pushing, perfectly coincided with current events. The Love Witch was released in 2016, a few months before the 2016 presidential election. During 2016, there was a growth of popularity to the #MeToo movement. It was a perfect storm for a movie like The Love Witch, to be released, a film showing a strong woman in charge of her sexuality. The Love Witch offers an alternative from the realities that we are normally subjected to by showing us how men would act if they actually felt their emotions.
The Love Witch follows a newly-single, gorgeous, 1960s witch, Elaine. As whimsical and beautiful as she is, Elaine still needs help finding a man to settle down with her. Elaine does more than just wear red lipstick; she uses potions and spells to make sure her men stay in love with her. In an interview with The Guardian, Biller explains why she chose a time like the 1960s, “I’m in conversation with earlier movies and with my own fantasies about being a woman, and overthrowing patriarchal oppressions that I face in my life. I can’t get into the mind of a male producer in the 1960s who is making exploitation because those films were made for men’s pleasure.” Much of the stay-at-home mom and many societal norms for women were enforced. Elaine, instead of pining after men and molding herself to please them, the men are going to extremes such as death if they can’t have her. Biller plays with the reality where men love women as much as women love men like they’re supposed to in 1960s society. Also, a reality where a woman is powerful and confident, unafraid to take a stand against a man. The movie is a horror because these men in love are so overwhelmed with experiencing emotion as powerful as love, which they normally try to repress. These men can simply not handle loving a woman to the full extent.
The Love Witch is an extremely aesthetically pleasing film, paying homage to popular 1960s and 1970s technicolor horrors. Not saying that color belongs to gender, but the film’s color palette is a beautiful arrangement with pastel pinks, blues, and purples. The film’s cinematography, costumes, and settings appeal to the feminine eye for grand tea rooms full of flowers, fabulous dresses, and eye-catching makeup. The film won’t just keep you entertained by Elaine’s relentless hunt for a man but will keep you entranced with the details of the elements of the film. The Love Witch plays against what we are supposed to do in society. The film presents assertive women and men who are sensitive. This horror movie is more suspenseful than horror, and the audience is constantly wondering what Elaine will do next. There is a cheesy aspect to this film. The acting and the action scenes seem off sometimes, but I believe it goes with the ironic message of the film.
In the whole film, Elaine is using spells for men to relinquish their guards and fall in love with her. When these men have this unconditional love for her, she loses interest. Eliane compares the men in love with her to the actions of women, how “pathetic” they can be. Once these men fall under Elaine’s spells, they constantly call for her and beg that she loves them back. Eliane gets what she wants from these men, then leaves when the obsessiveness becomes too much for her. When Elaine leaves them, it leads to fatality. We see the harsh truth of many men’s views of women wanting a “perfect” woman, someone who is sexy but also homely, someone smart but not more intelligent than them. Elaine figures only magic, and her sensualness will keep them interested. The Love Witch may be the perfect Galentine’s Day film, with gorgeous soundtracks, costume design, set design, and cinematography; while also showing a bold woman taking control of her love life.