What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's much sex talk, including frank discussions of what penis sizes/shapes women prefer. No sex is actually shown, despite female characters dressing in alluring clothes and obviously participating in a bedroom foursome with Daryl Van Horne. Some religious households may be offended by the "witchcraft" (present in the title more than anywhere else), likeability of the devil, or the insignificance of the neighborhood church. Horrific elements -- mostly played for laughs -- include gross vomiting and Daryl mutating into a monstrous being at the end, potentially scary for little ones, who shouldn't be watching in the first place thanks to frequent swearing (the f-word, above all). There are idealized scenes of romantic, recreational drinking. Teens assigned to read the John Updike novel for school should know that the movie is no substitute; it doesn't share the same themes, tone, or even time period.
- Families can talk about the way the film portrays the devil as a rascally but friendly and fun-loving character, who claims he just wants love and a little respect from the "ladies." How does Daryl Van Horne compare to other pop culture and folklore images of Satan?
- You might get older kids to read and discuss the book and how it differs wildly from the movie, and introduce them to the dense literary fiction of novelist John Updike (who, right before he died, issued a sequel, The Widows of Eastwick).
- Research the history of "actual" witchcraft and witch-hunts (one suggested-reading book: Wayward Puritans, by Kai T. Erickson). Is Daryl historically correct when he says that anti-witch hysterias were schemes invented by the male-dominated medical profession in medieval times to put midwives out of business?