In 1987 a pound of bacon cost a whopping $1.80, Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Prozac made its U.S. debut. You could buy a brand new Hyundai for less than $6,000 and ‘Karate Kid’ action figures went for $12.00 a set. ‘Married With Children’ made its television debut and the Bangles ruled the airwaves with ‘Walk Like an Egyptian.’
And in 1987 Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Jack Nicholson shared the big screen in the John Updike novel turned cult classic, ‘Witches of Eastwick.’
The twisted, dark comedy was the ultimate “be careful what you wish for” tale. Three single women living in a quaint, picturesque New England town spend a Thursday night sipping martinis and fantasizing about the ideal man. They envision a tall and handsome (but not too handsome) out- of- towner with nice eyes and a nice ass. And by the break of day, a mysterious newcomer with a name that no one can quite seem to remember would captivate the quaint little town of Eastwick. Population 7,680.
Daryl Van Horn, played by Jack Nicholson, appears in town and buys the infamous Lennox mansion. Those three single women- Sukie (Pfeiffer), Alexandra (Cher), and Jane (Sarandon)- are emotionally defenseless against his devilish charm. His erotic encounters with the three friends turns into a full blown orgy, awakening their sexuality and intriguing them to do things they never thought possible.
It isn’t long before the mischievous Romeo’s true identity is revealed. The women band together, combining all their powers with some good ol’ fashioned black magic, to send him packing right back where to he came from. Hell. And of course, being the true gentleman that he is, he leaves them each with their very own parting gift- his offspring.
When “Witches of Eastwick” premiered 30 years ago, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out director George Miller had a hit on his hands. By 1987, Jack Nicholson had already starred in a string of hits including ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and the Stephen King thriller ‘The Shining.’ Susan Sarandon, who had already played Janet Weiss in the original ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ was no stranger to cult classics. Michelle Pfeiffer had already starred in one of the most iconic gangster movies ever, ‘Scarface,’ as the sultry Elvira Hancock. And of course, there’s Cher, the multi- talented singer, and actress who starred in another classic that year, ‘Moonstruck.’
“Witches of Eastwick” is a one of a kind, once in a lifetime kind of movie that can never be duplicated. (Lord, help us if they try to do a remake of this one.) It drips with nostalgia in a way that only an 80’s movie can. It was a product of that weird, magical time in history when everything was possible and everyone was happy.
Perhaps one of my favorite quotes from the movie was when Sukie told Daryl Van Horn, “I don’t mind when peculiar things happen. It’s natural! Because the world is a very peculiar place.”
And ‘Witches of Eastwick’ is a very peculiar, magically wonderful, bewitching film that is as witty and entertaining now as it was 30 years ago.