Your Average Horny Little Devil

Based on John Updike’s bestseller, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (1987) stars Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon as three man-hungry women with special powers in the quiet, little New England hamlet of Eastwick. When a mysterious stranger (Jack Nicholson) moves into the town, he seduces the three until they find out he is literally THE horny little Devil.

Nicholson and the ladies provide major star power in this uneven, yet highly entertaining, film. The film veers all over the place unsure if it wants to be black comedy or horror, but John Williams‘s robust score matches its many moods in all its bewitching glory.

I fell in love with the film–and the score–from the opening aerial shots of Eastwick (well, really Cohasset, Massachusetts). A harpsichord adds just the right note of comic horror and quaint New England flavor.

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Click Track: Township of Eastwick

Violin solos leap and cavort in their delightful danse macabre. The tennis match is a delicate scherzo of alternating light strings and piano figures, capturing the humor of the moment as the witches first realize their powers of persuasion. And Williams’s music takes on a darkly comic level as local town busybody Felicia (Veronica Cartwright) tries to convince her husband (Richard Jenkins) that the Devil is among them. When Darrell (Nicholson) uses his powers through the women to turn the cherries they are eating into a mass of stems and pits that appear surprisingly in her mouth, bassoons and bass clarinet swell and belch as Felicia regurgitates the horrifying concoction all over her house.

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Click Track: Tennis Game

Earlier DVD releases contained an isolated score track and the soundtrack was one of a handful of late ’80s Williams/Warner Bros. releases (like THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST) that quickly went out of print and fetched astronomical prices on eBay. Thankfully, the CD was rereleased a few years ago by Collectors’ Choice Music at a bargain price.

I recently watched this film again and had forgotten how much fun it is. The Oscar-nominated score will never be confused for top-tier Williams, but it is devilishly good.

8 comments

  1. A great score, and for those interested, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK will be available in a new high-definition print on a double-feature Blu-Ray to be released July 6th. Sadly, it will be accompanied by a throwaway Sandra Bullock vehicle, PRACTICAL MAGIC.

    1. Thanks for the heads up, Gary. I never saw PRACTICAL MAGIC or heard Silvestri’s score. I think I read the book but that information has fallen through the Swiss cheese holes in my brain long ago.

      1. If I am not mistaken, PRACTICAL MAGIC has been the only case in film music history where a label released a soundtrack BEFORE the score got replaced. Some early pressings include 2 tracks of Michael Nyman’s score. The album consisted primarily of songs. Later pressings did have 2 Silvestri tracks, but this is still an interesting case of, “Ooops!”

        1. Huh, I didn’t know the score had been replaced. How do the two scores compare (or at least what you can hear from them)? I’ve never seen the movie.

  2. One of my favorite Williams’ scores. Very underrated. He blended dark humor, macabre, sensuality and melodrama superbly. My favorite track is “The Seduction of Suki and the Ballroom Scene”

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