Played By: Margaret Hamilton
Movie: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Not unlike Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz is one of those family films that leaves astute viewers wondering how little kids could ever watch it without crying for mommy. Chiefly responsible for such a reaction is the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), the evil fantasy world version of Miss Almira Gulch, who demands that little protagonist Dorothy's dog, Toto, be taken away after the pooch bit Miss Gulch.
Whenever she talks, the Wicked Witch's voice seeps into one's brain, with its shrill pitch followed by that cackling laugh. Hamilton's nightmarish creation doesn't even need to open her mouth, though, in order to engender unease—her pointy nose, long fingers, and devilish eyes tap directly into childhood fear. —MB