In The Last Witch Hunter, action star Vin Diesel battles the secret world of witches who plan to unleash the Black Plague on the modern world. While this tale of the dark arts is set in present-day Manhattan, the film borrows from many iconic stories of good versus evil and serves as an homage to our favorite fantasy sagas.
1. The Witch Queen’s connection to Snow White
Our hero in The Last Witch Hunter is Kaulder (Vin Diesel), who was cursed with immortality by the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht). Though Kaulder thought he had defeated the Witch Queen, his deadly enemy Belial (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) actually stole the Witch Queen’s beating heart to bring her back to life.
This is similar to the tale of Snow White, when the Huntsman is tasked with killing Snow White and bringing her heart to the queen. The Huntsman can’t murder the beautiful young maiden and instead brings the queen a deer’s heart. It seems a live, pumping heart represents the life force of a powerful creature all throughout fiction.
2. Michael Caine channels Alfred from The Dark Knight
Best known to American audiences as Alfred in The Dark Knight films, British actor Michael Caine plays Dolan the 36th, a priest and protector of Kaulder. Caine himself best summed up the similarities by saying, “I’m rather like the elder statesman. He’s much like Alfred, the butler in Batman. He and Kaulder have an extraordinary relationship, more like father and son.”
3. Chloe as the Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland
Chloe (Rose Leslie) is a modern-day witch who operates a “Memory Bar,” a place where people go not to forget their troubles, but to remember good times. At the bar, Chloe smokes a hookah pipe, just like the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, perhaps suggesting that Chloe, like the Caterpillar, also has an impending transformation.
4. Dream walker inspired by the movie Inception
Chloe has a secret — she is a “dream walker” with the ability to enter other people’s dreams. In this film, there is an important piece of information regarding the Witch Queen that Kaulder needs to retrieve from his unconscious, and Chloe offers to help him. This is similar to the characters in Inception, who enter other people’s dreams to gather or plant information.
5. The gummy bear tree is a modern gingerbread house
Just like the gingerbread house that entices Hansel and Gretel, the tree created by Ellic (Joe Gilgun) boasts colorful gummy bears to attract children.
6. The witch’s tree
In The Last Witch Hunter, a thorny, knotted witch’s tree serves as the Witch Queen’s nest. It is no doubt inspired by the classic English fairy tale, The Old Witch, where a magical apple tree helped save a young peasant girl.
7. The terrifying artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski
This film has some truly twisted images, and the filmmakers were inspired by the paintings of the late Polish artist, Beksinski. The creepy art design of the witch’s lair borrows from Beksinski’s dystopian surrealistic art, giving the film a unique but truly sinister vibe.