The Craft (1996)
Reviewers: Cassidy Edwards & Ted Zep
Cass and I are back with a vengeance for another hot review. This time, we tackle one of our collective favorite films, The Craft.
Released by Columbia Pictures in May 1996, The Craft follows Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) as she adjusts to life as the “new girl” at a Los Angeles high school. She befriends a trio of outsiders who she soon learns are witches. The four friends delve deeper into witchcraft and before long begin to enjoy the spoils of their experimentation. However, each of the self-serving spells they cast carries a hefty price tag.
He Said/She Said
Ted: Which character in The Craft do you most relate to?
Cassidy: I would have to say that I identify the most with Sarah Bailey (played by Robin Tunney). Like most girls, during my teen years I was trying to find myself. Sarah came into the movie as the introverted new chick who really didn’t know how to mesh with the kids at her school. She became friends with the “outcast” group of girls because they were more accepting, regardless of their motives to include her in the witchcraft to complete the circle. I was a sometimes awkward and a very introverted teen, and with so many high school groups it was a challenge to adapt and find my niche.
Cassidy: If you could be a natural witch…well, warlock…LOL…what would be your first wish?
Ted: Well, the serious answer would be that my folks are both gone and I’d bring them back. I couldn’t imagine anything that I’d want more.
Silly answer: I’d be WWE Champion!! (Sidenote: Cue my theme song, Cass!)
Ted: Speaking of music, what is your opinion of the Soundtrack?
Cassidy: Growing up and watching this movie for the first time at age 13, the soundtrack was awesome. I was really into the 90s alternative/grunge music scene. The music gave the film an alternative rock vibe and placed it gently in a time capsule for me to enjoy each time I watch. While some of the musicians on the soundtrack are not extremely well known in my book (like Nirvana, Green Day, or Smashing Pumpkins would have been), I still appreciate how it added the right tunes to The Craft experience as a whole. Another great movie that did this was Empire Records, which was introduced almost a year earlier.
Cassidy: Many teen movies are set around the popular girls but this premise surrounded the school “rejects,” specifically called the “Bitches of Eastwick.” How do you feel this approach set the movie apart?
Ted: It made it relatable. Currently, we live in a “nerd-positive” world. Comic books, gaming and things like Star Trek now are components of mainstream culture. It was not like that 20 years ago. The Craft not only takes the point of view of the outsider but it also takes the point of view of an outsider inside a group of outsiders. That sort of niche thinking has really only come into vogue in the last few years.
Ted: What scene in the film do you find most interesting?
Cassidy: I love the scene when they are having a sleepover and engaging in girl talk. This was their second sleepover scene and it did not have the same comical, fun feel as the first one. At this point, the girls were getting more serious with their spells and working in line with their wishes for something better. Sarah was intertwining school bully Laura Lizzie’s blonde hair into Rochelle’s (Rachel True) natural curls. Nancy (Fairuza Balk) was working a healing spell on Bonnie’s (Neve Campbell) back. This scene really gave great emotion to how the girls just wanted to be accepted at the end of the day. They each had insecurities brought on by what the teen society deemed as acceptable. Bonnie, very emotional, pleaded for “Manon” (the “higher being”) to take her scars away from her back. She wanted to feel loved and accepted, and just to feel beautiful.
Cassidy: The Craft came out in 1996 which was a prime era for the 90s teen culture films like Clueless and Scream. How would you rate The Craft among these others?
Ted: Honestly, right up there with the best of them. Clueless and Scream are interesting examples for you to name because there are facets of both in this movie. However, the competition is stiff. Movies like Dazed and Confused, Fear, Gummo, Jawbreaker, Pump Up the Volume, Cruel Intentions and Welcome to the Dollhouse define teen culture for that 10-year block of time. That being said, The Craft is both genuinely iconic and re-watchable enough that I’d said it holds its own with the best of the genre.
Cassidy: What attributes do you feel made Nancy the leader of the group?
Ted: She was smart and charismatic and ambitious. She was fun. She wasn’t afraid to be different. She was broken inside but wore a courageous mask.
Ted: If you had to re-cast the role of “Nancy,” who would you pick?
Cassidy: The first actress that comes to mind would have to be Brianna Hildebrand, known for her role in Deadpool as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. She definitely had the “look” in her Deadpool role that would have aligned perfectly for The Craft. The short hair, gothic detail, and sarcastic nature were all great attributes of Nancy. Honestly, Balk played the perfect role in The Craft. Her ice cold blue eyes and midnight black hair against her pale complexion really did her justice in the film. It also helped that she was a Wiccan in real life. #FunFact
Ted: Do you feel that the representation of the female characters is accurate?
Cassidy: The Craft presented a great representation of all the ladies in the film. During this time in the 90s, the gothic style was such a staple for teens. I really loved how wardrobe portrayed the girls’ appearances within the circle. The four attended a private school that required uniforms but they succeeded in adding chokers and chains to bring out their gothic, witchy style. They represented girls of that era and time. They were going through real world problems. Emotionally unstable, insecure, dysfunctional family settings, racism, promiscuity. The Craft managed to fit all these aspects into the film which made it relatable to many teens.
Ted: It’s safe to say that you and I have seen The Craft a number of times over the years. What do you believe is the lasting appeal of the film?
Cassidy: The Craft is an absolute classic for me. While it was one of the highest grossing witchcraft movies since the 80s, the seemingly cult success it had withstood the teen movie era alone. The 90s was undoubtedly a time for young adult movies including Clueless, Scream and Can’t Hardly Wait. All these movies give me a nostalgic feeling because I saw myself in them. I wanted to be a part of the circle in The Craft. Being emo and wearing spiked chokers and dark lipstick was so cool. Hell, you see how chokers are back in style with a vengeance in 2016! Innovative, fresh, films don’t go out of style either. The Craft held it’s own by showing the cool, sexy side of how to be a witch.
Cassidy: Who was your favorite witch and why?
Ted: Oh hell, this one is easy: Nancy (Fairuza Balk). Not only is she a talented, refined actor…but she is so damn sexy.
-Cassidy Edwards & Ted Zep