The Craft (1996)
October 9, 2020 2:05 PM - Subscribe

A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft, and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who anger them.

As we wait for The Craft: Legacy to release on October 28, what better way to spend spooky season than by rewatching the original?

Since the movie is over twenty years old now, hot takes from more recent years:
  • In Troubled Times, We Turn To Witches — & The Craft Led The Way - Refinery29: As far as high school films go, this one is unapologetically dark, tackling bullying, racism, poverty, body issues, abuse, suicide, sexual assault and otherness in a way that doesn’t feel like an after-school special. These are things that high schoolers deal with, and The Craft gives them the weight they deserve, while arming its characters with unusual tools to cope.
  • We are the weirdos, mister: An oral history of The Craft - Entertainment Weekly - When we finally found four, I said, “Let’s do this thing where the girls walk toward the camera in their witchy attire,” and we did it in slow motion and we put Portishead over it so that you got the feel of the movie.
  • Relax, It’s Only Magic: An Oral History Of ‘The Craft’ - Huffington Post - But it was a very strange movie for a studio, because it was way before young-adult movies and it didn’t exactly fall into a normal category. It was still a lot easier to get movies about teenage boys made than teenage girls.
Also, apparently, the bugs and snakes were real.
posted by bowtiesarecool (4 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's not a film for the ages and it's not without some problems but it aimed for and generally attained a higher level of quality than most of its contemporaries in the teen movie world.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:53 AM on October 10, 2020

Just rewatched it, and it holds up well, especially the effects. It's a lot deeper than it strictly needed to be; Nancy Downs' (Fairuza Balk) family situation in particular.

Witchcraft in 1996, iirc, worked well enough. Not sure it'd be successful now. Don't see a lot of goth/ witchy these days, but I don't hang out with highschoolers anymore.
posted by porpoise at 11:33 AM on October 10, 2020

Porpoise, I do get the feeling that there's a certain young demographic very into astrology/tarot/general witchiness right now, and I am slightly too old for it, but I don't care.

And yeah, I feel like for all the things I LOVED about it at the time as the core demographic of weirdo witchy teen, there are so many things about it that have aged very poorly. Like, basically everything to do with Rochelle - why did she have no parents? Why was the popular-girl racism so hamfisted? And Rachel True, the actress who played her, was and still is treated like absolute dirt by the creators of the movie and other people in fandom.

I'm hoping the new version/sequel/whatever it is keeps some of the things I loved about the original (actually consulting with witches, not gore-porn horror, centers teenage girls and their concerns and friendships) and improves in other ways, like having some actual female writers, and a more diverse cast that actually does that diversity right and doesn't resort to tokenism. The casting at least looks interesting, so we'll see! It left a pretty deep imprint on teen-me, and it'll be fun to see if this has a similar role for The Youths now! Seriously, though, I hope it's not super gory because I love Moderately Spooky movies but I can't deal with lots of gory violence.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 12:25 PM on October 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Sorry, one more thing I just discovered: Rachel True apparently has a tarot deck coming out this month as well! It looks very pretty.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 1:53 PM on October 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

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