It’s (arguably) the definitive movie about witches. Sure, Hocus Pocus was fun and sure, The Witches was creepy (nobody mention Practical Magic) BUT The Craft had every teenage girl in the nineties wanting to play light as a feather, stiff as a board at their next sleepover. It was cool, it was creepy and it was cult. It ceaselessly became a 90s classic. In the name of Manon, we look at why.
There are high school mean girls; then there is Nancy Downs. Fairuza Balk has a penchant for playing dark roles, but her portrayal of “white trash” Goth Nancy has become the defining point of her career. The brilliance is the set-up: Nancy is weird, certainly. Yet she’s cool and damaged, sexy and loyal. You want to hang with her and you want to be on her good side. She’s a likable character that slowly begins to tip into crazy, Satanic bitch territory each minute the film ticks on. By the time her toes are dragging along the carpet and she’s screaming “HE’S SORRY! HE’S SORRY! HE’S SORRY! HE’S SORRY! HE’S SORRY!” Nancy is firmly cemented as a great cinematic antagonist. When Bellatrix Lestrange was a teenager, she would have been Nancy.
Letters To Cleo, Jewel, Matthew Sweet, Our Lady Peace, Elastica, Juliana Hatfield, Love Spit Love = pure nineties gold.
Ain’t nobody messin’ with my clique
Featuring a supporting cast of nineties stalwarts (Skeet Ulrich, Breckin Meyer, Christine Taylor), it’s the central four witches that bring the magic to The Craft. Balk as Nancy we’ve mentioned, but scream queen Neve Campbell brought a lovely set of vulnerabilities to the role of Bonnie. In a ballsy move for the time, Rachel True’s character Rochelle was used as a way to tackle racism and white girl privilege. And it was just the start for Robin Tunney playing the central Wiccan Sarah. Sweet and naïve to begin with, as Nancy developed so too did Sarah as she became strong and confident in the face of adversary. It was a layered a performance from Tunney that elevated the movie from B territory and has seen her continue to have a career in Hollywood.
Black fishnets. Short skirts. Pentagram pendants. Heeled boots. Flowy dresses. Pretty crosses. Black nail polish. Dusty florals. Red wine lips. Studded chokers. Knee high socks.
Not the kind who shake it like a Polaroid picture, the kind a lot of teenagers associate with in high school if they’re not into ‘certain’ things or dress a ‘certain’ way. If you were an outcast in high school, the prospect of finding your very own posse of similar minded outcasts who embraced their weirdness was THE DREAM. If only say you too could lower your glasses and coolly reply:
“We are the weirdos mister.”
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.
Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.