Let’s all collectively wish The Craft a very happy 22nd birthday and let’s all remember why this movie is pure cinematic perfection.
There are some movies that are just pure perfection. Movies that distinctly represent a certain time where watchers who lived during that time can watch it and let the nostalgia wash over them. One of those movies, for me, is The Craft. The Craft, directed by Andrew Flemming, was released on this day, May 3, 22 years ago and to this day is heralded as one of the late ’90s classics. I will fight someone to the death to uphold the opinion that this is one of the most perfect movies ever made.
GAWD look at that wonderful late ’90s style. Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
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I can just practically hear the clicks of people hitting the back button but before you do, let me explain why. I’m not saying The Craft is THE most perfect movie but assuredly belongs among the ranks . It so perfectly embodies the time period it was made in, it’s practically a time capsule. The clothes, the music, the actors, the subject; it all screams late ’90s.
For the maybe two people in the world that have never seen it, The Craft follows Sarah, played by Robin Tunney, who just moved to LA with her father and his wife. Sarah has a troubled past and is starting anew. Sarah isn’t your stereotypical shy girl protagonist that gets pushed around until some man comes to her rescue. Sarah isn’t a bully but takes no shit and I respect that. The group of girls that are rumored around the school to be witches catches her eye and, like the rest of us, she thinks, “I must have them as my friends.”
Those girls include the incomparable Fairuza Balk as Nancy. This was Fairuza’s heyday. While I was already a fan of hers from Return to Oz and The Worst Witch as a child, this made me love her even more. I was like Nancy: dark with a love for the creepier side of life. I loved her fashion, her nose ring and her attitude; she was gorgeous. Hell, I turned into her when I grew up because I, too, wanted to be a Goth witch queen. I was one of the weirdos too, mister.
The other 2/3 of that high school coven was Rochelle played by the gorgeous Rachel True and the shy portrayal of Bonnie by Scream queen Neve Campbell. Scream was released the same year as The Craft, so Neve was carving her way into the horror genre in 1996.
Sarah exhibits powers and when the girls see that, she is invited to be their “fourth” in a coven that comes together to do magick for a deity known as “Manon.” When the girls come together, they find out that power can get what they want but they have to be careful what they wish for.
Light as a feather, stiff as a board. Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
We love this movie for the same reason that we love Charmed only a few short years later. We all wanted to be gorgeous, powerful witches that were their own heroes. Sarah really IS her own hero in this movie. No one can protect or save her but herself and it’s empowering. She had all the power and strength in herself and women who saw this watched it and wanted to be that.
This is a female-centric movie where the entire plot doesn’t culminate around getting the guy. Getting the guy in this movie wasn’t the realization of self worth but of realizing that getting the guy wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. Around this time there was also an increase in interest around New Age beliefs and Wicca and this movie took advantage of that, which was smart on their part.
This movie is perfection. I will fight you all tooth and nail over it. This is the ’90s. This is empowerment. This is bad ass alternative fashion on some equally gorgeous and bad ass women. Women we all wanted to be and still do. Go and watch this movie again and repeat after me, “Now is the time. This is the hour. Ours is the magic. Ours is the power.” Want to know how The Craft is like The Lost Boys? Click here to find out!