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The Craft

Fatal Femmes

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Chances are, if you grew up in the 1990s, witches were never far from your viewing habits; Buffy’s best friend Willow and Sabrina the Teenage Witch cast their spells over television screens, while films like The Witches, Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic became Halloween staples. However, no film quite had the same impact on the figure of the witch in popular culture as 1996’s The Craft. Critics were fairly dismissive on release, but it was clear to audiences that The Craft had captured something magical. In some ways it did for witches what The Lost Boys had done for vampires the previous decade; it made them young, modern, dangerous, and it made them cool.

“…a rallying cry for anyone who ever felt like an outsider”

Telling the story of a teenage coven in Los Angeles, The Craft succeeds because it treats its four leads as complex characters, and is just as committed to authentically capturing their emotionally turbulent inner lives as it is to creeping us out. The darkness comes as much from its human characters as it does from the displays of occult power, exploring issues like sexual assault, racism and suicide with sensitivity and, like Carrie White before them, the four witches at the heart of the story soon harness the power inherent to them as teenage girls with deadly results. 

The Craft is also, simply, a lot of fun, and the fashion, soundtrack, and general ‘90s style pack an irresistible nostalgic punch. The performances are all strong, but it’s Fairuza Balk’s now-iconic performance as Nancy that stands out the most, her black lip-sticked, Cheshire Cat grin probably solely responsible for a number of ill-judged rebellious teenage haircuts. The Craft ultimately became a touchstone for a whole generation, a rallying cry for anyone who ever felt like an outsider, and a lasting celebration of the power of female friendship. All together now: “We are the weirdos, Mister”.