All of them bitches…
While channel surfing last night looking for something “dumb but fun”, I was thrilled to see that The Craft had just started. I grabbed some popcorn (not really, I’m dieting) and sat back to enjoy one of my favorite teen flicks.
Stacked against today’s troubled waters of Twitter debates among the professionally offended, The Craft is deliciously politically incorrect. Yes, the racist remark miss blonde perfect Laura says to Rochelle in the girls’ locker room is horrible. But that is precisely what makes it’s so satisfying when Rochelle’s spell kicks in and Laura’s hair falls out later in the shower? Don’t we love that moment when Laura (now wearing a very bad blonde wig) suddenly wants to be Rochelle’s friend at the popular kids’ party?
If we remember back to our own high school days, we have to admit that things really did feel this intense, and that is one of the many things The Craft gets right.
I remember when the film first came out over twenty years (seriously?) ago, Siskel & Ebert admonished it for being mean-spirited. Well, for all of Gene’s brilliance and Roger’s feminism, they were never on the receiving end of nasty girl stuff.
The little girls understand
Once when I was visiting an occult shop in New Orleans, a little girl standing in line with her mother picked up a voodoo doll and asked what it was for. I remember the mother calmly (and reluctantly) explaining how the doll was used to cast a spell on someone who was mean to you. The little girl’s face lit up and she said, “Oh, I need this for Cindy!” Ha! I could only guess what Cindy did to deserve it. Girls and women can be mean as hell to each other, especially when one betrays the proverbial coven.
I delight in every act of teenage vengeance in this film. It’s satisfying to see the hot guy completely at the spurned girl’s mercy after she casts a love spell on him. What girl hasn’t had that fantasy?
There is so much to love about this movie. I particularly enjoy the four lead actresses. This quartet of sexy misfits includes a curvy Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney who is a talented dramatic actress, and gorgeous Rachel True. But of course stealing the show from all of them is Fairuza Balk. With her slicked black hair, widow’s peak, and pointed toed witch boots scraping across the floor as she elevates, she is the epitome of 90’s goth. Her Nancy character is tender, brutally honest, vengeful, sympathetic, and scary crazy. We all knew a girl like this. Well, perhaps not that extreme, but close.
Supposedly a remake is in the works. Like many teen movies from the 80’s and 90’s, I can’t imagine any of this getting past today’s purity police. I’ll stick to the original, which after all these years, still stings like rubbing alcohol in a paper cut.