The Craft (1996-Andrew Fleming)



The relevance of this film can’t be undermind in relation to fashion, television and music. This was the mid 90s era at peak. It came out the exact same year as ‘Scream'(1996) and also features alot of the same actors. This was also around the time Johnny Depp, Drew Barrymore and Alicia Silverstone were extreme pop culture. Along with Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Biggie, TLC and Tupac.

While teen pop culture already existed it tended to focus on male movie stars and boybands. As the mid 90’s arrived so did Clueless, Scream and the Craft. Cinematic tales of either female survival and heroinism or friendships and sisterhood. These 90s teen female dramas would eventually go on to inspire Buffy the vampire slayer, and now much later Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and 90210 the reboot.

In the Craft this circle of female friends depend on each other emotionally and socially while feeling unpopular at an elite Hollywood private school. After intense bullying from the so-called popular pretty rich kids they decide to form an occult witch coven. This is more of pass time than a serious project. Its the lead character Sarah’s arrival which is the catalyst for the unfortunate bizarre chain of events. With originally only three friends, Sarah’s appearance means that the coven is finally complete. North, East, South and West.

Bonnie (Neve Campbell)

Neve Campbell was and is the main female lead in the scream horror saga. It’s here to note due to such rise to fame mid 90s she took a career time out away from the spotlight. She did very recently appear in House of Cards 2016. In the Craft she plays Bonnie. Shy, smart and beautiful. Extremely shy infact due to a horrorfic accidental burn scar which covers her back. She blames no one and is learning to deal with it. However she is in attendance at a school which is populated by girls who are popular, loud and judgemental who taunt her. With the witch coven complete she casts a spell to rid her of the large mark. The mythical god they all now answer to completes it. Unfortunately after a few weeks Bonnie becomes arrogant with her new found body perfection. She starts aggressively chasing boys and becomes aware of her new appearance and it’s influence over people. Moral of Bonnies tale is to make do with what you originally are as it may be why people understand and appreciate you.

Rochelle (Rachel True)

Rochelle is also smart, attractive and is always compassionate. She is African American and unfortunately at this elitist L.A school her classmates do not let her forget how lucky she is to be there. This may seem far fetched in a film released in 1996 but it is not. Her only form of release and outlet outside studying is this group of female teen friends who do not judge her. They treat her equally. However harsh comments from privileged mean girls make her more inclined to join and invest time and energy into the coven. Its more than just the occult and witchcraft it is a form of sisterhood who are against all outsiders.

Sarah (Sarah Bailey)

Sarah’s character is the catalyst for these chain of events. It is her arrival which gives actual real occult power and momentum to the coven. She can do magic naturally on her own. She has never known why and actually doesn’t care. Sarah assumes this has all been coincidence.

“Sometimes I will want a loud room I am in to be silent and I end up deaf for three days”

“It was once so hot I wanted it to rain and a pipe burst and the house flooded”

It transpires her biological mother who died during childbirth was an extremely powerful witch. She did not know, she is also the most logical and studious….

“What happened to you Bonnie…you used to be lovely, now you are completely narcissistic . I think we have made something in nature unbalanced”

Nancy (Fairuza Balk)

Nancy is by far ring leader of the gang. She is on a superficial level visually the most underground gothic in appearance. This is a visual narrative signifier for themes ahead of darkness. However she is pretty, smart, sassy and respects all women and races. At school she is often made to feel ‘white trash’ due to gaining a place through a scholarship fund. Her role and character is important as she steers spells onto a dark course. She is depressed which she releases through anger. This is aimed at over privileged but ungrateful mean girls and men in general. Her spell is interesting because it is the most understandable but dark. She by unplanned coincidence and rage kills her pervert stepfather through one scream. This leads to life insurance for both her and her mother. They become wealthy and in turn Nancy becomes all the people she originally hated and found pompous.

All of the complex tales of these school girls combined with the moral lessons beyond the supernatural theme inform a lot of female television today.

Von Von Lamunu


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