The Craft (film)

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The Craft
four young student girls walking in the rain towards the viewer with the film's title ,credits and release date below them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrew Fleming
Produced by Douglas Wick
Written by
  • Andrew Fleming
  • Peter Filardi
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Alexander Gruszynski
Edited by Jeff Freeman
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 3, 1996 (1996-05-03)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $55.7 million[1]

The Craft is a 1996 American supernatural horror film directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True. The film's plot centers on a group of four outcast teenage girls who pursue witchcraft for their own gain, but soon encounter negative repercussions from their actions. The film was released on May 3, 1996, by Columbia Pictures and it was a surprise hit, earning $55 million against a budget of $15 million. In the years since its release, the film has accrued a significant cult following.[2][3]


Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney), a troubled teenager, has just moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles with her father and stepmother. At her new school, she encounters a group of outcast girls rumored to be witches, Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk) and Rochelle (Rachel True). At the same time, Sarah becomes attracted to a popular football player Chris (Skeet Ulrich), who warns her against associating with the three girls.

After Chris humiliates Sarah by spreading false rumors about having had sex with her, Sarah forms a friendship with the other girls. Sarah exhibits supernatural powers from the onset of the film (revealed as being a "natural witch," i.e. born with her powers) and her new friends believe that she will complete their coven, making them all-powerful. They tell her that they worship a powerful god named "Manon", who controls the elements. When Sarah is harassed by a vagrant with a snake (whom she had encountered before in her new house), he is immediately hit by a car and the girls believe that together they willed it to happen.

Still pining for Chris, Sarah casts a love spell upon him; Rochelle casts a revenge spell on a hateful racist bully, Laura Lizzie (Christine Taylor); Bonnie casts a spell to heal the scars which cover her body; and Nancy for liberation from working-class poverty. It becomes clear that the spells have been successful: Chris becomes infatuated with Sarah, Bonnie's scars are completely healed by an experimental gene therapy, Laura loses her hair, and Nancy's abusive stepfather has a heart attack and dies, leaving a large insurance policy that makes her mother rich.

Nancy lusts for more power and encourages the others to join her in a rite called "Invocation of the Spirit". The four enact the ceremony on the beach, where each of the girls "Call the Corners" and invoke the four elements. On completion of the spell, Nancy is struck by lightning, and all four girls fall unconscious. The next morning Nancy is seen walking on water and claims to be infused with the essence of Manon. She lacks empathy and begins taking risks with her life and those of others.

The girls' spells soon bring negative consequences: Bonnie becomes aggressively narcissistic; Laura Lizzie is traumatized by her baldness and becomes hysterical; and Chris becomes dangerously obsessed with Sarah, trying to rape her before she escapes. Nancy uses a glamour spell to make herself look like Sarah, and then seduces Chris. They are interrupted by the real Sarah, who insists that Nancy leave with her. Chris is upset about being fooled, and taunts Nancy that she is jealous. Nancy uses her power to push him out of a second-story window, killing him.

Sarah performs a binding spell to prevent Nancy from doing more harm. The binding fails, and the coven turns on Sarah. They invade her dreams and threaten to kill her. Sarah visits Lirio (Assumpta Serna), the proprietress of a magic shop, who tells Sarah that she too must invoke the spirit in order to fight Nancy. They are interrupted by another of Nancy's spells before they can do so, and Sarah flees home. Once there Nancy tricks Sarah into believing that her father and stepmother have died in a plane crash. The three girls try to persuade her to commit suicide, before Nancy cuts Sarah's wrists herself. While she lays dying, Sarah manages to invoke "Manon" and heal herself. With her new superior powers, Sarah scares off Bonnie and Rochelle by creating hallucinations about their worst fears (Bonnie sees her face completely covered in burn scars and Rochelle sees herself as bald as Laura Lizzie). When Sarah encounters Nancy she tells her that Manon is angry with her for abusing the powers he has given her. She attempts to bind Nancy's powers once more, but Nancy attacks her. The two battle with their powers before Sarah manages to subdue Nancy, slamming her into a mirror and knocking her out.

Weeks later, Bonnie and Rochelle visit Sarah to apologize, arguing that they only caused her harm because Nancy made them. Both girls have lost their powers and ask Sarah to help retrieve them. She rejects both girls, and as they leave, mocking her under their breath, she creates a sudden powerful lightning storm which strikes a tree branch and narrowly avoids hitting Bonnie and Rochelle. Sarah warns them to be careful if they don't want to end up like Nancy. The final scene shows Nancy committed to a psychiatric hospital for insanity. She is bound to a bed, believing she is still empowered by Manon, as a nurse gives her a shot to subdue her.



Shooting took place throughout Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles International Airport, Sunset Boulevard, and Broadway. Verdugo Hills High School was the setting for the fictional Catholic school, St. Benedict's Academy; production designer Marek Dobrowolski added various religious statues throughout the building and the grounds. Sarah's home in the film was a two-story Spanish mansion, and the interiors were built on a sound stage at Culver City Studios. The occult bookstore was shot at the El Adobe Marketplace in Hollywood Boulevard. The room was repainted and enhanced, and occult icons such as candles, stigmas, religious statues, masks and tribal dolls were added for effect. Jensen's Recreation Center in Echo Park was chosen to avoid overuse of frequently seen Los Angeles locations. During filming, an unrelated accident occurred in which a child was injured; the production's medic saw this and called paramedics. The makeshift altar was set in Wood Ranch, a location that Dobrowolski called the hardest to find. Dobrowolski wanted to avoid manicured parks like Griffith Park. The beach summoning took place at Leo Carrillo State Park, which was chosen because its crest made it seem less visually boring.[4]

The makeup effects were designed and created by Tony Gardner and his special effects company Alterian, Inc., which also created the beached sharks for the film.



The Craft holds a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews.[5] Emanuel Levy of Variety described it as "a neatly crafted film that begins most promisingly as a black comedy a la Heathers, but gradually succumbs to its tricky machinery of special effects".[6]

Fairuza Balk and Robin Tunney won the Best Fight award at 1997 MTV Movie Awards; Balk also acknowledged fellow nominee Jackie Chan in her acceptance speech.

Box office[edit]

The film opened at number 1 at the North American box office, making US$6,710,995. The movie was a sleeper hit, which Columbia attributed to teenagers and young women, who responded to its themes.[7] According to Box Office Mojo, The Craft is the 10th highest-grossing film since 1980 dealing with the genre of witches.[8]

A straight-to-DVD sequel was in the works,[9] but was terminated.[10]

Home media[edit]

Following the film's theatrical release, The Craft was released in VHS format in the United States on April 1, 1997 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. A second VHS edition was made available from Sony on April 14, 1998; this edition contained the film's original widescreen format. In the United Kingdom, the film was released on VHS by home entertainment company Cinema Club on August 6, 2001. The film has been made available as a double feature in the UK; Cinema Club released it with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on December 27, 2000, and Uca Home Entertainment released it with Disturbing Behavior on March 17, 2003. Cinema Club also release it in a triple feature, included with Urban Legend and Phantoms.

In the United States, the film made its DVD debut on August 6, 1997 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a 'Deluxe Widescreen Presentation' edition. September 12, 2000 saw the release of the 'Special Edition' which featured a collection of special features including an Isolated Music Score, Director's Commentary, 3 Deleted Scenes, Original Featurette, Theatrical Trailers, Talent Files and Exclusive Making-Of Featurette: "Conjuring The Craft". Sony released the film with Wild Things as part of a 'Double Feature' on November 23, 2007, and another released was made on June 1, 2010 in a 'Dreadtime Stories' edition with The Woods. The Craft was first made in available on DVD in the United Kingdom on September 14, 1998 by Sony and the 'Collector's Edition' was released by Sony on December 4, 2000. Another standard edition became available on December 10, 2007 via Uca.

The film was released on LaserDisc in 1996 as a deluxe widescreen presentation.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on UMD for Play Station Portable (PSP) in the United States and United Kingdom on May 20, 2008.

On October 13, 2009, Sony made The Craft available on Blu-ray format in the United States. It was released in Australia on Blu-ray on June 2, 2010 via Blu-ray by Sony.

The Craft was also released in several other countries via VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. Such countries include Germany where it is known as Der Hexenclub.


In May 2016, Sony Pictures announced that a sequel of The Craft was currently in development and would be written and directed by Leigh Janiak. The announcement of the sequel spawned negative reactions from fans of the original and from Fairuza Balk, who stated that remakes "in general" are a bad idea.[11][12][13]


The Craft: Music From the Motion Picture
TheCraft soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released April 30, 1996 (1996-04-30)
Genre Rock, alternative rock, indie rock, pop rock
Length 56:06
Label Columbia Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[14]
Discogs 3.2/5 stars[15]
ITunes 3/5 stars[16]

The Craft: Music from the Motion Picture was released in 1996 on CD and cassette, one month before the film's official theatrical release in the United States. The soundtrack contains a collection of songs, to suit the theme of the movie, from various artists including Heather Nova, Letters to Cleo, and Space Hog. Nova's version of "I Have the Touch", originally performed by Peter Gabriel, which featured during the end credits of the film, was exclusively included on the soundtrack, and is not available as a single, or on any of Nova's albums, nor does she perform the song in concert. The tracks in film, titled "Sick Child", "Fallin'" and "Scorn" performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Connie Francis and Portishead respectively, were omitted from the soundtrack due to copyright issues from their record labels. However, they were only included in the film as part of an arrangement with PolyGram Film & Television Licensing. An uncredited bonus track, "Bells, Books and Candles", composed by Graeme Revell for the film's score, was included on the soundtrack. A follow-up soundtrack, The Original Motion Picture Score, was released on on June 18, 1996 from Varèse Sarabande, and contained the film's score which was entirely composed and produced by Graeme Revell.[17]

Music from the Motion Picture

No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Tomorrow Never Knows" John Lennon & Paul McCartney Our Lady Peace 4:14
2. "I Have the Touch" Peter Gabriel Heather Nova 4:17
3. "All This and Nothing" Vinnie Dombroski Sponge 4:19
4. "Dangerous Type" Ric Ocasek Letters to Cleo 3:39
5. "How Soon Is Now?" Steven Morrissey & John Marr Love Spit Love 4:25
6. "Dark Secret" Matthew Sweet Matthew Sweet 4:04
7. "Witches Song" Marianne Faithfull, Joe Mavety, Barry Reynolds, Terry Stannard & Steve York Juliana Hatfield 4:35
8. "Jump Into the Fire" Harry Nilsson Tripping Daisy 5:45
9. "Under the Water" Jewel Kilcher & Ralph Sall Jewel 4:58
10. "Warning" Tim DeLaughter & Ralph Sall All Too Much 4:44
11. "Spastica" Justine Frischmann Elastica 2:31
12. "The Horror" Bryce Goggin Spacehog 4:49
13. "Bells, Books and Candles" Graeme Revell Graeme Revell 4:47


External links[edit]