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
Starring
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]

Plot[edit]

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 forms a friendship with a group of girls rumored to be witches, Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk) and Rochelle (Rachel True). At the same time, Sarah becomes attracted to the popular Chris (Skeet Ulrich). Bonnie, Nancy and Rochelle worship a powerful deity named "Manon".

Sarah exhibits supernatural powers from the onset of the film, and her new friends believe that she will complete their coven, making them all powerful. 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, it is later revealed that Sarah has attempted suicide in the past, presumably, because of difficulty in controlling her magic.

After a date with Chris, Sarah is upset to find that he has spread a false rumor that they have had sex. When Sarah confronts him, he treats her disrespectfully in front of his friends; in response, Sarah casts a love spell upon him, while Rochelle casts a revenge spell on a hateful racist bully, Laura Lizzie (Christine Taylor), Bonnie casts a spell for beauty, and Nancy for power. It very soon becomes clear that the spells have been successful: Chris becomes infatuated with Sarah, scars that Bonnie has on her back miraculously heal, and Rochelle's bully, Laura, begins to lose her hair. Nancy goes further by causing her abusive stepfather to have a heart attack and die, this enables Nancy and her mother to cash in on his life insurance policy and move out of the trailer park they had been living in and into a better home.

Nancy becomes greedy for power and encourages the others to join her in a rite called "Invocation of the Spirit", on completion of the spell, she is struck by lightning. Afterward she lacks empathy and begins taking risks with her life and those of others.

The spells that the girls have cast soon begin to show negative consequences: Bonnie becomes aggressively narcissistic; Rochelle finds Laura Lizzie traumatized by her baldness and sobbing hysterically; Chris attempts to rape Sarah when she rejects his continual advances. In retaliation, Nancy uses a glamour spell to make herself look like Sarah, attempting to fool Chris into having sex with her, she is interrupted by the real Sarah who tells Nancy to leave with her. Chris, upset at being fooled, tells Nancy that she is jealous. Nancy then uses her power to kill Chris by throwing him out of a window.

Sarah performs a binding spell to prevent Nancy from doing more harm, but this does not work and the coven turns on Sarah, they invade her dreams, threaten her and use their powers of illusion to make Sarah believe that her parents have been killed in an accident. They torment her with visions of swarms of snakes, insects and rats and try to persuade her to commit suicide, before Nancy cuts Sarah's wrists herself. Sarah successfully "invokes the spirit" and is able to heal herself and fight back, she scares off Bonnie and Rochelle by bringing their worst fears to life and defeats Nancy, binding her power to prevent her from doing harm.

Nancy is committed to a psychiatric hospital and Sarah is the only coven member who does not lose her powers.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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.

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

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.

Sequel[edit]

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]

Soundtrack[edit]

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 54:17
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 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

References[edit]

External links[edit]