Welcome, dear readers, to Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween. While every holiday captures the hearts and minds of the Substream staff, Halloween holds an especially important place in our hearts. Now that we’ve entered the month of October, it’s time for us to share our love for this holiday with you.
Every single day in October, our collection of spooky staff writers and ghoulish guest contributors will walk you through a horror or Halloween-themed movie they adore. The goal is to both celebrate the titans and icons of the season while also introducing you to new films and scares to fill your autumn nights. Lock your doors, check under your bed, and settle in as you join Substream for our 31 Days of Halloween.
Day 20: The Craft (1996)
In every young girl’s life there comes a movie, one that drops in and changes the course of their life before they realize it. When a campy movie like The Craft finds its way into the homes of young misfits, the cult following it earns is hardly a surprise. Rotten Tomatoes gives The Craft a measly 55%, giving me reason to believe Rotten Tomatoes isn’t all-knowing as I once thought, because The Craft is perfectly dramatic yet horrifyingly real. Directed by Andrew Fleming, The Craft was a surprise hit, exploring the story of four young women committed to invoking the spirit of fictional “Manon” by becoming true witches, which comes with a terrible price.
The movie begins with three witches, Bonnie (Neve Campbell), Nancy (Fairuza Balk), and Rochelle (Rachel True), who are looking for a fourth witch to help them summon the high and infinite powers of “Manon” with a North, South, East and West spell. In perfect harmony, Sarah (Robin Tunney) enters into a classic high school where the jocks make a sport out of taunting the witches, with whom she finds acceptance. For the first portion of The Craft, it’s a spooky teenage dream of four best friends casting innocent spells, causing chaos and levitating at sleepovers, but the film quickly turns dark in a predictable twist of events, a trait that probably contributed to many lackluster reviews.
Although predictable, The Craft has the inner workings of the perfect ‘90s movie with the four girls serving looks that today’s girls and boys would cast a spell for – from tiny round sunglasses and paperboy hats to chains and black skirts – location sets like corny locker chats, and special effect lightning strikes. Watching the film in 2019 makes me want to add copious amounts of screengrabs to my Instagram to bump up my ‘90s horror aesthetic, which probably says more about me than the actual film, but you catch my drift here. Director Andrew Fleming really ran with everything that decade of film had to offer while touching on topics like family abuse, suicide, and self-deprecation while maintaining a mysterious undertone of power-hungry evils. Much of the movie’s cult following comes from the quotes such as “We are the weirdos, mister.” and “Oh relax, it’s only magic.”
Sarah happens to be a real witch and in a sunny Los Angeles field, the four girls drink wine mixed with each other’s blood to summon what they want for themselves. Bonnie, who has terrible scars all over her body, asks “Manon” for beauty, Rochelle asks for kindness towards her bullies, Sarah asks for the jock-leader Chris’ love, and Nancy asks for all of “Manon’s” power. After greedily demanding all of the power, Nancy slurps up the rest of the cocktail and it becomes clear that she will take on the role of whatever evil is being foreshadowed. The greatest character in The Craft is hands-down Nancy, just because of the haunting look that Balk perfectly executes with ice blue, smoldering eyes and crackling voice that she uses to cut through the souls of whoever dares cross her. As Nancy transforms into pure, selfish evil and takes the rest of the girls down the path with her, Sarah finds herself wishing she had never joined their coven.
The Craft could be described as “Carrie meets Clueless”, a perfect combination of tragic downfalls and clique-motivated teenage girls. Watch The Craft this Halloween season to reminisce on spooky teenage memories!