Not every movie has the privilege of earning the title of “cult classic.” In order to gain cult status, the movie’s fortunes need to go a certain way. One example of a cult classic is 1996’s horror drama, The Craft. At the time, there hadn’t really been any movie quite like it. A fascinating detail about the making of The Craft is that the filmmakers hired a real-life witch as a technical advisor to ensure that the movie depicted Wiccan practices in the most realistic way. Let’s take a look at some more of the strangest and intriguing details you might not have known about The Craft.
They Performed Real Rituals
Amazingly, it has been over two decades since The Craft was released, combining a witchcraft horror with a high-school drama in the coolest of ways. But there are some weird and wonderful things you might not know about the ’90s cult classic.
Although The Craft was “just a movie,” the actresses learned how to perform authentic Wiccan rituals. This was achieved after the studios hired a real-life “witch” as their Wiccan technical advisor – Dianic Elder Priestess Pat Devin.
Fairuza Balk Is Actually Wiccan
Being genuinely interested in the subject matter of a movie can help an actor/actress a lot when preparing for their role. For Fairuza Balk, starring in a movie about young witches at a high school was a dream come true.
According to director Andrew Fleming, he liked the fact that Balk already had an interest in paganism. In fact, Fleming would often consult Balk to make sure that all things Wiccan-related were accurate. At one point, Balk even bought an occult store.
Sarah Wore A Wig
What casual Craft fans might not realize is that Robin Tunney, who plays the protagonist of the movie, Sarah, was actually sporting a buzz cut for the entirety of the production.
As a result, she wore a wig while filming. This is because Tunney had only just completed filming for her role in the movie Empire Records, which required her to shave most of her hair off. “We actually got her a wig and did a screen test with her with longer hair,” Andrew Fleming said.
Neat Little Tricks
Due to its low budget, The Craft required some neat trickery in order to make its moments of magic as realistic as possible.
During the scene that Rochelle is supposedly levitating, a green screen was used, with Rachel True being placed in a hydraulic lift. Although it was undoubtedly peculiar for True to film, the end result was pretty awesome. Also, when a pencil appears to be standing up by itself, the effects team placed a metal rod through its center.
Casting The Craft
Amazingly, it took a staggering 85 actresses to audition before the four main roles were finally decided upon. Some of the biggest names to audition included the likes of Angelina Jolie and Alicia Silverstone.
Even Holly Marie Combs, who is best known for her role in fellow witch drama Charmed, auditioned for the role of Bonnie. Also, the studio wanted Rachel as Rochelle so much that the character was rewritten as an African-American and given a racism subplot.
The Craft Inspired Katy Perry
The Craft has made its way into many different areas of pop culture. For example, Katy Perry has admitted that the movie heavily influenced her while writing the hit single “Dark Horse.”
In an interview, Perry described the lyrics as “witchy and dark,” specifically from the perspective of “a witch warning [a] man to not fall in love with [her].” With lyrics such as “this love will make you levitate” and “you wanna play with magic,” The Craft‘s influence is obvious.
Over the years, nearly everyone involved with the making of The Craft has been keen to reunite and celebrate the movie’s 1996 release.
However, when the “band got back together” for a famous reunion in 2013, only three out of the four leads came together for a special screening of the horror classic. Although fans were excited to see Robin Tunney, Rachel True, and Neve Campbell back together again at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, they couldn’t help but wonder why Fairuza Balk was absent…
Studio Didn’t Like It
Although The Craft was ultimately a commercial success, raking in $55.7 million, it took a while for Columbia Pictures to greenlight the project.
At first, the studios simply didn’t like the movie’s premise. This was largely due to the fact that a movie starring four young female leads was pretty rare back in the ’90s. However, when the filmmakers first saw a shot of the four witches walking towards the camera with all that attitude, they knew they were on to something big.
Strange Things Happened On Set
While Andrew Fleming and co. were excited to make a movie about witchcraft, nothing could prepare them for the strange phenomena that would ensue on set. One of the strangest days on set came while filming the spiritual scene on the beach.
Not only did bats fly over the set, but the tide came in and extinguished the candles they were using. Also, it was reported that a white owl constantly followed the cast and crew wherever they were filming a scene.
Any diehard fan of the hit TV series Charmed will be familiar with the theme song, “How Soon Is Now?” Although the show used the Love Spit Love cover of The Smiths original, it was originally used in another fictional work involving young witches – The Craft.
Maybe it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that The Craft came out before both Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Who knows, maybe these shows wouldn’t have existed without the 1996 movie.
Witches Stick Together
More often than not, actors and actresses whose characters were friends like to keep things professional. When everything’s a wrap, the co-stars go their separate ways until they potentially star again in something else.
However, Neve Campbell and Rachel True, who played Bonnie and Rochelle respectively, became best friends when working together on The Craft and are still close to this very day. There have been a number of times that paparazzi have seen the pair out and about together.
2 Horrors For The Price Of 1
Any fervent horror fan will notice a similarity between The Craft and another movie that was released in 1996 – Scream.
After starring in the high school witch flick together, Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich would work together just a few months later on Wes Craven’s slasher classic. Interestingly, Drew Barrymore was originally slated to play the lead role. However, due to scheduling conflicts, she ended up playing a more minor role and the character of Sidney went to Campbell instead.
Smoke & Mirrors
One of the repeated motifs throughout The Craft, particularly in its second half, is the use of mirrors. Every single time, it is used for symbolic purposes.
For example, when Rochelle recognizes the harm that has been caused by her spell, her own reflection turns away from her. There are also moments in the movie when characters use mirrors to hide. And finally, Sarah knocks Nancy out cold by throwing her into a mirror, smashing it in the process.
The Cure Inspired The Craft
One of the biggest influences The Craft had on pop culture was its use of clothes. Due to the undeniable cool factor of the way that the four witches dressed, many fans of the movie were keen to dress in the same sort of way.
However, little did these ’90s teens know that it was originally rock band The Cure who dressed in such a way. “What if those witchcraft girls in high school dressed like they were in The Cure?” Andrew Fleming said.
School Was Out For Years
One of the typical goofs often associated with high school movies is that the characters in question are often played by much older actors/actresses.
This was no different in The Craft, as all of the main high school characters were portrayed by actors who were at least in their 20s. The oldest performers who played high school students were Rachel True and Skeet Ulrich. The former was 29 years old at the time, while the latter was 26.
While no official sequels or reboots of The Craft have been released as of yet, fans have since taken the source material and transformed it into a number of new mediums.
One of the most famous adaptions of The Craft is a drag stage show, which stars Peaches Christ. “Now is the time. This is the hour. Drag is our magic. Drag is our power!” is the tagline of the show. Then, in 2014, The Craft: The Musical was first workshopped.
Some actors and actresses struggle to cry when their character is required to. However, Robin Tunney didn’t have that problem, despite the script calling for her character to cry on multiple occasions.
Whenever she was asked to bring the waterworks, Tunney achieved the feat with minimal effort. All she needed to do was close her eyes, turn away from the camera for a couple of minutes and just like that, she was a blubbering mess. Tears have never come so easily.
Normally, cult classics are defined by the nature in which they are initially received by moviegoers. Usually, these types of movies receive mixed reactions from the audience. The Craft was no different, proving to be extremely polarizing. Most who watched it seemed to either love it or hate it.
However, even its biggest critics recognized, in retrospect, The Craft‘s significance on society and pop culture. According to Complex magazine, the movie “feels much more progressive than many of the movies that come out today.”
It Was Not A Nightmare
One of the most memorable scenes from The Craft sees three of the witches invade Sarah’s dreams and torment her with snakes, rats, and insects.
In order to bring the scene to life, the studio actually brought thousands of the aforementioned creatures for the movie’s epic climax. In one scene, when Fairuza Balk’s character Nancy gets covered in creepy crawlies, the filmmakers actually used a dummy to make it look like bugs were crawling over her face.
Manon’s Not Real?
Many fans of The Craft don’t realize that Manon, the god invoked by the witches, was actually made up by the writers. This is because the technical advisor “didn’t want hordes of teenagers running down to the beach or out to the woods invoking anybody real.”
However, this didn’t stop misguided spiritual enthusiasts from including Manon in the literature following the film’s release. Funnily enough, Manon sounds very similar to Mananan, who is the Gaelic god of the sea.
The Spiritual Wrap
Real-life “witch” Pat Devin was hired as technical advisor and was heavily involved in all things witch-related. In fact, she had a huge part to play in a real-life spiritual event on set.
“On the last day of shooting at the beach, one of the actresses asked me to Dedicate her to the Path of the Goddess,” she said. “We walked up the beach in the dark, away from the lights, to a cove where I Dedicated her and presented her to all four quarters.”
DVD Sequel Got Cancelled
After developing something of a cult following over the years, it makes sense that filmmakers would be interested in returning to the world of Sarah, Nancy, Bonnie, and Rochelle.
In fact, there was scheduled to be a straight-to-DVD sequel, which would focus heavily on Nancy’s character during her time in the psychiatric facility. However, the plan was soon shelved. Like the way that the original movie polarized moviegoers in the first place, fans were torn about the prospect of a sequel.
The Klimt Easter Egg
Like any movie with a bit of substance, The Craft has a handful of Easter eggs that add new layers to the themes that the movie’s trying to convey.
For example, when Sarah is walking through her home, which is full of snakes, rats, and bugs, a whiteboard behind her has the name Gustav Klimt written on it. Klimt was an Austrian artist whose work often presented the theme of the “Femme Fatale,” as well as the empowerment of women.
Despite being a cult classic, The Craft isn’t without its fair share of flaws. Native French speakers had a gripe with the movie when one scene shows some of the characters in the middle of a French lesson.
A message that the teacher writes on the board, “Si vous aviez faites vos devoirs, vous comprendriez” translates into “If you would have done your homework, you would understand.” However, the irregular verb “faire,” should be written as “fait,” not “faites.”
The Craft Rebooted?
While many fans have been chomping at the bit for a sequel to The Craft, they might have to settle for the next best thing: a reboot.
In 2015, it was announced that Sony had greenlit a remake of the 1996 classic, with Leigh Janiak attached to writing and directing the flick. Janiak is best known for having directed the horror movie Honeymoon, as well as an episode of Scream: The TV Series. As of 2017, it is believed that the script was undergoing rewrites.