As a high school sophomore in 1996, what grabbed my attention about The Craft were those little skirts, but there was something else, something dangerous about it. In the mid-nineties, teens were inundated with movies and TV shows that tried to speak to them. Many worked (Dazed and Confused, Boyz in the Hood, Rushmore), many didn't (Disturbing Behavior, The Doom Generation), but The Craft was more than a teen movie. It was a cross-genre experiment, like Young Frankenstein, that contained all the earmarks of a teen flick (hot people, high school) but also had enough thrills to attract horror fans and the burgeoning goth crowd.
Ladies loved The Craft for its female-centered story about the new girl at a L.A. high school who befriends three outcast witches. The girls believe Sarah is the fourth member of their coven and soon, they're proven right. The foursome develops huge powers but quickly take them for granted and everything goes haywire. Guys loved that part of the story, which eschews romance for action and armageddon-type excitement. Today, 20 years later, the film is a veritable cult classic. let's celebrate the film's twentieth anniversary with 20 fun facts you never knew about The Craft.
1. Fairuza Balk, who plays Nancy, was an actual Wiccan at the time of filming. She acted as a consultant on the film helping to keep the story as realistic as possible.
3. Robin Tunney, who plays Sarah, wore an orange-blond wig throughout filming because she shaved her head for Empire Records. That film had just wrapped by the time production on The Craft begun.
4. The film was rated R by the MPAA because teenage girls use witchcraft. That's the only reason.
5. The original script (used during shooting) suggested only Sarah had actual powers and the other girls were merely mooching off Sarah, but things changed on set.
6. The snake scene is real, er... the snakes are anyway. Over 3000 pythons, boa constrictors, garter, and rat snakes were brought in for the movie.
8. Campbell and Skeet Ulrich (who plays Chris) were working together for the second time in a row after Scream, which they had just wrapped.
9. The text of the book Invocation of the Spirit that Nancy reads from in the magic shop comes from The Book of Ceremonial Magic by Arthur Edward Waite, a well-known occultist. The book does discuss invocation of spirits, although it is not the focus of the entire book as implied in the film.
10. The shots of Nancy covered in bugs were created by wrapping a life-cast of Balk's head and torso in green screen material. The bugs were filmed crawling all over the casting and then digitally composited on top of a live action plate of Balk.
11. The TV show Charmed, also about witches, paid tribute to The Craft by stealing the song "How Soon is Now" by The Smiths and using it as its title song. Although the song isn't The Smiths' version, it's a cover by Love Spit Love.
12. Angelina Jolie was considered for a role in the film, but not a specific one.
13. Gustav Klimt's name is seen on a whiteboard in the film. Klimt was a painter whose erotic works were too controversial for their time and place. He was known as an artist who portrayed women as empowered and strong.
14. Although the name of the Catholic high school is shown as St. Benedict's in the film, it's called St. Bernard in the film's trailer. This is an intentional nod by writer Peter Filardi to Saint Bernard High School in his Connecticut home town.
15. The girls' four animal spirits explained: Rochelle and a clown fish—she's bullied by Laura Lizzie at the pool and wants payback, Bonnie and a butterfly—she wants to reject her scars and become beautiful, Sarah and a love bird—she wants Chris to love her, and Nancy and a snake—snakes represent renewal, she wants a new life for herself and her mother.
16. The song playing on the jukebox when the girls visit Nancy after she becomes rich is "Fallin" by Connie Francis.
17. Chris Hooker is a childhood friend of co-writer Peter Filardi, who borrowed the name for the movie.
18. The Craft was released in Germany under the title, Der Hexenclub.
19. A straight-to-DVD sequel was planned but never materialized.
20. The official website of the film revealed the cast and crew ran into some strange occurrences while filming the coven scene late at night at the beach. The four actresses spoke actual Wiccan rites and, before they knew it, realized the tide was steadily coming in and a flock of bats appeared overhead and hovered over the set. Witchcraft consultant Pat Devin noted that the deity the girls invoke in the film, Manon, sounds a lot like 'Mananan,' the Gaelic god of the sea. Director Andrew Fleming said, "Every time the girls started the ceremony, and only when they would start the ceremony, the waves would start coming up tremendously fast, pounding heavily. Then, right when Nancy says her line, 'Manon, fill me,' right at that exact moment, we lost power. It was a very strange thing.'"
[h/t to IMDb, Wikipedia, and The Craft DVD]