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 dates
  • 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 teenage girls who pursue witchcraft and use sorcery for their own gain. The film was released on May 3, 1996, by Columbia Pictures and it was a surprise hit, earning $55 million against budget of $15 million.


Sarah Bailey, 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, Nancy and Rochelle. At the same time, Sarah becomes attracted to the popular Chris. Bonnie, Nancy and Rochelle worship a powerful deity named "Manon".

Sarah exhibits supernatural powers from the onset of the film (revealed to being a "natural witch," i.e. born of a parent who practiced witchcraft) 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.

After a date with Chris, Sarah is upset to learn that he has spread a false rumor that they had sex. When Sarah confronts him, he treats her disrespectfully in front of his friends. Sarah casts a love spell upon him; Rochelle casts a revenge spell on a hateful racist bully, Laura Lizzie; Bonnie casts a spell for beauty; and Nancy for liberation from working-class poverty. It becomes clear that the spells have been successful: Chris becomes infatuated with Sarah, scars that Bonnie has on her back 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 which makes her mother rich.

Nancy lusts for more power and encourages the others to join her in a rite called "Invocation of the Spirit". To do so, she plans to "call the corners" by creating a fire on a beach, so that all four natural elements (earth, fire, air, and water) can be called upon by the four separate girls, to grant them further supernatural abilities. On completion of the spell, Nancy is struck by lightning, and all four girls fall unconscious. Afterward Nancy is seen walking on water, claims to sense Manon in all things, 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 attempts to rape Sarah when she rejects his continual advances. 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, threaten her, and use their powers of illusion to make Sarah believe that her father has been killed in an accident. They try to persuade her to commit suicide, before Nancy cuts Sarah's wrists herself. Sarah successfully invokes the spirit of Manon and is able to heal herself and fight back, demonstrating far superior power to her former sisters in coven. Sarah scares off Bonnie and Rochelle and defeats Nancy, binding her power to prevent her from doing harm.

Days later, Bonnie and Rochelle visit Sarah to apologize, arguing that they only caused her harm because Nancy made them. Sarah accepts their apology with a friendly coldness; Bonnie asks her if she still has any power, since both her and Rochelle lost theirs. Sarah doesn't answer. Both girls leave, mocking Sarah under their breath, believing that she has also lost her powers. Sarah overhears them and creates a storm. She uses thunder to break a tree branch, scaring Rochelle and Bonnie. She 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 keeps calling for Manon, unsuccessfully.



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.[2]

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.[3] 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".[4]

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.[5] According to Box Office Mojo, The Craft is the 10th highest-grossing film since 1980 dealing with the genre of witches.[6]

A straight-to-DVD sequel was in the works,[7] but was terminated.[8]

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.[9][10][11]


Music from the Motion Picture[edit]

No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Tomorrow Never Knows"   Our Lady Peace 4:14
2. "I Have the Touch"   Heather Nova 4:17
3. "All This and Nothing"   Sponge 4:19
4. "Dangerous Type"   Letters to Cleo 3:39
5. "How Soon Is Now?"   Love Spit Love 4:25
6. "Dark Secret"   Matthew Sweet 4:04
7. "Witches Song"   Juliana Hatfield 4:35
8. "Jump Into the Fire"   Tripping Daisy 5:45
9. "Under the Water"   Jewel 4:58
10. "Warning"   All Too Much 4:44
11. "Spastica"   Elastica 2:31
12. "The Horror"   Spacehog 4:49
13. "Bells, Books and Candles"   Graeme Revell 4:47


  1. ^ a b "The Craft". Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ Cowan, Jared (2016-05-02). "Revisiting the L.A. Filming Locations of The Craft 20 Years Later". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  3. ^ "The Craft (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  4. ^ Levy, Emanuel (1996-05-01). "Review: The Craft". Variety. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  5. ^ "The Craft Has the Knack for Scaring Up an Audience". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Witch Movies". Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  7. ^ "The Craft – Sequel". Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  8. ^ "BD Horror News – 'The Craft' Sequel Officially Dead in the Water". Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  9. ^,39132
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]