Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Shocks 1996: The Craft

The '90s were not known for boundary breaking excursions into hardcore horror. All told, it was a pretty light decade for fear fare. But I'm not adverse to "light" horror. This stuff has to be fun sometimes, too, you know. Too often in recent years, horror seems to be about punishing the viewer for watching. I don't mind a horror movie being grueling but when it comes to stuff like A Serbian Movie (2010), I'll stick with something more mainstream, thanks. Maybe I'm just getting old. Maybe it's because I'm a parent now. I don't know. I grew up on shit like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Make Them Die Slowly (aka Cannibal Ferox, 1981) but nowadays, when I hear that a movie is incredibly fucked-up, I've got no interest in it.

But I digress. What I meant to be talking about is a movie that is as untraumatizing as they come, the 1996 teen witch thriller The Craft. Like I said, I'm fine with movies like this. A lot of horror fans huff and puff about any movie that isn't going to make their friends and family sick to their stomachs but The Craft is a good time as far as I'm concerned. 1996 was the year that the long horror drought finally ended and The Craft was one of the first cracks in the dam before Scream let the flood loose. Horror hadn't been gone-gone, of course - horror never completely goes away - but that next big wave or trend just hadn't come since the '80s. But the sleeper success of The Craft signalled that a new resurgence in teen horror - with attractive casts and kickin' soundtracks - was coming.

And whatever your opinion of The Craft, you've got to give it up for Fairuza Balk's performance. You've just got to.

For my full Summer Shocks review, click here.


the jaded viewer said...

I got a hella crush on Fairuza Balk after seeing this flick. My oh my those lips and blue eyes.

The Craft wasn't bad bad but it beats sparkly vamps any day.

Rusty James said...

Wow, man. Are you like talking Chinese or something? I can't even understand what the fuck ur talking about beyond the subject line.

The Craft?


Seriously. I don't care what anyone has to say - I'm not reading shit about The Craft.

Did they have tits innit?

Jeff Allard said...

Jaded, Balk rules in The Craft.

And MB, no tits. But as Jaded says, Balk was a crush-worthy psycho. And compared to the Twilight films, at least, The Craft is positively hardcore!

deadlydolls said...

Great work! I was 14 when this came out and after being rebuffed at the theater for the R-rating, finally had to swallow my pride and go see it with my mom. When it hit video, it was an immediate sleepover success, especially since I was a horror buff and my friends were attempting to be goth-kids.

You bring up some great points about hot it holds up. In no way is it a great film, but Balk does give a way underrated performance. And yes, the girls are gorgeous, but I always believed they were miserable until the magic really started working.

Will said...

Loved The Craft. . .to prove your point about how 'light' The Craft was, I remember renting this at the video store and watching it with my parents!!!!! They liked it too. Neve Campbell was an 'It' girl back then (or on her way to be) so it had a long shelf life at the video store after Scream came out.

Jeff Allard said...

Emily, it's always hard work to be a young horror fan! I remember seeing Creepshow, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter with my mom. And she hated every minute of all of those movies so I give her credit for taking me.

William, some horror movies can be enjoyed by the whole family and your story is proof positive of that!