These four witchy teens with their gothic clothing and spell books showed us a whole new world. The film transformed the genre, put girls in the forefront, and gained cult status. There are a lot of crazy facts behind the scenes which are about as weird as the film itself, here they are.
There Was an Actual Wiccan On Set
Wicca or modern Pagan Witchcraft might get laughed off by many, but the ones who practice it take it pretty seriously. It's made up of many rituals, literary, and even has a whole theological structure. When making a film about witches, you have to be accurate, which is why the film's technical advisor was an actual practicing Wiccan.
Yep, their advisor Pat Devin is an expert in the field and even has the title of Dianic Elder Priestess. She was there as a consultant and modeled spell scenes on actual rites. But she wasn't the only one bringing authenticity to the film.
Fairuza Balk is Also a Wiccan
Actress Fairuza Balk who played Nancy didn't have to do much prep for the role as she was already a self-professed Wiccan. In fact, she ended up buying the occult store that she frequented throughout filming, "Panpipes Magickal Marketplace."
The store claims to be the oldest occult store in the United States and has also been the location for multiple films and TV shows including "Unsolved Mysteries," "Dream On", and "Witchboard II."
The Bugs and Snakes Were Real
In the horrific scene where they torment Sarah (played by Robin Tunney) in her home, a lot of creepy crawlies were needed. There were over 3,000 bugs, rats, and snakes, among them a terrifying boa constrictor that measured over ten feet long.
There's a reason that that scene was so chilling. Everything was real!
Robin Tunney Was Bald The Whole Time
Actress Robin Tunney nailed the role as the troubled teen and closeted witch, but she almost lost the part to being bald. In her previous film, "Empire Records," she plays the depressed Deb who shaves off all her hair.
Producers were a little troubled by her look but fitted her with a wig during her screen-test. She pulled it off and through the duration of the film she just wore a wig.
No One Was in High School
As it goes with most teen movies set in high schools, no one is actually in high school. But they weren't exactly far off, and all seemed to somewhat pull off a pretty convincing teen look. Fairuza Balk was 20, Neve Campbell was 21.
Rochelle however played by Rachel True was actually 30 years old at the time but didn't look that much older at all!
Weird Things Happened During The Ritual Scenes
Both actors and crew members claimed that spooky things occurred while filming the ritual scenes. According to Balk, she heard a witch saying that the beach "didn’t like pagan ceremonies" and they were filming on one. The actress even got sick before the scene and in the middle of it. Suddenly all the lights went out and their altar was washed away.
One of the producers even claimed "it was strange because when we would get into the invocation, the surf came up higher, and then it would go down when we stopped." Tunney, on the other hand, as the more logical one on set, strongly believed that there was a natural explanation for everything that happened.
The White Owl
There was clearly a supernatural vibe in the air during the filming. Did some spirit awaken? No one can be sure, but the cast and crew all claim that a white owl was following them through our production. In an interview featured on "Talent Develop," the producer, director, and stars of the movie some spoke about their time working on the film.
It was Rachel True who revealed in the conversation that a "weird energy" was around and that they were "followed around by a white owl to several different locations." It's anybody's guess what that means, but it sounds pretty spooky.
The levitation spell "light as a feather, stiff as a board" has probably been uttered in thousands of the sleepovers since the release of the film. It's probably the coolest trick of all. While it looks super real, this levitation scene was unfortunately not done with the power of magic, but rather, a green screen and a hydraulic lift.
Rachel True laid down on the lift for this part. According to the actress, she was more concerned about the size of her hips than anything else. Fans would probably disagree with that, as that moment looked like pure, beautiful magic.
Casting Took Nine Months
What makes this film so special, aside from the eerie spells and the witchy vibes, is, of course, the killer cast. While True was cast a little earlier than the rest, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, and Fairuza Balk were found within a nine-month search.
Director Andrew Flemming said that they were trying to depict things that hadn't really been seen before so they really needed actors who would stand out from the crowd.
Witchy Swag Bags For All
To really get into the feel of things, the four girls were gifted swag bags filled with witchy mementos. Each bag had candles, spell books, and incense. Campbell spoke about how using the things the gifts made them feel all a little "witchy."
She also described her experience with Pat Devin, the witchcraft consultant, made her feel inspired. That sure is a good way to bring some real authenticity to the film.
Inspired By "The Cure"
The costume design on this iconic film is truly unforgettable. You're dealing with rebellious teens, after all. Director Andrew Flemming wanted carefully curated rosaries and black coats for the four girls, and his main inspiration for that was the band "The Cure."
That style is probably most apparent in Nancy's wild hair and black eyes who really went "full cure." Flemming continued, saying that he wanted an element of punk that meets witchcraft. Well, he sure did get it.
The Invocation Of The Spirit Was Real
In the film, Nancy walks into a shop and recites something from a book called "Invocation of the Spirit."One could think she's just acting out a scripted line, truth is, according to IMDB, the text she reads is actually written in that very book. She's actually reading a book written by Arthur Edward Waite, the called "The Book of Ceremonial Magic."
The author is a well-known occultist who also famously co-created the widely-used Rider-Waite Tarot card deck. Is it possible that this could be another reason that the set felt a little "bewitched?"
In the film, there is a cover version of the classic Smith’s song “How Soon Is Now?” The song, covered by Love Spit Love plays was actually also used in the series that was heavily inspired by the film.
That series was "Charmed." The series told the story of 3 sisters who discover that they are descendants of a line of witches. Except they focused more on combatting evil than the witches in "The Craft."
Excuse My French
Someone messed up when it came to the French class scene. If you notice the writing on the board it says "Si vous aviez faites vos devoirs, vous comprendriez" meaning, "If you would have done your homework you’d understand."
Except the phrasing is incorrect is "Si vous aviez FAIT vos devoirs, vous comprendriez." Many people picked up the mistake because, as we know, French is pretty widely spoken.
Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson?
It's hard to imagine anyone other than Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True in these roles. But seeing as casting took nine months, there we clearly some options. Among them were some actresses that became pretty huge.
According to the casting director, Pam Dixon, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Silverstone, and Angelina Jolie, were all tested for parts in the film. While it would have been cool seeing their faces, we're glad about the way it worked out. And anyway, it's kind of impossible seeing Cher Horowitz as Nancy. Yikes. Jolie on the other hand, now that have could worked.
The Birth of Witchy TV Shows
With such cult popularity, it's no wonder that the film heavily inspired the premises of a bunch of TV shows and films. It's likely that "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" and "Charmed" would have never happened without "The Craft."
As we know "Charmed" went ahead and even used the same cover for "How Soon is Now" for their theme music
It Took Some Good Pitching Skills
It's hard to imagine that this script would be shelved! Initially, the big wigs from the studio didn't have much interest in the idea. It took a lot of convincing. It was a time when studios weren't big on young adult films, especially about teenage girls.
There was a shot that sold them though, and that was the enchanting shot of the four of them walking towards the camera in full in all their witchy glory.
The Girls' Characters Were Based On Real People
Like any piece of art, real life is often the source of inspiration. When screenwriter Peter Filardi wrote the film, he did his best channeling all the girls he went to high school with, especially the outsiders. In an interview with HuffPost, Filardi also said of the actresses they were also inspired by the natural elements.
He added, "Sarah is earth. Bonnie, with the power of foresight, is wind. Rochelle, the diver, is water. Nancy, of course, is fire."
It's a Metaphor For Female Empowerment
The 90s were a turning point for female-led films and "The Craft" was no exception. The film does a great job of portraying teens finding their inner power as well as empowering one another, thus its everlasting popularity.
The film’s producer, Doug Wick, told HuffPost how, underneath all the spells, and the eye-liner, the core of the film was about girls finding themselves.
It Was Supposed to Be PG-13
Creators dropped all the curse words and, considering the subject, was kept at as clean as possible. On paper, they met all the requirements of a PG-13 movie, but when the director Andrew Flemming checked the rating board later, he saw a different outcome.
The board actually gave the film an R rating. Not everyone thought teenage girls practicing witchcraft was appropriate for 13-year-olds. Seems reasonable.
It's always great when castmembers get along on set, and nothing makes gossip mags happier than seeing romance sparked on set between two beautiful costars, but a lifelong friendship? Now that's really special and rare.
Rachel True (Rochelle) and Neve Campbell (Bonnie) became best friends during the production and are actually still friends today.
Neve Campbell Found Her Genre
The gorgeous scream queen of the 90s, Neve Campbell clearly made an impact on Hollywood with "The Craft" and landed the lead role as Sidney Prescott in "Scream." The role was actually supposed to go to Drew Barrymore initially but due to project conflicts, she had to switch to the smaller tole of Casey Becker, remember the girl on the phone in the beginning?
Things worked out well for Neve. "Scream" went on to be a major success and of course, the success of "Scream" spawned a bunch of sequels, all of which starred her. In fact, "Scream 5" is set to be released in 2022 and it stars, you guessed it, Neve Campbell.
They Went Easy On Fairuza
While there some real bugs and even snakes used in certain scenes, when it came to Nancy getting covered with bugs, they actually used a dummy. We are sure that no sane person would agree to have bugs crawling all over their face.
With a dummy and a few special effects too, the whole thing looked pretty darn convincing.
It Made Bank
A lot went into the "The Craft" but no one anticipated how well it would actually do. The film was a box office hit in its opening weekend and it also turned out to be the 8th high-grossing film about witches.
The film made $55 million. The last time a film about witches made close to that amount of money was in 1980.
Things Got Spiritual
Not everyone reacted the same way to the filming. Actresses like Robin Tunney weren't that fazed by the supernatural occurrences, but one of the actresses, according to Devin whom she did not name, asked if she could (Pat) could "dedicate her to the Path of the Goddess."
According to Devin "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. For her name, she took a name that I’d told her I would have named my daughter, had I ever had one."
It Was The Hardest Scene
As we mentioned above, Nancy undergoing the frightful scene of transforming into a monster was an unforgettable sight and, clearly, it wasn't easy. While she may have been spared the bugs coming out of her mouth in real life, bringing that to life via CGI was challenging to say the least.
Ultimately the shot was completed thanks to the grueling process of combining special effects and two separate shots. The snakes were actually shot on the floor and had to be combined with the shot of Nancy. Clearly, considering the fact that it was 1996, they did a great job.
The Fake Deity
In the film, the girls invoke a god named Manon, but that is a made-up name. The technical advisor was asked to not use a real deity because she “didn’t want hordes of teenagers running down to the beach or out to the woods invoking anybody real.” Devin (the advisor) did extensive research to ensure that no such deity named "Manon" existed.
The reference it uses, however, is real. The name resembles the Gaelic god "Mananan" which is a god of the sea. hence why they invoke his spirit on the beach.
There Was Almost a Spinoff
Nancy was one the most popular characters from the film, much to the credit of Fairuza Balk who brought her creepy quality to the role. Her eyes, clothing, and jet black hair gave her the look that many teen goth girls desired at the time.
She was such a hit there were talks about a straight to DVD sequel that focused on her character. Sadly, much to the dismay of teen witch enthusiasts around the world, it never took off. But eventually, something did...
There's a Remake
It's taken years for this to happen, with many potential scripts along the way. Fortunately for fans and a whole new generation of occult enthusiasts, it's now very real. The film, "The Craft: Legacy,” features a whole new batch of fresh faces. While it's a new cast, we still catch a glimpse of a polaroid of Nancy in the trailer.
The film was written by indie darling Zoe Lister-Jones. While it's great to get a modern reboot, the original remains in the hearts of many. It's been over 20 years since "The Craft," what has the cast been up to? Read on to find out.
Robin Tunney Then
Robin Tunny played the troubled transfer student with magical abilities, Sarah Bailey. The fresh-faced actress had a dark quality about her that was noticed in "Empire Records" another 90s hit of a film she completed shortly before "The Craft."
In the film, the girls quickly notice her abilities and draw her into their newly formed coven. It's all high flying from there on out.
Robin Tunney Now
While her earlier years seemed to be making her name for herself as a brooding teen, Tunney broke away from that in shows like "The Mentalist" and "Prison Break." She made her debut in the 1992 film "Encino Man" starring Brendan Fraser and then of course, "Empire Records" as Debra.
We still see quite a lot of the actress these days. She starred the lead on ABC's "The Fix," a murder drama, Netflix's "Insatiable" and the 2020 Alison Brie film "Horse Girl."
Fairuza Balk Then
The "queen bee" in a way, Fairuza Balk played the leader of the witch coven, Nancy (at least for a while.) Spoiler alert, she then lets her abilities get the better of her and ends up in a psychiatric hospital, stripped of all her powers.
This wasn't the first time Balk played a witch. In 1986, she played Mildred Hubble in the TV movie "The Worst Witch." While the flavor of the film was extremely different, those bewitching eyes probably helped her get cast.
Fairuza Balk Now
Balk acted in a considerable amount of roles throughout the 90s and early 2000s after "The Craft." She famously landed the role of Sapphire in "Almost Famous." The role earned her a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture in 2000.
More recently the actress has focused on voice work for several TV shows and documentaries such as "Family Guy" and "Justice League." Her most up-to-date acting credit is in the role of Lizzie Thomas in "Paradise City, "a television series soon to be released.
Neve Campbell Then
In "The Craft" she was Bonnie Harper, a shy young witch with terrible scarring from a car accident she had has a child. Throughout the movie we see Bonnie dealing with her scars. Disappointed by a doctor who can't help her, she tries to heal them herself, which later proves to be unsuccessful.
Bonnie was played to perfection by Neve Campbell, who spent a large part of the 90s and 2000s in iconic teen films, namely all the "Screams." The actress also starred in the teen TV drama "Party of Five" as Julia Salinger.
Neve Campbell Now
While Neve still is perhaps best known as Julia from "Party of Five" or Sidney Prescott from the "Scream" franchise (for which she won an MTV Movie Award) she has had a steady career ever since. She will be starring in a new "Scream" film set to release in 2022 and also recently in a film called "Clouds."
In addition to acting, Campbell is also a mom to two sons, one of which she adopted with a partner JJ Field.
Rachel True Then
Rochelle Zimmerman had a tough time in "The Craft." The character faced a lot of racism at school, ultimately the young witch takes her revenge and casts a spell on all who bullied her, especially Laura Lizzie (Christine Rae) who loses her hair. True was cast pretty quickly in the process, which shows how suited she was to the part.
The actress continued getting parts after the film and went on to star in shows like "Dawson's Creek" and FX's "Better Things" alongside Pamela Adlon. Outside acting, she also worked as a tarot card reader.
Rachel True Now
After feeling like Hollywood life was not working out for her, Rachel True's tarot card reading business really took off. She has since written a book called "True Heart Intuitive Tarot," a guidebook to tarot which is made up of a 78-card illustrated tarot deck and 22 memoir essays about True's "mystic minded Hollywood life."
In it, she details the struggles of being a minority in Hollywood. She currently operates out of Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood.
Skeet Ulrich Then
Ulrich played the role of Sarah's love interest, Chris Hooker. He ends up spreading nasty rumors around her, but things turn around when he gets a love spell cast. Chris falls victim to more witchery when Nancy tricks him into thinking that he is with Sarah, when in fact, it's her.
Things don't turn out so well for Chris. Ulrich, on the other hand, got dealt a better hand. The actor, along with his costar Neve Campbell also went on play in "Scream."
Skeet Ulrich Now
Skeet has had a pretty steady career, making numerous TV appearances. While he may be forever remembered as the teen heartthrob in "The Craft" and "Scream" he has also starred in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Law and Order: LA." "CSI: NY," Adult Swim's and"Robot Chicken."
His biggest role in recent years has been as FP Jones in "Riverdale" which he played in four seasons.
Christine Taylor Then
Laura Lizzie was the blonde bully who deeply regretted making fun of Rochelle's curly hair when she ends up losing her very own locks over the wretched spell. Taylor's career took pretty nicely after the film. She made her mark in films like "The Brady Bunch Movie" and "A Very Brady Sequel."
In 1998 she landed the role of Holly Sullivan (Julia Gulia's best friend) in "The Wedding Singer."
Christine Taylor Now
A few years later, she starred alongside Ben Stiller (her then-husband) in multiple comedies including "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "Tropic Thunder," and "Zoolander 2." Since then, the actress has been pretty busy in her personal life.
After seventeen years of marriage, Taylor and Still split but remain on good terms, and even co-parent their two kids.
Breckin Meyer Then
After his breakthrough role in the classic teen movie "Clueless" as Travis Birkenstock, Breckin Meyer played Mitt in "The Craft." His role was as Chris Hooker's wise-cracking friend who ends up taunting Sarah and her fellow witches.
Meyer's career flourished for some time, appearing in a string of teen hits such as "Road Trip" "Go" and "Josie and the "Pussycats." But his most prominent role is probably in "Rat Race" and "Garfield: The Movie."
Breckin Meyer Now
Most recently Meyer's credits can be seen in "Unpregnant" and the voice of several characters in the show "Robot Chicken" since 2005.
The actor has been dating "Days of Our Lives" actress Linsey Godfrey since 2017.
Cliff DeYoung Then
Cliff DeYoung played Mr. Bailey, in "The Craft", the stereotypical loving yet rather clueless, a father who seems to mistake his daughter's witchy troubles for typical teen angst.
Even though his late wife was a witch too, unbeknownst to him. Mr. Baily was just not getting it right.
Cliff DeYoung Now
Since "The Craft" his film credits include the films "Road to Nowhere," "Suicide Kings," and "Wild." DeYoung has also guest-starred on shows like "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "The West Wing," and "The Young and the Restless."
Aside from acting, DeYoung has had a very long and successful marriage with his wife Gypsy DeYoung, since 1970.
Assumpta Serna Then
The Spanish actress appeared as Lirio Santana, the owner of the famous occult store. She offers Sarah advice on witchcraft and gives her a book titled "Beginner's Guide to the Craft." She appears to be the guiding force in Sarah's life.
Lirio teaches Sara how to involve the spirit of Manon, an act that would strip her of her powers. Luckily Sarah sees a scary vision and is frightened away. Guess her intentions weren't so pure after all.
Assumpta Serna Now
The incredibly talented actress has 30 best actress awards throughout her career and has starred in some great films including "Borgia," "Sharpe," "Matador," and "Falcon Crest."
In addition to nabbing up award-winning roles, she also works as a professional acting coach.
Helen Shaver Then
Helen Shaver plays Grace Downs-Saunders, the mother of Nancy Downs. We get a glimpse into Nancy's difficult life as we see Grace being frequently abused by her alcoholic husband, Ray Saunders, who is Nancy's stepfather.
Her daughter casts a spell that ends him, resulting in Nancy and Grace being left with a $175,000 life insurance payout. The hefty payout lands them a fancy apartment.
Helen Shaver Now
Shaver has continued to act, but she has also directed. In the year 1999, Shaver made her directorial debut with the film "Summer's End," She has landed roles in "Poltergeist: The Legacy" and "The L Word," among others.
Her directorial debut even earned her an Emmy nomination for best director. Since then has gone on to direct episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Private Practice," "13 Reasons Why," and "Westworld."