12 Bewitching Facts About The Craft

YouTube
YouTube

Almost two decades ago, a film about a group of teenage witches hit theaters and completely changed the subgenre. The Craft did away with cheesy pointy hats and broomsticks and taught moviegoers a few things about Wicca and paganism. Just in time for Halloween, here are 12 things you might not know about the cult classic witch flick.

1. SARAH WAS NEARLY BALD WHEN THEY BEGAN FILMING THE MOVIE.

Actress Robin Tunney had shaved her head for her role as Debra in 1995's Empire Records, so when she auditioned for the role of Sarah, she had less than an inch of hair. In the Blu-ray special features, Tunney remembered that director Andy Fleming thought she looked like “a little freak,” which he didn't deny. “We actually got her a wig and did a screen test with her with longer hair,” said Fleming. “It’s amazing what a difference hair can make.”

2. FAIRUZA BALK KNEW A LOT ABOUT THE TOPIC OF WITCHCRAFT.

Fleming was a fan of Fairuza Balk’s acting and says in the Blu-ray special features that he knew she was interested in paganism. The fact that she was knowledgeable about the subject made it even more clear to him that she was right for the role. On the set, Fleming would use her knowledge to improve scenes and make the characters more believable as witches. In the midst of researching the role, Balk even bought an occult shop.

3. NOT SURPRISINGLY, NONE OF THE GIRLS WERE TEENAGERS.

Teenagers are hardly ever played by actual teenagers on the big screen, and the cast of The Craft was no exception. Tunney, Balk, and Campbell were all in their early 20s while True was 29 years old. Skeet Ulrich (Chris) was not far behind at 26.

4. AN ACTUAL WITCH WAS HIRED TO HELP MAKE THE FILM MORE AUTHENTIC.

To make sure that the depiction of Wicca in the film was as close to real life as it could be, the filmmakers hired Pat Devin as a consultant. Devin is a member of one of the largest and oldest Wiccan religious organizations in United States, Covenant of the Goddess, and at the time she was the First Officer of the group’s Southern California Local Council. Devin played a big role in the production process and at times worked directly with the actresses. “A lot of my suggestions were acted upon and virtually all of my suggestions were given careful consideration,” Devin shared, “ even if they didn’t all end up in the final version of the film.”

5. CREEPY THINGS HAPPENED ON THE SET DURING KEY RITUAL SCENES.

Actors and members of the crew claimed that during the ritual scene on the beach, some strange things started to happen. Balk had apparently heard from a witch that the beach “didn’t like pagan ceremonies.” She got sick before filming, and when they came back to the beach to shoot the scene, the lights went out and the altar was washed away. “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,” recalled Fleming. Tunney, on the other hand, believed that there was a natural explanation for everything that happened.

6. THE SNAKES AND BUGS WERE REAL.

There were around 2000 snakes used in the climax of the film at Sarah’s house, and lots of bugs. In the director’s commentary track, Fleming says that there was a fake cockroach on Balk’s face, but that the maggots, rats, and other roaches were all real. The house was a sealed set and the roaches were bred especially for the film so that if they did escape, they could not reproduce.

7. SARAH’S TEARS WERE REAL, TOO.

According to the director, Tunney had the ability to bring forth the waterworks whenever the script called for it, which was often. Because of the shooting schedule, her crying scenes were all over the place, but all she had to do was turn her head away for a few minutes and the tears would flow.

8. THE FRENCH TEACHER WAS HUNGARIAN.

To viewers who don’t parlez français, the classroom scene (which is not hardcoded with English subtitles) works as a generic high school French class, but there are some issues. Native speakers have pointed out an error in the message the teacher writes on the chalkboard. It reads “Si vous aviez faites vos devoirs, vous comprendriez” ("If you would have done your homework, you would understand"), but the irregular verb “faire” should be conjugated as “fait.”

9. THE PENCIL “MAGIC” IN THIS SCENE WAS A PRACTICAL EFFECT.

Fleming revealed in his director's commentary that, because they had such a small budget and practical effects were sometimes cheaper, there was a metal rod through the center of the pencil. A prop guy sat under the desk and turned the rod by hand.

10. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RATED PG-13.

Fleming says that they only dropped one f-bomb in the script because they wanted the film to be PG-13 and knew that one was all they could get away with. They later found out that the ratings board automatically gave “R” ratings to films about witchcraft.

11. SISKEL AND EBERT GAVE IT TWO THUMBS DOWN.

The Craft claimed the number one spot at the box office during its opening weekend and later became a cult classic, but not everyone loved it. Legendary critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel said that watching the film was “a depressing experience,” and while it had potential, the witchcraft scenes were the only exciting parts.

12. A REMAKE MAY BE ON THE WAY.

A straight-to-DVD sequel was supposed to happen years ago, but that has since been canceled. This year, Sony greenlit a remake of the film and hired Leigh Janiak to write and direct it. Janiak directed an episode of Scream: The TV Series; she also wrote and directed the 2014 horror film, Honeymoon.

The Violent Shootout That Led to Daryl Hall and John Oates Joining Forces

Hall and Oates.
Hall and Oates.
Michael Putland, Getty Images

As songwriting partners, Daryl Hall (the blonde one) and John Oates (the mustachioed one) were tentpoles of the 1970s and 1980s music scene. Beginning with “She’s Gone” and continuing on through “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” and “I Can’t Go For That,” they’re arguably one of the biggest pop act duos in history.

Unfortunately, it took a riot and some gunfire to bring them together.

Both Hall and Oates were raised in the Philadelphia suburbs in the late 1950s and 1960s. After high school, both went on to Temple University—Hall to study music and Oates to major in journalism. While in their late teens, the two each had a doo-wop group they belonged to. Hall was a member of The Temptones, a successful act that had recently earned a recording contract with a label called Arctic Records; Oates was part of the Masters, which had just released their first single, “I Need Your Love.”

In 1967, both bands were invited to perform at a dance event promoted by area disc jockey Jerry Bishop at the Adelphi Ballroom on North 52nd Street in Philadelphia. According to Oates, the concert was a professional obligation: Bishop had the ability to give songs airtime.

“When Jerry Bishop contacted you, you had to go,” Oates told Pennsylvania Heritage magazine in 2016. “If you didn’t, your record wouldn’t get played on the radio.”

That’s how Hall and Oates found themselves backstage at the Adelphi, each preparing to perform with their respective group. (Oates said Hall looked good in a sharkskin suit with the rest of his partners, whereas he felt more self-conscious in a “crappy houndstooth” suit.) While Oates had previously seen The Temptones perform, the two had never met nor spoken. It’s possible they never would have if it weren’t for what happened next.

Before either one of them had even made it onto the stage, they heard gunshots. A riot had broken out between two rival factions of high school fraternities. They “really were just gangs with Greek letters,” Hall later told the Independent. Peering out from behind the curtain, Hall saw a fight involving chains and knives. Someone had fired a weapon.

“We were all getting ready for the show to start when we heard screams—and then gunshots,” Oates said in 2016. “It seemed a full-scale riot had erupted out in the theater, not a shocker given the times. Like a lot of other cities around the country, Philly was a city where racial tensions had begun to boil over.”

Worse, the performances were being held on an upper floor of the Adelphi. No one backstage could just rush out an exit. They all had to cram into a service elevator—which is where Hall and Oates came nose-to-nose for the first time.

“Oh, well, you didn’t get to go on, either,” Hall said. “How ya doin’?”

After acknowledging they both went to Temple, the two went their separate ways. But fate was not done with them.

The two ran into each other at Temple University a few weeks later, where they began joking about their mutual brush with death. By that time, Oates’s group, the Masters, had broken up after two of its members were drafted for the Vietnam War. So Oates joined The Temptones as a guitarist.

When The Temptones later disbanded, Hall and Oates continued to collaborate, and even became roommates. Hall eventually dropped out of Temple just a few months before he was set to graduate; Oates went traveling in Europe for four months and sublet his apartment to Hall’s sister. When he returned, he discovered she hadn’t been paying the rent. The door was padlocked. Desperate, Oates showed up on Hall’s doorstep, where Hall offered him a place to sleep. There, they continued to collaborate.

“That was our true birth as a duo,” Oates said.

Hall and Oates released their first album, Whole Oats, in 1972. Using a folk sound, it wasn’t a hit, but the rest of their careers more than made up for it. More than 50 years after that chaotic first encounter, the two have a summer 2020 tour planned.

Watch 25 Minutes of Friends Bloopers Ahead of HBO Max Reunion Special

Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, and Courteney Cox star in Friends.
Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, and Courteney Cox star in Friends.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Much like The Office, Friends continues to enjoy an always-growing and ever-loyal following—thanks in large part to streaming services, but also because of its brilliant cast and still-relatable storylines. And now that all six cast members have officially confirmed they'll be returning for a reunion show on HBO Max, could fans of the series be more excited?

Though very few details have been offered up about the reunion, it's expected to be an hour-long special that will bring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer back together again. In addition to the special, subscribers to HBO Max will have access to all of Friends's 200-plus hilarious episodes.

So in the spirit of warming up for what will inevitably turn into a Friends marathon, here are 25 minutes of bloopers, in two parts, for your enjoyment.

The Friends reunion special does not have a release date yet, but HBO Max is debuting in May 2020.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER