There will always and forever be a special place in my heart for the awful 1996 movie The Craft. I caught part of it on TV the other day. As incredibly dated and ridiculous it looks now, I really can’t think of another movie that captured a particular period of time for girls in this way. For me, it had both been a reflection and an influence on my middle school/early high school friendships.
Though imdb describes it as “Carrie” meets “Clueless,” the central reason why I think many girls my age at the time latched on to this movie is because of its focus on the power and magic (literally, in this case) of close-knit female friendships.
For me, I think middle school and early high school was a time before I had really discovered boys in any real way. To me, they were more of an abstraction, a feature of many wild fantasies of mine, but, never had I really had any sort of meaningful relationship with one. It was inconcievable to me that I could relate to boys in a way that I could with my girl friends, yet I remember strongly wanting to step over into that world, mostly out of pure curiosity. And maybe a little bit of lust.
Weirdly, what was partially so fun about these close female friend groups is it’s actually really fun to talk about how much you want to date boys. I never thought that now that I’ve since crossed over to adulthood, that I’d be nostalgic for a time that “boys” were just a fantasy, and when I could tell my girl friends anything, instead of that awful knee-jerk reaction I get sometimes when I feel like other women are secretly judging me or will potentially use my honest confessions against me somehow. Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t think adult women are all backstabbing, judgemental assholes, it’s just that I feel it can be much rarer nowadays to find the quality of friendships now as I did then. It just kinda felt like we were all in the same boat, and no one was going to be judged for what they said or felt. Now, it’s like we all have our own, different lives and circumstances, some of us with significant others we share more of our lives with, and it’s sometimes harder to be as close when you have more to lose and you’re supposed to be sort of trying desperately to understand where you fit into this model of adulthood everyone says you’re supposed to be. I guess it’s just funny when you talkand dream and want so badly to grow up fro so long, and when I guess you do, and things aren’t the way you ever thought, you kind of start to think a lot about who you are, and what makes you happy.
But anyway, The Craft was also exciting (to me especially) because it showed girls doing “bad” and/or exciting things. Though it was kind of a bummer that everyone but the Sarah character (played by Robin Tunney) sort of became corrupted by the power they obtained as a group and turned against her, I was still kind of fascinated by the character Nancy (played by Fairuza Balk). I remember particularly one scene that at the time was a little frightening, but upon later viewing, I sort of guiltily chuckled along– the scene where Nancy tricks Chris, the jerk who tries to rape Sarah (played by Skeet Ulrich, haha) , and who gets so mad at his accusation that she is “just jealous” that she flies into a witchy rage so powerful, it pushes poor little Chris off the balcony, and he dies:
Nancy: Jealous? Jealous? You don’t even *exist* to me! You don’t exist! You are nothing! You are *shit*! You don’t exist. The only way you know how to treat women is by treating them like whores! Well, you’re the whore! And this is gonna stop! Do you understand! Do you understand what I’m saying? Hmm?
Chris: [frightened] I’m sorry!
Nancy: Oh, he’s sorry! He’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry, he’s sorry!
Nancy: Sorry, my ass!
OK, so this is super melodramatic an absurd, but um, I totally got a sick kick out of watching it. And I have to say, I think Nancy single-handedly influenced my unfortunate style choices in early-to-mid high school. Oh, the nineties! How ironic that I always wanted to be the type of girl that was allowed to wear all that stuff, and now I’m kind of glad my mom didn’t let me take it all the way. I can only imagine the walking disaster (even more so!) that would have emerged.
I remember me & my good friend Laurel actually did takethe whole the Craft thing a step further and frequently visited this place called The Psychic Eye, which was like this Wiccan/New Age/Whatever bullshit store, and bought each other tarot cards (because apparently, it’s bad luck or something to buy them for yourself? I forget) and all sorts of candles for various energy emissions and “spells.” But really, we would just sort of go home, listen to The Craft and/or The Crow (really what comes to mind is the “Golddust Woman” cover by Hole) soundtrack, light candles, paint our nails, talk about boys we liked, made collages form various magazines, and make up funny nicknames for boys we hated.
As dumb as it was, I really feel like we were both thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Like, even though our conversations were littered with fantasies and speculation about boys, just us hanging out was enough. I can honestly say that I think this was one of the moments in my life that I was truly happy and satisfied and not in painful anguish or anxiety about how I’m not accomplishing enough. I felt like as long as I’m with my friends, going through the same things as they are, and have all this time to sit around and chat with them, then everything will be fine & I’ll figure it out. Even when wearing the most heinous outfits/makeup.