“She’s a lot like you, The Dangerous Type” - Letters to Cleo
Current Music: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Craft soundtracks
Post by: Jessica
When I think about my horror journey in the 90s, I know missed out on the first time theatre experience of seeing a lot of the films Kelly and I mentioned in our first podcast episode for. Many films like Ravenous, The Blair Witch Project, Cape Fear, Candyman, and Silence of the Lambs were films I finally viewed while I was university. I came from a pretty strict Catholic home and watching anything related to horror was a big “No-No”; yet I was allowed to read Goosebumps and R. L. Stine Fear street novels - what was that about? It was okay to read about evil cheerleaders killing off their friends but I wasn’t allowed to see it on TV. However, thank goodness for sleepovers because it was due to them that I was able to see films like The Faculty, Halloween H2O, Scream, Urban Legend, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) and The Craft.
While yes, some of these films, I cowered under a blanket while watching them, two of them in particular had a significant impact on me. Can you guess what movies a teenage girl on the verge of entering into high-school was drawn too? Yep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Craft. These are films I feel have impacted many creepy women of my generation. If you didn’t want to be bad-ass vampire slayer then you wanted to be a super powerful witch.
Now I know that not many people have a lot of love for the Buffy movie and when they think Buffy they see the TV series and Sarah Michelle Gellar as the one and only Buffy. I remember back in the days when Kelly and I would bicker slightly back and forth about it. I refused to watch the series because to me Kristy Swanson was Buffy. Now, before I get flamed on the internet, my opinion has changed as I have watched the series (twice now) and absolutely adore it. However, because the movie has been part of a formative part in my life, it will always hold a special place in my heart despite how campy it is. It is a lightweight comedy/ horror with an interesting storyline. It was the first time I was introduced to a vampire slayer, who was not Professor Van Helsing, and was a young woman! A young woman who underwent a transformative experience going from a ditzy vapid cheerleader more concerned about clothing to a young woman who broke stereotypes, crossed social boundaries and recognized that there was more to the world than ‘who was taking who to the dance’. It was really due to this film that I became obsessed for many years reading supernatural novels like the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Plus, it was also where my crush for Luke Perry stemmed from.
However, while it was fun to imagine what it would be like to be The Slayer and fight vampires; the film that impacted me the most was The Craft. I remember being with my girl friends in the video rental store down the street from her place looking to select a movie for our sleepover. The place was playing The Craft on the television and we all saw the scene with the girls getting off the bus and Nancy saying that iconic line “We are the Weirdos”. We knew right then and there that we were renting it. It was a memorable night eating popcorn, watching a movie about witches and yes, we did attempt “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”. I was entranced by this film and still am today. As a teenage girl, I was quiet and kept to myself. I was never the popular girl but the one everyone liked and thought was super nice. I was not part of any cliques and even in my final year of high school I spent more time in the library studying then engaging with my peers. There were many times that I felt powerless in life and confused by my developing womanhood and sexuality. I would always turn to The Craft for comfort and empowerment. I still do today.
I know that when people review The Craft the conversation is normally about the idea the primal fear of female power. A fear that develops when women come together in sisterhood by acknowledge the power of the divine feminine within themselves. The films starts out amazingly by showing the bonding of young women through natural magic and building each other’s confidence. Yet it ends tragically with the bond breaking due to Nancy’s obsession with power and punishing those who cross her. You see a theme of women gaining autonomy through their natural abilities but they must stay within societal accepted norms or end up like Nancy, who rebelled against these norms and ended up paying the price for it. The film has many memorable moments for me from the iconic scene of the empowered girls walking through the cafe with big smiles to Nancy walking on water after their seaside ritual.
I could talk for days about how important this film is, but there will be a podcast episode all about horror and witches, and we would be remiss if we did not talk about this iconic and influential film. For films that had a significant impact on me and my horror journey in the 90s, it was these two because from there I would devour anything to do with supernatural horror that revolved around vampires and witches.