October Positivity: Test of Faith (dir by John Taylor)


The 1987 film, Test of Faith, tells the story of Taylor Mitchell (Wayne Gray) and Prof. Heinlien (David Robey).

Taylor is a religious farm kid who wants to be a scientist.  He’s received a scholarship to a prominent university!  The only catch is that Taylor has to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA or he’ll lose his scholarship.  That shouldn’t be too hard for Taylor.  He’s a smart kid and serious student.  Who could possibly give him a failing grade?

Prof. Heinlien is a Physics professor who is notorious for failing students who disagree with his views on religion, the Big Bang Theory, and evolution.  If a student wants to pass Heinlien’s class, they better be willing to set aside their backwards beliefs and just agree with everything that Heinlien says.  Every student on campus is terrified of Prof Heinlien.  Maybe it’s because Prof. Heinlien has a beard and a goat-tee that makes him look like Satan.

Taylor takes the professor’s class and together….

THEY FIGHT CRIME!

No, actually, they don’t.  Instead, Prof. Heinlien tries to teach about things like the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution and Taylor keeps interrupting him to argue that there is a scientific basis to the theory of Creationism as well.  Heinlien gets kind of annoyed with him and, if Taylor’s college is anything like my college, I imagine that the other students in the class got pretty annoyed as well.  Most students just want to take the notes, study the right chapters, pass their tests, and move on from the class.  There’s nothing more annoying than when there’s one person in the class who always wants to have a conversation with the teacher.  As I watched Test of Faith, I was reminded of how, in every English class I ever took, there was always one student who had to make a big deal about how “no one would read this book if it wasn’t required!”  Everyone would groan when he started talking but he never seemed to notice.

When it comes to faith-based films, the dilemma of religious students being mocked by atheistic professors has always been a popular subject.  The people behind God’s Not Dead has built an entire franchise out of the idea of Christian students challenging their professors.  Compared to the more recent examples of the genre, Test of Faith is actually rather low key.  Prof. Heinlien, for instance, may disagree with Taylor but, at the same time, he doesn’t bully him.  He doesn’t demand that the students sign a paper declaring that there is no God.  Unlike a typical professor in a film like this, he doesn’t rant and rave about how God didn’t save the life of his wife or mother.  Compared to the way that professors are usually portrayed in films like this, Prof. Heinlien actually comes across as being fairly reasonable.  For that matter, Taylor is not quite as self-righteous as viewers might initially expect.  In fact, Taylor and Heinlien are so reasonable that they’re actually a bit dull.  This is a film that could have used a little melodrama.

I have to admit that films like this, where a student has to stand up to a professor, are always a bit strange to me.  I always assumed that none of my professors knew what they were talking about so I never really worried about whether or not I agreed with them.  I’ve always assumed that most people were the same way.  When did people start respecting their professors enough to debate them?

Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/10/22 — 10/16/22


Woo hoo!  Another week of the October horrorthon is in the books!

This is Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, a painting that is currently displayed at the National Gallery in London.  Anyone who would damage this painting doesn’t deserve to have their ideas heard.  They may be good idea.  They may be bad ideas.  But the minute you attack a work of art, I stop listening.

(Years from now, someone will come across this post and have no idea why I’m going on about Van Gogh.  Hopefully, Google will still be around.)

Anyway, here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week:

Films I Watched:

  1. A Trip To The Moon (1902)
  2. Beyond The Time Barrier (1960)
  3. Bride of the Monster (1955)
  4. Christiane F. (1981)
  5. The Collector (2008)
  6. The Craft (1996)
  7. The Creeping Terror (1964)
  8. Damien: The Omen II (1978)
  9. Don’t Deliver Us From Evil (1971)
  10. Finding Grace (2019)
  11. The Fog (1980)
  12. God’s Club (2015)
  13. The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  14. Martial Law (1993)
  15. The Mermaid (1904)
  16. The Monster (1903)
  17. The Munsters (2022)
  18. Night of the Ghouls (1959)
  19. The Omen (1976)
  20. The Omen (2006)
  21. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
  22. Omen IV: The Awakening (1991)
  23. The Other Guys (2010)
  24. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957)
  25. Revealer (2022)
  26. Revenge in the House of Usher (1982)
  27. Senior Year (1978)
  28. Sister, Sister (1987)
  29. Source Code (2011)
  30. Unidentified (2005)
  31. The Vanishing Lady (1896)
  32. You & Me, Us, Forever (2006)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Abbott Elementary
  2. The Amazing Race
  3. Atlanta
  4. Bachelor in Paradise
  5. Baywatch
  6. Fantasy Island
  7. Ghosts
  8. Hell’s Kitchen
  9. Interview with the Vampire
  10. Law & Order
  11. Law & Order: Organized Crime
  12. Law & Order: SVU
  13. The Love Boat
  14. Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head
  15. The Real Love Boat
  16. Survivor
  17. Talking Dead
  18. The Walking Dead

Books I Read:

  1. The Sleepwalker (1991) by R.L. Stine
  2. The Thrill Club (1994) by R.L. Stine

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Annie Lennox
  2. Britney Spears
  3. The Chemical Brothers
  4. Christina Aguilera
  5. Coldplay
  6. Concrete Blonde
  7. Crud
  8. David Bowie
  9. Goblin
  10. Hans Zimmer
  11. Jerry Goldsmith
  12. John Carpenter
  13. John Williams
  14. Katy Perry
  15. Kid Rock
  16. Lynard Skynard
  17. Mike Oldfield
  18. Muse
  19. Nine Inch Nails
  20. Saint Motel
  21. Taylor Swift
  22. Warren Zevon

Trailers:

  1. M3gan
  2. 6 Horrific Trailers For October 16th, 2022

Live Tweets:

  1. Martial Outlaw
  2. The Other Guys
  3. Source Code
  4. The Collector

Horror On The Lens:

  1. Plan 9 From Outer Space
  2. Bride of the Monster
  3. Night of the Ghouls
  4. Bride of the Gorilla
  5. The Creeping Terror
  6. Monstroid: It Came From The Lake
  7. Mark of the Witch

Horror on Television:

  1. Ghost Story 1.10 “Elegy for Vampire”
  2. Ghost Story 1.11 “Touch of Madness”
  3. Ghost Story 1.12 “Creature of the Canyon”
  4. Ghost Story 1.13 “Time of Terror”
  5. Circle of Fear 1.14 “Death’s Head”
  6. Circle of Fear 1.15 “Dark Vengeance”
  7. Circle of Fear 1.16 “Earth, Air, Fire, and Wind”

4 Shots From Horror History

  1. 1973 and 1974
  2. 1975 — 1977
  3. 1978
  4. 1979
  5. 1980
  6. 1981 — 1983
  7. 1984 — 1986

Horror Scenes I Love

  1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  2. Carrie
  3. Dawn of the Dead
  4. Zombi 2
  5. The Shining
  6. Poltergeist
  7. Demons 2

News From Last Week:

  1. Angela Lansbury Dies at 96
  2. Friday the 13th actor Ted White Passes Away
  3. Robbie Coltrane Dies at 72
  4. Actor Michael Callan Dies At 86
  5. Actor Josef Somr Dies at 88
  6. Actress Kay Parker Dies at 78
  7. Halloween Ends’ Leads Box Office With $41 Million, Extending Horror’s Red-Hot Run
  8. Mel Gibson to Testify Against Harvey Weinstein in L.A. Trial
  9. Marie Kreutzer’s ‘Corsage’ Takes Top Honors at London Film Festival
  10. Two idiots throw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Links From Last Week:

  1. Reassuring, timeless, safe: how Angela Lansbury set the style for female TV sleuths
  2. Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle! A Haunted Clown Motel! Dracula’s Castle Too! Great Scary Places For Halloween!
  3. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/15/22

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared Anyone There, The RV, Shock Waves, The Enemy Stars, Alien, Dr. Phibes, and Night in the Alley!
  2. Erin took a look at Pulp Vampires!
  3. Erin had some thoughts on baseball: The Divisional Playoffs: Game One, Congrats to the Braves and the Padres On Tying Up Their Series, Congrats To The Astros, and The Astros Advance!
  4. Erin wrote about The Great Pumpkin!
  5. Case reviewed Omegle, Smiling Woman, Smiling Woman 2, and A Smiling Woman Christmas!
  6. Leonard reviewed Beware! The Blob and shared the trailer for M3GAN!
  7. Jeff shared music videos from Guns ‘N’ Roses, Pet Shop Boys, Danzig, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Grim Reaper, and Alice Cooper!
  8. Jeff played Approaching Horde!, House on a Hill, Chase the Sun, You May Not Escape!, and Crash!
  9. Jeff reviewed The Lurking Fear, The Fear, Shrieker, and The Munsters!
  10. Jeff wished David Lee Roth a happy birthday!
  11. I reviewed Cutting Class, The City, The Final Sacrifice, The Craft, Senior Year, Killer Shrews, The Night Digger, I Walked With A Zombie, You & Me Us Forever, Planet of the Dinosaurs, The Lift, Dead & Buried, Unidentified, Attack of the Giant Leeches, The Little Girl Who Lived Down The Lane, Time Changer, Revealer, Revenge In The House of the Usher, Cabin Fever, Pamela’s Prayer, Creature of Destruction, Robo Vampire 2, Robo Vampire 3, The Fog, Late One Night, Studio 666, and X!
  12. I reviewed California Dreams, One World, City Guys, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Hang Time!
  13. I read The Sleepwalker, Strange Crimes and Criminals, One Evil Summer, and Encyclopedia of Urban Legends!
  14. I shared my week in television and an AMV of the Day and The Vanishing Lady!
  15. I paid tribute to Angela Lansbury!

More From Us:

  1. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared One and One!
  2. At her photography site, Erin shared No Birds, No Birds 2, Storm Approaching, Storm Approaching 2, Storm Approaching 3, Storm Approaching 4, and Storm Approaching 5!
  3. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared An Upset in Oklahoma, Tulsi Gabbard Is No Longer A Democrat, The Election Will Go On, Never Let Them Catch You, Changing The Narrative, Walker vs Warnock, and There’s A Lesson Here!
  4. For Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episodes of Amazing Race and Survivor!
  5. At SyFyDesigns I shared Today Is Ed Wood’s Birthday, Halfway to Halloween, Happy Global Cat Day, A Poem For Halloween From Emily Dickinson, A Witchy Chant From William Shakespeare, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, and Mickey Mouse Believes In Magic, Do You?
  6. On my dream journal, I shared Last Night’s Dance Competition Show, Last Night’s Scary Commercial Dream, Last Night’s Office Finale Dream, Last Night’s Charity Dream, Last Night’s Spying On My Neighbor Dream, Last Night’s Hallway Dream, and Last Night’s Riding Lesson Disaster Dream!
  7. At my music site, I shared songs from Concrete Blonde, John Carpenter, Warren Zevon, Annie Lennox, Nine Inch Nails, Goblin, and Mike Oldfield!
  8. For Horror Critic, I reviewed Night of the Comet, Sister Sister, The Omen, Damien: Omen II, The Final Conflict, Omen IV, and The Omen remake!

Want to check out last week?  Click here!

Horror on TV: Circle of Fear 1.16 “Earth, Air, Fire, and Wind” (dir by Alex Singer)


On tonight’s episode of the show that was once Ghost Story, six artists rent out a space to create and show their art.  Unfortunately, they also find a trunk, one that contains six ancient glass containers.  Everyone’s work starts to take a dark turn as the artists become more and more obsessed with the containers.

That plot description might not sound like much but this is a pretty good episode, one that’s full of atmosphere and sly humor.  The script was by Harlan Ellison and D.C. Fontana.  Anyone who has ever spent any time in a commune will be able to relate!

This episode aired on January 19th, 1973.

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Cutting Class (dir by Raspo Pallenberg)


Someone is murdering the students and the teachers at the local high school and it’s up to Paula Carson (Jill Schoelen), the studious daughter of the local DA (Martin Mull), to figure out who is responsible!

Though the principal (Roddy McDowall, who seemed to be cast as a lot of bizarre school employees during the latter half of his career) is a perv and the janitor (Robert Glaudini) fancies himself as being some sort of bizarre ninja with a mop, it soon becomes apparent that there’s really only two viable suspects. One of them is Brian Woods (Donavon Leitch), who has just returned home after spending several months in a mental hospital where he was regularly given electroshock therapy. The other is Dwight Ingalls (Brad Pitt), the alcoholic jock who is under tremendous pressure to win a basketball scholarship and who also happens to be Paula’s boyfriend! Brian and Dwight were friends when they were younger. Now, Dwight spends all of his time bullying Brian and Brian spends all of his time staring at Paula. Who could the murderer be!?

Actually, you won’t be surprised at all when the identity of the murderer is revealed. You’ve probably already guessed who the killer is. A campy slasher film from 1989, Cutting Class doesn’t exactly win any points for originality. If Cutting Class is remembered for anything, it’s for providing Brad Pitt with an early leading role. Pitt, it should be said, is totally convincing as Dwight. On the one hand, he’s such a jerk that it’s difficult to really like him but, on the other hand, he looks like Brad Pitt so you totally can’t blame Paula for putting up with him. For that matter, both Leitch and Schoelen give convincing performances as well. When you’ve got a trio as talented as these three, it’s kind of a shame that Cutting Class wasn’t a better film.

Cutting Class tries to mix horror and comedy but the comedy is too broad (Roddy McDowall leers like a cartoon wolf) while the horror is not quite horrific enough and, as such, the film never really settles on a consistent or an interesting tone. Whenever the film starts to get into a horror grove, Martin Mull shows up like a character in an overplayed Saturday Night Live skit. Whenever the film starts to find itself as a comedy, someone is horribly murdered and you’re totally taken out of the mood. This is also another one of those films where the characters randomly switch from being ludicrously stupid to unnaturally intelligent from scene-to-scene. The killer, for instance, is diabolically clever until the film’s final moments, at which point the murderer suddenly gets very talky and very easily fooled.

Cutting Class is occasionally interesting as a time capsule. It’s from 1989, after all. And it’s interesting to see Brad Pitt playing the type of character one would more likely expect to see on a very special episode of Saved By The Bell. Otherwise, this one is fairly forgettable.

Retro Television Reviews: The City (dir by Harvey Hart)


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay.  Today’s film is 1977’s The City.  It  can be viewed on YouTube!

“Civilization began when man realized that he could not survive alone. He left the wilderness and built his citadels, security against intruders and erosion from within. The cities of the world have since become the crossroads of trade and ideas. Ideas that have made the human race more powerful than primitive man could ever have dreamed. Among these was an invention, a machine that conquered to contemporary enemies of man: time and distance….”

So goes the opening narration of 1977’s The City.  The narrator is the veteran character actor (and television producer) William Conrad and, as he speaks, we sees images of the California desert eventually being conquered by the growing city of Los Angeles.  It’s a bit of a portentous opening for a film that turns out to be fairly standard police procedural but it makes sense when you consider that The City was apparently meant to be a pilot for an anthology series about the people of Los Angeles.

The City features Mark Hamill, shortly before Star Wars would turn him into a cultural icon.  Hamill plays Eugene Banks, a sweaty, wild-eyed petty criminal who has made his way to Los Angeles from Texas.  Banks manages to get a nice apartment and a job working at a gas station.  One day, after a lawyer demands that Banks fill the tank of his Porsche, Banks snaps.  He grabs a wrench and attacks the car.  Then, he attacks the lawyer, beating the man until he dies.  Banks proceed to go on a crime and killing spree across Los Angeles, flashing a particularly scary-looking knife whenever he gets the chance.

Searching for Banks are two mismatched cops.  Matt Lewis (Robert Forster) is the tough-as-nails, emotionally reserved veteran with a bad knee and a determination to catch the bad guys.  The case becomes personal for Lewis after Banks kills his partner.  Brain Scott (Don Johnson) is a shaggy-haired country boy, much like Banks.  Brian comes from a wealthy family and is a bit more idealistic in his approach than Lewis.

Banks, it turns out, is obsessed with a country singer named Wes Collins (Jimmy Dean).  Banks not only resents the fact that Collins has everything that Banks has ever wanted but he’s also convinced that Collins is actually the father who abandoned him when he was a baby.  Banks wants to get revenge and he’s not going to let anyone, whether they be a bystander, a cop, or a dog, stand in his way.

Yes, Eugene Banks kills a dog in this film.  Fortunately, it happens off-screen but it’s still an indication of just how different this role is from Hamill’s best-known live action role.  As the two cops, Forster and Johnson work well together and bring their somewhat stereotypical characters to life but the main reason most people will watch this film will be for the chance to see Mark Hamill play an absolute lunatic.  With the exception of his somewhat dodgy Texas accent, Hamill does a good job with the role.  He’s got the crazy eyes down and he’s actually frightening when he attacks the lawyer at the start of the film.  The film itself is a bit predictable (i.e., the mismatched partners learn to work together, the bad guy gives a speech at an inopportune time) but The City is worth watching for the cast.

International Horror Film Review: The Final Sacrifice (dir by Tjardus Greidanus)


The 1990 Canadian film, The Final Sacrifice, opens in the snowy northern wilderness.  A man who I can only assume is a pro wrestler is hanging out with another man, who I can only assume is the lead singer for an emo band.  According to the film, the man in the suit is named Satoris (Shane Marceau) and he’s the leader of a cult.  All the other members of the cult wear a mask, even when they’re wandering about in broad daylight.  Why doesn’t Satoris wear a mask?  I’m not sure.

This is Troy McGreggor (Christian Malcolm), a teenager who looks like a mash-up of Anthony Perkins and Roddy McDowall.  For some reason, seven years ago, Troy’s father was murdered by Satoris and the cult.  Troy’s father was an archaeologist who was searching for a lost city that apparently used to exist a few miles outside of Toronto.  Now, for reasons that are never exactly clear, the cult is after Troy.  In order to escape from the army of masked men who are after him, Troy runs into the wilderness of Canada.

He’s going to need help to survive!  Preferably help with a mullet and a denim jacket…

This is Zap Rowsdower (Bruce J. Mitchell), whose name might as well just be Zap Canadian.  Zap not only rescues Troy from the cult but it also turns out that Zap is a former member!  It’s up to Zap and Troy to not only defeat Satoris’s evil plans but also to find this lost city.  It’s never quite clear what Satoris’s plan is, other than it involves taking over the world.  Speaking for myself, if Satoris can be defeated by a gawky teenager and an aging hockey fan, I really have to wonder if Satoris is actually as powerful as everyone assumes that he is.

This is my favorite character in the entire film, Mike Pipper (Ron Anderson).  Mike used to know Troy’s father and lives in a cabin in the woods.  Mike has a grizzled old prospector’s voice, which makes it impossible to understand what he’s saying but he was still fun to listen to.

Anyway, it’s not always easy to keep up with what exactly is going on with The Final Sacrifice.  The film’s low budget is obvious in every single shot and the poor sound quality often makes it difficult to keep track of what the characters are actually talking about.  The film has a sort of “make it up as you go along” feel to it.  Interestingly enough, that low budget is both the film’s biggest weakness and its great strength.  It may not be any good but you have to kind of respect the fact that a bunch of Canadian college students with no money still managed to make a movie.

The Final Sacrifice is one of those movies that works best if you watch it with a group of friends.  I watched it a few years ago with the members of the Late Night Movie Gang and we had a blast trying to figure out just what exactly was supposed to be going on.

The Final Sacrifice: Don’t watch it alone!

6 Horrific Trailer For October 16th, 2022


It’s Sunday and it’s October and that means that it’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse trailers!  For today, we have six trailers from the early 80s!  These where the years when the only thing bigger than the Italian zombie boom was the American slasher boom.  And we’ve got the trailers to prove it!

1. Friday the 13th (1980)

Needless to say, if you’re going to talk about American horror in the early 80s, you have to start with Friday the 13th.  Interestingly enough, the first Friday the 13th was less a traditional slasher film and more an American take on the giallo genre.

2. Halloween II (1981)

The 80s were also the year that Hollywood learned to love the sequel.  As a result, Michael Myers returned and so did Dr. Loomis.  The current franchise claims that all of this never happened but we all know better.

3. The Beyond (1981)

While the Americans were dealing with slashers, the Italians were committing themselves to the zombies.  Though Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond was not widely appreciated when first released, it’s reputation has grown over the years.

4. The House By The Cemetery (1981)

Eventually, Fulci combined both zombies and slashers with The House By The Cemetery.

5. Poltergeist (1982)

Of course, not every horror film that came out in the early 80s was about a slasher or a zombie.  Poltergeist was a haunted house story.  Though the trailer says “Steven Spielberg production,” the film was directed by Tobe Hooper.

6. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Even the Halloween franchise tried to do something new with the third film in the series.  Like The Beyond, this is a film that was underappreciated when released but which has since become a horror classic.

8 Shots From 8 Horror Films: 1984 — 1986


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at a very important year: 1984, 1985, and 1986.

8 Shots From 8 Films: 1984 — 1986

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, dir by Wes Craven, DP: Jacques Haitkin)

Gremlins (1984, dir by Joe Dante, DP: John Hora)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984, dir by Joseph Zito, DP: João Fernandes)

Phenomena (1985, dir by Dario Argento, DP: Romano Albani)

Day of the Dead (1985, dir by George Romero, DP: Michael Gornick)

Demons 2 (1986, dir by Lamberto Bava, DP: Gianlorenzo Battaglia)

Witchboard (1986, dir by Kevin S. Tenney, DP: Roy Wagner)

The Fly (1986, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

Horror Film Review: The Craft (dir by Andrew Fleming)


This 1996 film tells the story of four witches, all of whom attend the same very judgmental high school.

Nancy (Fairuza Balk) is their leader, the one who is most dedicated to worshiping the ancient deity “Manon.” Nacy dressed in black, like all good people. She also lives in a trailer park with her pervy stepfather and her chainsmoking mother. Sarcastic and quick with an insult, Nancy is an outcast and she’s proud of it.

Bonnie (Neve Campbell) is the quiet witch. She’s the one who wears baggy clothes and hardly ever seems to wash her hair. She’s insecure because her back is covered in scars, the result of a car accident. Bonnie follows Nancy’s orders.

Rochelle (Rachel True) is the witch who never seems to get to do much. As one of the only black students at the high school, she faces constant discrimination. She likes to swim. To be honest, we don’t find out much about Rochelle beyond that.

And then there’s Sarah (Robin Tunney). She’s the new girl at school, having just moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Bonnie is the first one who notices that Sarah has powers of her own. Even though Sarah is, at first, freaked out by Nancy’s talk of Manon, she eventually joins the group after a male student, the loathsome Chris Hooker (Skeet Ulrich), starts to spread rumors about her.

Together …. they solve crimes!

No, actually, they don’t. Instead, they cast spells. Fortunately, now that Sarah has joined the group, they’re finally powerful enough to actually make their spells mean something. Soon, each girl is getting exactly what she wants but they’ve forgotten the Rule of Three — every action returns to you threefold.

And, even worse, Nancy’s starting to act just a little bit crazed….

I love The Craft. In fact, to be honest, I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love the film. That doesn’t mean that the film is flawless, of course. There’s actually a whole lot of things that I could point out that don’t quite work about this film. For instance, the character of Rochelle is totally underdeveloped. Robin Tunney, as good an actress as she is, sometimes seems to be miscast as Sarah. (It’s hard not to feel that she and Neve Campbell should have switched roles.) The film starts out as a clever and sharp-tongued satire but it kind of loses its way towards the end, becoming a far more conventional supernatural thriller.

But no matter! Sometimes, the flaws just don’t matter. The Craft works because anyone who has ever felt like an outcast — and, let’s just be honest, that’s pretty much everyone — can relate to the film. At some point in their life, everyone has felt ostracized. Everyone has felt like they were on the outside looking in. Everyone has wished that they had the ability to cast a spell whenever they wanted. Everyone has felt like Sarah, Bonnie, and Rochelle and, even more importantly, everyone has felt like vengeful Nancy.

Perhaps appropriately, it’s the actress who plays Nancy, Fairuza Balk, who steals the entire film. It’s not that the other actors are bad. Indeed, the strong and likable cast is one of this film’s main strengths. But no one can quite match Balk’s intensity as Nancy. Balk manages to remain believable even while going totally over the top. In the end, Nancy is the most compelling character in the film. She may be a villain. She may kill a few people. But she’s also the only character willing to stand up for herself. Sarah’s magic may be powerful but she never seems to be having much fun with it. Nancy, on the other hand, is all about showing off what one can do with enough power.

I rewatched The Craft a few Halloweens ago and I’m glad that I did. It provided the perfect conclusion to that year’s October holiday. I look forward to watching it again in the future.