Because this was The Craft.
If you don’t want to read a 38-year-old woman’s sandpaper-textured reaction to the trailer for The Craft: Legacy, go on about your business. If however you were born in the 80s, keep reading.
Yesterday, Blumhouse released the trailer for its *gags* remake of The Craft, the 1996 film starring people I don’t need to name here because if you don’t know who the fuck was in The Craft I sincerely doubt you’re still reading what I have to say. It is an absolute goddamned classic. I was 14 years old at its release, therefore it is filed under “formative” in the arthouse archives of my subconscious mind. The new one, The Craft: Legacy, is a “stand-alone sequel,” written by someone who was born two months after I was and should, quite frankly, know better. (Zoe Lister-Jones, I respect you and your work, this is more me being annoyed with remake culture in general and I understand everyone’s entitled to create whateverthehell they want. No hate to you or anyone else born in warm weather during 1982.)
It might help your foundational understanding of my gripes to watch the trailer for The Craft: Legacy. It won’t help you get excited for The Craft: Legacy, but it’ll help…something.
Did you really just steal our line? WHO ALLOWED THIS? I hate it when people mess with my things. That’s mine! Put it back where you found it, you’re gonna ruin it. Obviously nothing, neither man nor coven, can destroy The Craft. Notice I don’t refer to it as “the original The Craft” because I don’t fucking have to. You know which one I mean, you will always know.
Mazels on releasing your film, but It’s going to take more than a polaroid picture to get my generation of witches on board with your blasphemy. *Drinks of her sisters.*
Just as an aside, did anyone glean any character traits about anyone on screen via this trailer? One of the things I loved most about The Craft was the four unique voices that made up the corners. I get that the one dude is supposed to be a dick but he’s got plenty of material to draw from, not a hard sell. He ain’t Skeet Ulrich, I’ll tell you that, but then again…who is.
The entertainment industry knows it can just…leave things be, right? Like they don’t have to redo things? They can just leave…not only well enough, but near as dammit perfect things the hell alone and the world won’t end? I do not understand this compulsion to revamp old rather than generate new. By default the new version will not surpass the original. Tell me when it happens?? I’ve searched my brain for a remake or late sequel (ex: Full House or Ghostbusters) that’s better or even on par with the original and I come up empty. This was such a disappointing realization by the way, that I’ve all but abandoned my desire to write The Lost Girls. This trailer did it. It broke me.
There’s no way we’re shy on new ideas. The coffee shops and kitchen tables of this country are littered with people who want you to read a screenplay, a book proposal, stack of napkins, whatever. We are a creative lot! I have to believe there are new stories to tell, that we don’t have to keep dusting off DVDs to see what needs fixin. Want an example of an original idea that honors the past while creating something fresh in the present? Stranger Things. Done.
There is a part of me that’s happy about how many people in generations after mine are googling The Craft today and most likely investing in dark shades of lipstick. I’m glad it’s about to be rented on Amazon Prime a shitton this weekend. But that’s just going to be in preparation to watch something that…by the looks of the trailer, could have been a cool witchy teen moment that stood on its own, without The Crafting it. Seriously if you watch it again and ignore that it’s a remake, not bad!
Wait a tick…if we want a younger generation to be introduced to something, why don’t we just introduce them to something! Why do we feel compelled to remake every goddamned thing from the prime of my youth so that it can now include iPhones as props and text messages as a form of communication?! Are we like…concerned the kids won’t know what a corded phone is? My god. Just let things be, so that we can picture them in our minds without also remembering that someone tried a do-over later that we had to turn off before the end because ugh. I made it through this trailer, but I wasn’t happy about it.
I think we need more re-releases, and fewer re-makes. Every single time the Alamo Drafthouse shows Clueless, it sells out before I can grab a ticket. There’s appetite for this shit! Bring the past into the present by making a bigger deal out of the past, rather than trying to force the square peg of the past into the round hole of the present via a remake. It doesn’t fit, and it doesn’t have to. Our content appetites are insatiable, and rapid consumption does the work of the entertainment industry a disservice. Things grow old too quickly, we forget too fast, and we should spend more time cherishing the stories we tell. This is my way of asking someone to show Empire Records on a big screen the day the theaters open up again, basically. Also starring Robin Tunney, a queen.
To me, 90s movies are a sacred space. They’re a time capsule of my teenage years and early adulthood. There where I go when need comfort, memory, and a world before the world was wired. They’re also where I go for every form of magic there is. There’s no remake or 20-years-later sequel that will ever take the shine off them, at least for me.
But I swear on all that is above and below, if you touch Labyrinth, you’re in deep shit.
Shani Silver is a humor essayist and podcaster based in Brooklyn who writes on Medium, pretty frequently actually.