If we were to make a list of the ultimate '90s goth movies, The Craft would be near the top of it. After all, what Fairuza Balk's character, Nancy Downs, did to her uniform was downright inspiring for spooky teenagers forced to wear the same thing as everyone else in high school. With that in mind, we headed down to The Cinefamily last weekend for the second installment of the theater's Pajama Party events.
The Pajama Party was a double-feature with The Craft and Teen Witch, the 1989 comedy starring Robin Lively. From the look of the line, though, it seemed that much of the crowd, like us, was there for The Craft. Black dresses, dark tights and boots was the standard attire for the night, despite the pajama theme. Since the screening party had sold out before the doors opened, there were at least a few people walking up and down the line in search of someone with a ticket to spare. This was definitely a hot event for Saturday night.
Pajama Party is more than a screening, it's a party that follows the theme of the movies. Saturday night, DJ Dia played before and after the films, mixing '80s goth classics from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Strawberry Switchblade. Following The Craft, patrons could head out to the patio to have their hair and make-up done. At a craft table, they could make their own magic wands.
Billed as a "no boy's allowed" event, Pajama Party is actually open to anyone regardless of gender. It's themes, though, are geared towards women.
"We're proud that the Cinefamily has a healthy 'co-ed' audience," said Hadrian Belove via email. "We try to keep our programming balanced in appeal, and these shows are kind of the exclamation point on that guiding principle."
Belove noted that movie events like these are often perceived to be male-dominated.
"While these gender clichés about who likes what movies aren't actually true (I personally love these slumber party staples, and I know plenty of women who love horror flicks), it can certainly feel true," he said, "and giving these nights an explicitly girl-friendly label is a way to invite folks to a comfortable environment where they can let their movie-geek flags fly in the company of like-minded ladies."
In many ways, The Craft is the perfect film for an event like this. It's four central characters are females, but it isn't your stereotypical "chick flick." There are a lot of action scenes, a couple gross-out horror movie moments and little in the way of tear-jerking.
But if that weren't enough of a draw, there are the dueling frienemies Sarah Bailey and Nancy Downs. It's obvious from the beginning that new-girl-at-school Sarah should be the heroine. She's a little apprehensive about magic and behaving badly. She's wary of wild girl Nancy. Meanwhile, Nancy is seemingly meant to represent what happens when you abuse power. Throughout the course of The Craft, though, you can't help but think that Nancy is the fan favorite character. She's unpredictable, completely corrupted by power and, somehow, still vulnerable. She delivers the lines that everybody wants to shout out in a theater, and actually can do at a Pajama Party. When Nancy screamed, "The only way you know how to treat women is by treating them like whores! Well, you're the whore!" much of the audience shrieked alongside her.
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Frankly, we were a little surprised that so many people had memorized lines from the movie. The Craft certainly isn't obscure, but it isn't a particularly common choice for screenings heavy on audience participation. Part of what made this night so fun, though, was finding out that there are so many other people who love the same movie we do.
Belove recently told us that the next Pajama Party will take place on November 27, featuring Return to Oz and Labyrinth. We're already preparing to geek out for this.