Note: This post contains spoilers from The Craft (1996).
I apologise for how late this post is, but I’ve been unwell for around a week meaning I’ve had to hold back on my blog writing a little. However, it’s technically still October for another day so it’s not too bad!
This month, I wanted to find a spooky character to talk about as Halloween is my favourite holiday of the year. Even though there are hundreds of potential characters within fiction, especially in my favourite novels, I wanted to talk about one of my all-time favourite movie characters for the first October of this blog’s segment.
Nancy Downs | The Craft (1996)
The Craft is an American supernatural horror film released in 1996. It was a surprise hit, and has gained a cult following since. It tells the story of a newcomer to a Catholic prep high school, who falls in with a trio of outcasts that practice witchcraft. Fuelled with anger, they all conjure up various spells and curses against those who torment them, which soon gets out of hand.
I love this movie so much, it always being at the top of my watch list on Netflix (before it was removed, cue the heartbreak) and Nancy immediately became a favourite of mine. Her character is practically a cult icon nowadays, alongside The Addams Family‘s Wednesday Addams and Beetlejuice‘s Lydia Deetz.
However, Nancy has other brilliant qualities to her aside from her gothic attire and general badassery.
As The Craft‘s main antagonist, it was clear from her introduction that Nancy was a troubled, mentally unstable girl, but her progression to becoming unhinged was brilliant to witness. With a clear neglectful upbringing, Nancy devoted her life to witchcraft, falling in love with the practice and soon obsessing over it so much that the safety of those around her became less of a priority in comparison. She may be known as the film’s main villain, yet her reasoning behind her obsession is understandable; she’s a young girl who is being constantly tormented at school and home; she has no escape, so she seeks recognition and love from her craft. Although, uncomfortable to see, this is the main reason I love Nancy. As an antagonist, she’s unhinged, unpredictable and deeply unsettling, yet I don’t know anyone who has seen The Craft that doesn’t love her character.
She’s not completely awful, however, showing kindness towards her friends and sympathising with those around her. Having an antagonist with a clear weakness isn’t uncommon, the protagonist being able to use that to their advantage. However, what I loved while watching was the fact that Nancy’s weakness was shared with Sarah, revealing their similarities until it became a battle of power and stability.
Who is Nancy Downs?
- One of the main characters of The Craft, and eventually the main antagonist.
- A troubled sixteen-year-old who practices witchcraft in attempt to improve her life.
- Potentially bisexual, given some of the sexual remarks she makes towards women.
- Develops magical abilities shortly after forming a coven with Sarah, Bonnie and Rochelle.
- Invokes the spirit of Manon (embodiment of Nature), making her incredibly powerful, but unstable.
- Lived most of her life in a run-down trailer park. It’s implied that her father abandoned her, so she lives with her Mother, Grace, and Step-Father, Ray, who she despises for being an abusive drunk.
- Known to be often rude, anti-social and aggressive, yet is devoted and supportive of those within her coven. She also has a questionable sense of morality, as she is seen stealing, being disrespectful towards authority and ordering around her friends.
- Becomes increasingly power-hungry and detached from reality the further her powers progress. She craved recognition from Manon, meaning she began to display no real respect for the laws of magic and abusing her gifts.
- After invoking Manon, she develops incredibly powerful abilities, such as; Telekinesis, Levitation, Glamouring, Astral projection, Pyrokinesis, Teleportation, Dream manipulation, etc.
- Eventually, she becomes completely mentally unhinged and is taken to a mental institution.
- Nancy has jet black hair and pale skin, being often seen with maroon lipstick and black eyeliner, favouring the Gothic aesthetic.
Note: Nancy Downs is portrayed by Fairuza Balk in The Craft (1996).
Chris: You’re just jealous!
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!
Nancy: Sorry, my ass!
[Nancy pushes Chris out a window and kills him]
Nancy: You know, in the old days, if a witch betrayed her coven, they would kill her.
Nancy: Have you ever heard of invoking the spirit? It’s when you call him… Manon. It’s like… it’s like you take him into you. It’s like he fills you. He takes everything that’s gone wrong in your life and makes it all better again.
Driver: You girls watch out for those weirdos.
Nancy: We are the weirdos, mister.
Nancy: [noticing Sarah’s cuts] What’s up with this?
Sarah: [embarrassed] I slit my wrists.
Bonnie: What you’d do it with?
Sarah: A-A kitchen knife.
Bonnie: [surprised] You even did it the right way.
Nancy: Punk rock! Let’s go.