Invoking that teen goth witch drag spirit: Peaches Christ raises 'The Craft' with Sharon Needles and Alaska Thunderfuck
FILM RuPaul's Drag Race season four winner Sharon Needles and boyfriend/season five finalist Alaska Thunderfuck rarely do live shows together. But for Peaches Christ, and her stage-and-screen showing of witchtacular occult movie The Craft (1996), they made an exception.
The Pittsburgh-based couple will star alongside one another in Christ's Craft-based pre-movie play, as pure evil "Nancy" (originally played to perfection by wild-eyed, real life Wiccan actress Fairuza Balk) and Neve Campbell's scarred and shy "Bonnie." The rest of the gothy teen coven will be filled out by Christ as good witch "Sarah" and San Francisco's first RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Honey Mahogany as "Rochelle."
"It's such a foursome vehicle," Christ says in a phone call. "I said to Sharon, 'how do you feel about working with your boyfriend?' Obviously it makes more sense for them to split themselves up and do more gigs. And especially since Sharon was such a phenomenon and Alaska is now coming fresh off the show, and she was such a hit. But I said, 'see if you'll make an exception for me?'"
Christ has been sending up cult classics in San Francisco since 1998, and says that it's become increasingly clear that she needs to keep looking for newly cult titles. (This November look out for 9 to 5 with Pandora Boxx , and likely, a Clueless send-up.) "[The Craft] was brought to my attention by some of my fans these past few years, so I rewatched it and determined like, oh my god, why did I ever dismiss this? It's witchy goth girls. It's everything, it's grunge, it's goth, it's witch."
And Thunderfuck and Needles were both enamored of the film from an early age.
"It was like, one of those movies that everyone knew and saw when I was in high school and it made us feel like we were witches too, which we weren't, we were just like, nerdy theater kids," Thunderfuck nasally says from a Best Western hotel in Chicago. "But it made us feel really badass. And everyone was a weirdo in high school anyway."
"And I'm from the '90s so the witchcraft was always there," Needles adds.
The film has grown cult thanks to now-iconic scenes of the witches looking fierce at Catholic school, walking in a line down the hallways with sexy '90s music filling the montages. Favorites scenes by the performers include the ones of the witches down at the beach, intensely invoking "Manon" then passing out after an electric bolt hits Nancy, or the next morning, walking by beached whales and sharks, or giddily casting spells on another while driving through town, or vividly messing with teen-queen parties, and throwing sleazy jerks out of windows.
During our conversation, Needles perfectly intones the Nancy line, "then why are you still bleeding?!"
"I'll tell you, this was one of the hardest and most challenging stage plays I've ever had to write, because the movie is so full of moments that people love, trying to cram them into a 50-minute stage show was almost impossible — I had to go back in and kind of kill babies here and there," Christ says. "My memory of it was that it was a lot tamer, and a lot more PG-13 then it is. It's actually rated R and it's harsh, and in some ways really horrifying. The way the girls treat each other, even despite the violence or the snakes — I hate snakes — just the meanness of the witches."