Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I have never met the defendant, and I have no proof of any of this is true. That is also not going to stop me from making the case.
When I visit IMDB, it is typically for a harmless purpose like seeing who a random character is while watching a movie, or to remember what year an older movie came out. These innocent visits regularly turn into a rabbit hole of “did you know?” and just surfing through actor pages to see if they were in something I might have missed. So when I thought of this theory, I was ecstatic that I actually had a purpose for spending a few hours doing “research.” Little did I know that I would find much more to prove my theory than I ever bargained for.
My theory is simple: I am claiming that Fairuza Balk turned into a real-life witch while filming The Craft, and subsequently damaged other actors’ careers while on set with them, or kept them from fulfilling their substantial promise.
This theory is something that I had thought about from time to time in passing, but never enough to dig in and see what the scope of it might have been. Now that I have, holy cow do I believe that I am not only right, but I drastically underestimated what I thought she was capable of.
So without further ado, I present to you, Exhibit A.
The Craft was released in 1996 to mixed reviews and modest success. Young girls loved the movie and the cast, and critics thought it was a steaming pile of shit. In reality, it is probably somewhere between the two. It can’t be considered a complete failure since it made $56 million with a $15 million budget, but there are more things to life than money. It was during this time that Fairuza Balk was becoming more and more recognizable in Hollywood. It was also during this time that “someone” on the set was dedicated by the Wiccan technical adviser to the path of the goddess. So when that……wait…WHAT THE SHIT WAS THAT?!?!
That actually happened (!!!!) at the end of shooting the movie, and even though Fairuza Balk’s name wasn’t specifically used, she did state that she was a real life Wiccan, and purchased the pagan shop that she really liked visiting! This evidence, in and of itself, may not be all that I need to prove my case, but it is definitely “bloody glove” level evidence.
So, how did this affect the other actors from that movie and the subsequent actors she worked with in later projects? I am so glad you asked! Buckle up, bitches!
Here is a rundown of the movie and actors, where they were in their career at the time of release, and what happened after working with Ms. Balk:
The Craft (1996)
Robin Tunney – Fresh off of her breakout role in Empire Records, she was the lead in this movie, and did a decent job in the role of Sarah Bailey. In addition to that, as we established earlier, the movie itself wasn’t a box office failure, so the logical conclusion was that Tunney would continue on an upward swing to fame. Wrong on all counts. She was in two lackluster movies in 1997, bounced around for years in random movies, and is now on something called The Mentalist.
Neve Campbell – Coming off of Party of Five fame and being listed as 2nd lead in this movie, Neve was poised to blow up. Helping things was the fact that she starred in Scream in 1996, as well. She was white hot at the time and was wildly recognized as a star on the rise. Little did she know that the Balken Curse had already taken hold, and she was doing the straight to DVD Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride just two years later in 1998. You fondly remember her for the scene in Wild Things, but don’t forget that Wild Things is a fucking terrible movie.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
Marlon Brando – I know what you are going to say: “This movie was terrible and Fairuza wasn’t the total reason for it.” You have a good point, but remember that on paper, this remake should have been terrific. It featured Marlon Brando, a Hollywood legend and arguably the best American actor to ever live, starring alongside Val Kilmer, who had already starred in The Doors and Tombstone, and was as A-list as it got in 1996. Not only did the movie not work, but The Curse ended Brando’s career. After this movie, Brando was only in 3 more movies and died in 2004. Now I’m not saying that the Balken Curse killed Marlon Brando, but you also can’t prove that it didn’t. We shouldn’t rule this out.
Val Kilmer – Regardless of what you think about Kilmer now, this guy was a full-on movie star. Top Gun, The Doors, Heat (he was even Batman, for crying out loud), but The Curse got him and he has never been the same. In 1999 he was in a terrible romance as a blind dude, by 2000 he was in Red Planet (if you forgot how bad that is then go look at it again), and in 2003 he was playing dead porn star John Holmes in the equally terrible Wonderland.
American History X (1998)
The facts: Edward Norton’s films leading up to the Balken Curse were, in order, Primal Fear, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Rounder’s, American History X, and Fight Club (I’m listing it as pre-curse since it was shot the previous year and came out after AHX). He was nominated for 2 Academy Awards and won the Golden Globe for Primal Fear. You just can’t find a better start to a dramatic movie career than this.
After his encounter with the Balken Curse he made Keeping the Faith, 25th Hour, Kingdom of Heaven, The Illusionist, The Painted Veil, and The Incredible Hulk. No nominations and no roles that are even very memorable. This year he is nominated, and was in two nominated films, but he was shut out of both for a solid 14 years. He should be one of the biggest movie stars in the world and instead he is just a really great character actor. Maybe The Curse has worn off now and he will continue to get nominated and resume his rise to the top……maybe.
The Waterboy (1998)
Adam Sandler – Nobody could curse The Sandman, right? I mean, this was 1998, and he was a walking license to print money due to his box office success. You should know that Sandler was my guy on SNL and could do no wrong in my eyes. Then he went and cast Fairuza Balk in The Waterboy, and things were never the same after. SNL, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer were all grand slams leading up to The Waterboy, and then a couple of years later he was doing Little Nicky.
Why?! Why did she have to curse Sandler of all people?! I’m telling you that when I watched that movie in the theater, I could tell that she never fit in with the rest of the cast. Maybe I have some sort of psychic abilities that I never knew about, but something was unsettling about her, even then. I don’t care if Balk cures cancer and ends world hunger tomorrow, I will never forgive her for this.
Almost Famous (2000)
Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson –Kate’s first movie and she knocked it out of the park staring as Penny Lane in one of my all time favorite movies. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, and then proceeded to shit the box office bed for the next 14 years. Kate Hudson is still a star you say? She’s on Glee! That is not excitement for Glee, that is Kate“I was nominated for an effing Oscar”Hudson in a terrible TV show for Fox. I apologize if you enjoy that show for a legitimate reason, like your television is broken and you only get one channel or you suffered a head injury, but you can’t use that as a check mark in the “pro” column for Hudson’s career.
While we are on the subject, when is the last time you saw Billy Crudup in a movie? Do you even remember the last time you saw him? The last thing that I’m sure he was in is Watchmen, but only because I had to look it up after I saw it. He took a role where they CGI’d his entire body to make him unrecognizable and added a giant blue dong to top it off. It could have been you in that part and nobody would have known the difference. Do you think a studio wanted to make an R-rated comic book movie so they could make less money? I’m going with no, but because the Balken Curse is so powerful, they added a few more curse words, a boob, and blue dick without even realizing what they were doing.
Cameron Crowe – Fast times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous…Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, the Pearl Jam 20 documentary that nobody watched, and We Bought a Zoo. Sigh. You had a great run, Cameron; you had your finger on the pulse of great movies for a solid 20 years, but just didn’t know what you were doing when you cast the Balken Curse. I understand, she was a smaller character, but literally anyone else in that role would have saved you.
After that run of movies and ruining careers from 1996 – 2000, she was never listed higher than 8-billed in a long run of movies. Did Hollywood catch on to the fact that this Wiccan was spreading the Balken Curse? Is she the real leader behind the Illuminati? What will she do next? I don’t have those answers, but I will offer up one theory. I think that she is now cured of the curse, but I can’t be certain until she has been in a few more movies, and even then only time will tell. The reason I think she is cured of the curse is that in 2009 she was in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans with none other than the one and only Nicolas Cage.
Since I cannot confirm that the Balken Curse is an actual real thing, I am going to assume that one day while on set in 2009, Nic Cage sucked the curse out of her “John Coffey” style with his favorite crack pipe and blew the curse smoke away, cleansing her and the city of New Orleans at the same time. You can choose not to believe me if you want, but how else do you explain the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl the very next year in 2010?
The defense rests.
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can contact him at email@example.com