October 12, 2013

Horror-A-day: The Spell

I guess it was bound to happen, between trying to figure out what is going on with the Fall weather and watching never before seen horror and exploitation movies on Netflix it had to happen sooner or later. What? Well, a movie that left me with little to say about yet leave me obligated to try and say something. I is one of those moves that, while mildly interesting leaves the mind almost as quickly as it enters. So, please forgive me if this entry in Horror-A-Day is exceptionally short.

This latest movie is a short one, not even reaching the 80-minute mark. It is called The Spell and after watching it I confirmed the suspicion I had while watching it, it was a made for television movie. it was pretty sedate and just did not feel like a theatrical release film. It aired back in 1977 and was clearly banking on the theatrical success of Carrie the year before. I am not going to say it is a bad movie, for a television horror movie, it is not all that bad and, frankly, they don't make movies like this for television anymore.

The Spell centers on a teenager named Rita (Susan Myers). She is teased at school for being overweight (although she really isn't) and we first witness this teasing in gym class. The other girls are in leotards and she in bulky sweats. They are lied up for rope climbing and it is clear something bad is going to go down. As Rita struggles to climb, her opponent is clearly in advanced rope class as she spins like a trapeze artist. A couple musical stings and close ups of Rita's face and suddenly the girl alls to the gym floor, breaking her neck.

Rita, it seems, has telekinetic abilities and ad begins to use them against people who have wronged her. Now, the school stuff fades to the back in favor of a more home based drama. Her father is outwardly hateful towards his daughter, her mother is somewhat bitchy, and she has some sibling rivalry with her younger sister (a young Helen Hunt).

Everything builds towards the conclusion which goes in a different direction than Carrie, and is actually moderately interesting. What makes it all work is the presence of Lee Grant, five years prior to starring in Video Nasty Visiting Hours. She brings an undeniable quality to it that almost makes it all worth watching.

The Spell is decent TV film making, not entirely engrossing but not exactly terrible. You would not be missing much if you don't see it, but you could certainly do a lot worse.

Mildly Recommended.

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