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Old 03-12-2013, 08:48 AM   #1
rhett
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SsSsSo what do you think of the movie JENNIFER (1978)?



Used the search function and was surprised to find not a single thread, let alone post, that even discussed JENNIFER in any detail. Pretty interesting little low budget knock-off of CARRIE with a little bit of WILLARD thrown in for good measure. Lisa Pelikan, who'd make her mark for good (Van Damme's LIONHEART) and for bad (GHOULIES) later in her career, gets her first, and probably only, starring role here. She's quite good, making the character her own despite the fact that her arc as written is pretty much the exact same as Sissy Spacek's in that she's a smart, religious girl with a careless parent. Spacek plays the character more as helpless until the finale, whereas in JENNIFER, Pelikan is much more confident and self-aware. Good performance.

The style in the film, while far from DePalma, is still pretty effective for low budget, with a lot of lens filters, cosmetic gels and light haloing throughout. There may not be any gore (the film is somehow Rated PG despite quite a few flashes of breasts and even full frontal nudity, although I suspect much of that was matted off in theaters) the DOP does a good job heightening the climax with some real off-kilter compositions and lighting schemes.

I also like the cast and I think, kind of like the FRIDAY THE 13TH flicks, that's where the small budget helps this movie. They're not as "good" as all the Hollywood talent in CARRIE, but they have kind of a realism or intimacy to them. Everyone is just more ordinary, and sometimes that's nice to see. Makes it a little more plausible, I suppose, when they get eaten by a giant snake head .

My complaint is mainly that the film wraps itself up too quickly - it's only 85 minutes, and that's with pretty lengthy start and end credits. Considering how long the finale of CARRIE plays out, this one is much quicker by comparison and on a much smaller scale due to the film's budget. There's not much closure with Jennifer and her father, and the end gag, while kind of a fun comeuppance moment, kind of marginalizes the severity of the climax, making it come off more like a BeWitched episode or something.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Any fans?

Here's a cool interview with Lisa Pelikan on JENNIFER and the rest of her career:

http://www.retrocrush.com/archive200...kan/index.html
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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I remember this being a bit of a surprise when I rented it on VHS (15 or so years ago...), and I'm surprised it doesn't have more of a following -- especially post-NIGHTMARE USA, where every not-on-DVD U.S. indie seems to get talked up to high heaven like they're all unheralded classics. I'd love to check it out again; I'll have to see if I still have the tape buried away in some bin.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:09 PM   #3
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One of my late night favorites during the early 80s. Fritz The Nite Owl's Double Chiller THeatre used to show this quite a regularly and I was a very big fan of Jennifer. Wish it would get a nice DVD release with extras.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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I never got to see this. Snakes were never the most intriguing draw for me to watch a movie so whenever it was on TV (the two times or so) I gave it a pass. I'd love to watch it now paired up with Initiation of Sarah.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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Never saw it either - thought about picking up the VHS a while back and just never pulled the trigger. It's too expensive now if you can even find it.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:42 AM   #6
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With the "Carrie" remake coming later this year, some company would be wise to give this a DVD release. Scorpion? Code Red? VCI? Anyone know who owns the rights?
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chancetx View Post
With the "Carrie" remake coming later this year, some company would be wise to give this a DVD release. Scorpion? Code Red? VCI? Anyone know who owns the rights?
I'd love to see that, and you're right, the timing would be perfect. Obviously it takes a lot of time to get a release together, but considering Lisa Pelikan has spoken about the film before I'm sure she could be got to do some extras. The director was a prominent animator for Disney for over a decade back in the 40s and 50s, and the writer/producer did his share of producing for Bakshi's animated films in the 70s too, so both I'm sure would have some stories that some close to them might be able to pass on through the DVD. Something on Bert Convy and his rise to popular game show host would be cool too. John Gavin of PSYCHO fame is still kicking it, why not try to sit down with him?

JENNIFER is better-made than most horror films of its time, it really deserves some better distribution so people can give it a look.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:48 AM   #8
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Never seen it, but for some bizarre reason thought Jennifer's Body was a remake of this film.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:19 PM   #9
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According to Film Aficionado it is owned by MGM. It sounds interesting, hopefully someone picks this up and puts out a Blu or DVD.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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Interesting if MGM owns it since they own the original "Carrie" and the remakes. I wonder if they don't want it out there for some reason. It would have been perfect for their Midnite Movies series. If they won't release it maybe Shout Factory could license it. Would love a special edition with commentary from Lisa Pelikan.
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