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Old 05-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
rhett's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 9,210
The Initiation of Sarah

Netflix was losing a whole whack of titles (I think it was 1,700+) on May 1st due to Universal, WB and MGM jumping ship on the service, so I had a mini-marathon yesterday just trying to squeeze in what movies I could before they went the way of Vinegar Syndrome's SAVAGE WATER DVD. The highlight of the bunch was THE INITIATION OF SARAH (1978) a TV movie in the vein of CARRIE. For TV it's got a pretty stellar cast, with Kay Lenz (HOUSE), Morgan Fairchild (THE SEDUCTION), Tisa Farrow (ZOMBIE), Robert Hays (AIRPLANE!), Shelley Winters (NIGHT OF THE HUNTER) and a bunch of other solid character actors. Unlike the middling THE SPELL, another 70s TV movie CARRIE ripoff that was on Netflix, SARAH packed a punch with likeable characters, some interesting story deviations from the CARRIE template and a pretty mean streak that runs throughout.

While SARAH is in parts about an outcast schoolgirl getting her revenge on the popular girls, there's a lot more on the table here, with the setting in college and the outcast girl (Lenz) having a sister as part of the popular group. The two battling fraternities also have a dark history, so there's some seething intrigue there as well as some surprisingly unanswered subtext about Lenz's mother and her connection to all this. The film had kind of a PROM NIGHT II vibe in that regard, with the demons from the past partially causing the ruckus in the present. Fairchild is the perfect bitch, and considering this is a TV movie, her comeuppance is pretty nasty. A lot of TV movies of the time would go to some darker places, and that's why I love them, but this one has the stones to do it when it matters most at the end. Pretty harrowing and effective.

Not a lot of style, and the "mind moving" effects are all your basic objects-on-strings sort of thing, but the story and the performances really take it over the top. Solid little TV movie that I see was remade in 2006 (with Morgan Fairchild back but not presumably in her original role given her fate), also for TV. Has anyone else been initiated to this one?
Can't argue with a confident man.
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