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Old 05-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
rhett
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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?
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:13 PM   #2
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I was introduced to this film by This Is Horror when it ran on MTV in late '89 or '90. I eventually bought a bootleg at a convention and watch it yearly. It's a surprisingly enjoyable Carrie clone. Quick review: http://splattercritic.com/2011/03/th...of-sarah-1978/

The 2006 remake is pretty awful.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:45 PM   #3
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Yes, I've seen it several times.

Confession: I actually really enjoyed the ABC Family remake! It's very contemporary teen movie, but I had a lot of fun with it. Not to mention, it's littered with eye candy. I'd say it's a cross between The Craft and the Sorority Row remake.

Over half of my Netflix queue disappeared today, which is really sad. I will no longer have access to Modern Girls in HD, which is devastating. Also gems like The Immortalizer, The Resurrected, Spellbinder, Blood Games (which I fortunately own on VHS), etc.

I noticed they were expiring a few days ago, so I crammed in as many films as possible over the past week. I got through (all first time viewings):
Valet Girls
Monster Dog
Roller Boogie
Are You In The House Alone?
Burnt Offerings
Secret Screams (Grave Secrets)
Easy Wheels
Ski Patrol
The Apple
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:29 AM   #4
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I haven't checked but I have most of those in my que.

If this keeps up I will have to dub netflix to vhs and dvdR to warrant having the service!
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:43 AM   #5
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Ehhn. At a quick glance, I didn't even notice anything was missing. But then CPT HOOK mentions Monster Dog, which I know was in there. So I double-check...still looks like nothing's even gone. As long as they still have those FX comedies I'll stick it out with 'em.

Query: If all I use Netflix for anymore is TV series, would it be better to jump over to hulu plus? I know, "It's only $8/month, cheapskate!" But I could take or leave Netflix honestly; there's no way I can justify 2 services that'll barely be used.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:56 AM   #6
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Always enjoyed SARAH,saw it many times as a kid.It's one of the many old TV horror films I wish someone would release in a box set.I've seen the remake,it's not too bad either.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:57 AM   #7
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A couple of the MGM titles in my queue just returned, including Frogs and Full Moon High.

My recently shown is listing The Apple and Are You In The House Alone again, so those must be back too.

Doesn't look like Initiation Of Sarah is available though.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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I love the flick - I always wondered: was Shelley Winters drunk during filming? She seems a little slurry in her scenes. I watched the original broadcast in '78 good times! Tisa Farrow is pretty good here, too. Not much in the way of special effects with the exception of Morgan Brittany.
There are some campy "Carrie"-lite moments but overall it's a sold flick in some ways more satisfying.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wago70 View Post
I love the flick - I always wondered: was Shelley Winters drunk during filming? She seems a little slurry in her scenes.
She's actually like that in a lot of films. I think it's just her acting style and the type of character she often played.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:37 PM   #10
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I love this movie, and am surprised to say the sequel was pretty fun too!
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott71670 View Post
I love this movie, and am surprised to say the sequel was pretty fun too!
Sequel or remake? What kind of continuity (if any) is there with the original film?
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:52 PM   #12
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It's coming to DVD from Shout! Factory on December 10th:

Scream Factory TV Terrors (The Initiation of Sarah & Are You in the House Alone?)

Bruce mentioned it in his other thread, but it's worth posting here also.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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Shout Factory have stated on Facebook that if this disc sells well enough they'll give more '70s and '80s TV horrors a shot.

I already have my preorder in. :-)
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce h View Post
Shout Factory have stated on Facebook that if this disc sells well enough they'll give more '70s and '80s TV horrors a shot.

I already have my preorder in. :-)
I never saw this but as you speak so well of this I just pre-ordered it.

I would love to see "I Saw What You Did (1988)" released.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:15 AM   #15
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Hopefully Arrow will release a nice version of this film one of these days.
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