The Spell (TV Movie 1977) Poster

(1977 TV Movie)

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Characters who deserve to be hexed
Cujo10824 July 2010
Middling TV movie about a slightly chubby teen (Susan Myers) who is constantly teased by her sister and classmates. Even her own father treats her like garbage. She begins getting even when she is taught how to be a witch by her gym teacher. Her sympathetic mother (Lee Grant) does not approve.

This was obviously inspired by 'Carrie', though this one under-develops the high school turmoil in favor of the girl's miserable family life. There is nary a likable character present here. In fact, I haven't disliked characters this much since Mario Azzopardi's 'Deadline', a film where I literally wanted to jump on screen and strangle the wife with my bare hands. The girl's father is a dick, plain and simple. I was hoping for his gruesome demise the entire time. Her sister (played by a young Helen Hunt) isn't much better. I hated these people so much that I was longing for the film to focus more on the school as opposed to the family. I did like Lelia Goldoni as the gym teacher, but she has about three scenes total.

Characters aside, there are a few good moments. The opening with the popular girl pulling off circus style tricks on the gym rope was fun. We also get a bizarre death scene where a woman's skin starts smoldering, and the confrontation between student and teacher is well done.

Really though, this film is far from special. Along with what's already been mentioned, we also have to deal with one of those horrid TV scores and there's a twist at the end that's pretty weak. The characters, though, are what make it a real struggle to get through.
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7/10
Thank Goodness for Telekinesis
jmg385 April 2004
Every teenager has dreamt of having the mental power to smite their enemies. In the late 1970's, Hollywood gave that power to a select few. The made for TV production `The Spell' (1977) was a well done version of the theme, and fell between `Carrie' (1976) and `The Fury' (1978) in both chronology and style. `The Spell' came closest to the altered reality that most of us envisioned when running this scenario in our own teenage mental movie house. No ultra-evil-parents or goody-two-shoes types (Carrie) and no spies and secret organizations (The Fury).

Instead, `The Spell' presents the story of a regular out of place teenager in a regular unfair world. She finds that she suddenly has telekinetic powers, and the revenge that most of us dreamed about becomes a reality for her. The pacing is a little choppy, but the heart of the story unfolds nicely. The world is still unfair, she just doesn't realize that it is now HER that is being unfair to those who don't have her secret power. The result is a ‘teenage telekinesis' movie that actually relies on character rather than special effects for its most important moments. While the parents in the other two movies were either nuts (Carrie) or non-existent (The Fury) the parents in this movie are loving people who are trying to provide some proper guidance to a daughter who just seems to be changing from a timid young girl into a smart-ass teenager. Hallmark moments were never like this
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8/10
Carrie Fans will love this.
triple818 August 2003
This is similiar to Carrie but I actually thought it was better. It's tough for me to remember because I saw it when I was so young.

The premise is similar to Carrie, high school girl develops powers and uses thos powers to make things happen. That said, it varies from Carrie a little though I don't want to say to much or I'll give it away.

This is sort of "Carrie" meets "The Craft". The people who like that type of movie will like this. I don't know how one canm even see this, it is from quite awhile ago and I have been eager to find info on it for years-thanks IMBD!!

But if you like movies like this and can find it-watch it. It's less brutal then Carrie(if I;m remembering right-it HAS been awhile!). And I think some may like it just as much as Carrie.
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7/10
Perhaps the most bizarre family dynamic ever committed to celluloid
drownnnsoda16 November 2017
Teenager Rita is harassed by her classmates for being withdrawn and overweight. At home, her father and younger sister treat her like utter garbage; her mother seems to understand her to some extent, though not entirely. But Rita is, unbeknownst to them all, honing her own supernatural skills that jeopardizes anyone who comes in her path.

This made-for-television romp from the golden age for TV horror films riffs on "Carrie" in multiple ways, even imitating key moments from the 1976 film. Yes, so "The Spell" is a cash-in. But what else is there to say about it? More than one may think. It is not exactly a well-made film: It's choppily-edited and the narrative is a bit heavy-handed. The bulk of the film is really made up of twisted family melodrama, which would be rather boring if it weren't the most utterly bizarre family dynamic ever filmed.

I honestly did not realize until about thirty minutes in that the protagonist, Rita, was a blood relative of the family; not only does she look nothing like her on screen parents and sibling, but she is treated by virtually every member of her family like an unwelcome cousin, twice removed—maybe even worse—and for no immediately decipherable reason. They just simply despise her, and her resentment continues to grow (and with frankly good reason). The relationships on which the film is predicated are utterly strange and do leave the audience somewhat adrift, as there is virtually no likable character from beginning to end.

The performances here are memorable, with Lee Grant playing the stern but sometimes-empathetic mother; a young Helen Hunt plays Rita's perfect little sister, and Susan Myers (who, for the record, is not at all overweight) is memorable in the lead role, delivering some surprisingly chilling scenes; her performance at times reminded me of Tina Romero's in "Alucarda," mixed with a bit of Linda Blair from "The Exorcist." There are a handful of scare scenes here that are dated by contemporary standards, though one is so bizarre and unexpected it's almost disturbing. The twist ending is mildly clever, though fairly perceptible by the time the film has rolled into its final act, and the whole thing ends rather abruptly (not uncommon for television films of this era).

Overall, "The Spell" is an amusing film that I personally found utterly absorbing, largely because its core melodrama was so perplexing. It's a fun, frivolous viewing experience for fans of seventies television horror as it does capture the era effectively, and there is a handful of sideshow attractions to be had. Perhaps the most memorable element of it all though is the fact that most of its runtime consists of an introverted teenage girl being groundlessly flanked by not only her peers, but her entire family. The seventies were a strange time, I guess. 7/10.
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One of the Ultimate Horrors!
ms-hope15 February 2003
For this movie to be a made for television movie, it was definitely one of those you can't forget. I saw this movie when I was around 10 or 11 and here I am now 33 and have been searching for years to purchase it. I can remember every detail about this movie. The girl on this movie make CARRIE look like a goodie two shoes. (Smile) This is definitely one to add to the horror collection.
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9/10
Still An Old Favorite!
riverheadestelle27 March 2005
Yes, yes, it's a 'Carrie' rip-off, but still enjoyable! Rita has a nice face and is not at all a bad kid. Her weight is the problem - kids tease her for it. She's more introverted but very intelligent. To make matters worse, she has a knock-out sister - played by a very young Helen Hunt - whom she doesn't get along with. It is hinted that the dad, played by James Olson, has been guilty of playing favorites. (One gets the sense that Rita's weight alone is not the only source of trouble between her and her parents, but that possibility is never explored any further, sad to say.) Kristina is his little princess, and Rita....well, she is not easy to love, according to him. Rita is much closer to her mother. I felt that this character was very sympathetic, even when she was exacting revenge. It's the gym teacher at her school that brings attention to and develops her innate ability. But it's Rita's mother who has to pull her troubled daughter back from the brink of abusing her power. There is a scene with a showdown between the gym teacher and Rita when they have a dispute as to how she should use her talents. This was an NBC movie (yes, I did enjoy movies from networks other than ABC!). If you like this sort of stuff, you probably will enjoy 'The Initiation of Sarah' (which was ABC), another 'Carrie'-copycat with a more sophisticated spin. The setting is a university so the characters are much older. However, a similar family dynamic is presented with two sisters, one adopted, trying to iron out family problems and university life. The troubled one with the powers is played by Kay Lenz, and that's all I'll say here so as not to spoil it!
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Better than average 70's MFTV movie with good cast
Rachael-517 June 1999
She's 15 and at an age that is just so much more complicated when you're fat. Rita discovers that she has telekenetic powers and can seek revenge against those who are cruel to her. Good performances by Lee Grant and a young Helen Hunt. Bostock is downright chilling in the role. Some excellent special effects for this type of movie, and the end scenes are quite scary, actually. Most of all, a good message about teenagers. Sometimes they can be witchy and seem like aliens, but what they need most of all is love.
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9/10
A very scary, made-for-tv movie
sfjburk645318 August 2003
I saw this movie several times on television while growing up. I can still remember this movie quiet vividly. Lee Grant does a great job portraying a mother who plays favorites with her kids. A young Helen Hunt plays her favorite daughther. The jealously between the two daughters has horrifying results as "Susan" wraps herself in the occult to get even.
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6/10
"Real Power Is In The Sharing!"...
azathothpwiggins4 November 2018
THE SPELL opens w/ a sequence that establishes the wickedness of the female bullies who prey upon Rita (Susan Myers), a sad girl w/ a weight problem. The credits are barely over when one of these meanies suffers from a freak "accident". Rita's mom, Marilyn (Lee Grant- DAMIEN: THE OMEN 2, THE SWARM, VISITING HOURS) is concerned about her, while dad (James Olson- THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN) seems too busy to notice. Rita's sister, Kristina (Helen Hunt) gets all of the positive attention, and Rita gets the scorn. This is a CARRIE clone, and as such, is very entertaining. Instead of telekinesis, this time, black magic is afoot! Hyper-dramatic and overwrought, the cheeezey chills are bountiful! Some of the scenes are pure platinum! Especially, the bug-eyed-smoldering-woman-through-the-glass-door sequence, and the double-twist-flying-cutlery-house-wrecking finale! A treasure of made-for-TV terror cinema!...
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2/10
Below average 1970s teen horror
Foxpup82-79-88418311 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was pretty sure what I was going to get when I decided to watch this on NetFlix, as I've seen most of the more successful 70s teen horror movies, and as I hadn't even heard of this one, it didn't bode too well. However, i do enjoy movies that are "so bad they're good" and thought perhaps The Spell would fall into this category. Firstly, the main character is supposed to be fat enough to be teased relentlessly about it - she's very slightly overweight. So this immediately made for a weak premise. People do get teased for being hopelessly nerdy - this would have been a far more believable scenario to get things rolling along. The family is well played - all very unlikable characters, shallow and annoying. I agree with one of the other reviewers - you will be rooting for them all to die under the hand of the "fat" teenager. (this movie is so bad I've forgotten the name of the main character already). Simply put, there wasn't enough drama, with the exception of the (SPOILER!) mom's friend's spontaneous combustion and the popular girl taking a tumble...if I had to describe this movie with one word, it would be "tepid". It's not totally unwatchable though - it reminds me a lot of an After School Special movie (those in the U.S. will know what I mean), albeit with some supernatural violence. If you love ugly 1970s fashion and annoying people, you might enjoy this movie. Otherwise watch Carrie or even Summer of Fear, instead.
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9/10
The Spell
michman561420 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have to admit that I saw this film went I was pretty young. But that doesn;t really matter I saw the Omen at the time as well and i still like it as an adult.. I completely disagree with the review of the above poster. I don't think it's a Carrie rip off and The reason the 15 year old girl had these psychic powers was because it ran in the family. It was a family secret. It was one that her mother wanted to pretend didn't exist because it scared her too much especially because she knew her sister was Evil and wanted to use her own powers for evil things. The 15 year old girl in the film knew none of this. She only knew that went she was teased to the extent that she was by mean kids.. Things would happen to them. There were one or two example of this in the movie. Nothing major.. One got hurt and the other bully may have died from a freak accident. It wasn't excessive to say the least like the post above mine had said.. In fact there weren't masses of people dieing anywhere like he said.. The conflict and the final battle was contained within the immediate family. The above Poster clearly got his facts mixed up especially about the girl practicing the Occult. She did not and they never said she did in the movie... It was her Evil Aunt that did.. The girl did not know anything more than it seemed like she was causing her bully's to get hurt when she willed it and told her mother who knew everything but wanted to dust the facts of these powers under the rug ..The mother struggled with this through the film.. It was a very very good film.. There was a lot of cool things happening in it that I didn't want to give away here. ..I highly recommend this to anyone that likes truly scary and suspenseful films of the 70's .. I don't know where to get a copy for myself so if anyone know please e-mail me at.. michman5614@aol.com
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1/10
Crayola Manolo
marymorrissey30 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
honestly! the beginning of this movie is quite extraordinary on account of the lousy camera work. The hand-held work is clearly not in any way... intentional! and the sound is amazingly awful. it's worth sitting through for this one scene in which Lee Grant one of those "damned good actresses" who is absolutely horrible in this film goes to visit some old woman who greets her in a caftan with open arms but suddenly is brought up short while... some metal thing starts to come out of her mouth an' honey it sin't dentucreme! then her black tongue comes out while Lee acts to the hilt giving it her granted all and the woman's face comes apart and she goes stumbling through the window. honestly it's so funny that I intend to record it with my video-camera. A parapsychologist! Honey she needs the fire dept and who knows what all else! a so bad it's horrendous movie... to compare it to Carrie is like comparing I don't know "Love American Style" to "Romeo and Juliet" it's just so awful... a train wreck! another hi-lite is when Helen hunt (who was kind of a provocative beauty in her youth, a la Lela sobieski) is trying to explain to transactional analysis Lee grant momma of the 70s that the supposedly fat girl (who really isn't fat at all, incidentally) is a murderous witch along with her lesbian gym coach who also has this witchy satisfaction whenever someone's face burns up or what have you and ... Helen is so frightened that she puts on the radio to mask her telling mom of fat-tie's murderous witchy ways, and the music she happens to find ... is some kind of I don' tenor what again "LOVE AMAERICAN STYLE" type soundtrack it's so ridiculous! Oh Lee Grant, Oh Helen Hunt Oh my goodness! To the person who remembers seeing this at age 8 and being impressed, honey you were probably more like 2 years old, OK?!
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kinda creepy
Scarlata196624 September 2002
There's one scene in the movie that always stood out in my head. A woman is walking down a flight of stairs, when she is overtaken by one of these spells. Her tongue turns purple and smoke comes out of her head. It was very shocking the way the attack just seemed to come out of nowhere.
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7/10
Pretty Good Made For TV Horror
Rainey-Dawn22 April 2015
Not a bad film that was made for TV. Quite entertaining really.

Rita is a 15 year old overweight girl who is made fun of by the other kids. She finds out she has supernatural powers and uses them against those that she feels is causing her problems.

I felt sorry for Rita in the beginning - but as the film progressed she became annoying - not listening to her parents, trying to act like she's an adult really became annoying to me. By the end of the film I was ready for Rita to be gone - well away from her family or something happen to her to straighten up and act right.

Pretty good even though it's made for TV. Worth watching if you like the older films and occult/witches types of films.

7/10
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7/10
Moderate
adriangr30 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
If you get the chance to see this movie, don't pass it up. Very obviously inspired by "Carrie", it is nonetheless a fairly effective made-for-TV thriller in which an overweight 15 year old finds she has powers that enable her to take revenge on people who bully and tease her. The film stars the capable Lee Grant in the role of the mother, and Susan Myers plays the troubled teen, Rita, with some flair, mixing moments of intensity with a general childish air and a touching propensity to say please and thank you when asked to! Unlike Carrie, she actually has a fairly normal family, and Grant in particular makes for a very supportive parent who tries her best to get to the bottom of Rita's problems. The meat of the action, of course, lies in what Rita actually does to her enemies, but don't get too excited because as you might expect from a TV movie there's little in the way of bloodshed or violence.

That's not to say that there is nothing worth seeing, however, as the film does have one stand-out scene which everyone who has seen it seems to remember. When Rita's mother pays a visit on a elderly lady to see how she is, this (previously unseen) character walks down the stairs to welcome her, but before she can say anything she starts choking on her own tongue, her eyeballs turn zombie-white and her head swells up and goes purple! Seconds later she is billowing smoke and crashing through a glass door, before collapsing on the ground and dying in agony. This brief but remarkable (and horrific) scene comes as a real surprise when up until then all we have seen is a near miss hit-and-run car accident, and one of Rita's tormentors falling off a rope in gym class. It certainly gave me nightmares as a child. The remainder of the film follows Grant as she uncovers how Rita is carrying out her psychic reign of terror, and attempts to stop her.

Although well acted by the cast (including a very young Helen Hunt as Rita's more popular sister), the overall effect is weakened by some indistinct plotting and not very good continuity. Some characters and events are barely fleshed out at all. At one point we are introduced to a psychic researcher (or something) who has a tape recording of Grant, seemingly explaining her situation in some kind of therapy session. This is very badly inserted into the film, as its hard to work out when it is supposed to be happening. Similarly, the old lady who burns up is a character who has only ever been vaguely referred to by the cast, and as soon as she does appear she is dead before she utters a single line of dialogue. Other events and character motivations are tossed into the background in a similarly hap-hazard manner. This seems to be a film made in a hurry, and to make it worse, several scenes are also quite sloppily edited together.

What works is the likeable cast (I always enjoy watching Lee Grant), and the one totally out-there shock scene, but apart from that it is rather mundane and not really capable of standing out among the many other late 1970's TV thrillers. However I would still recommend a viewing if you come across it.
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8/10
SEEK THIS ONE OUT Not your typical 'Carrie' rip-off!
Showho3 August 2018
This above average Carrie spin off has some truly excellent moments, many of which FAR exceed most of the made-for-TV Carrie homages that came around the pike after DePalma's epic supernatural horror fest! There's not a weak link in the bunch here, but Lee Grant is the hands-down stand out. Was so great to revisit her in this, as well as all the other supporting players. The clear and present attention to detail, and exploration of family dysfunction is what's really on display here. This script was written by GENUINE professionals, who understood the critical components and family dynamics at play amidst Grant, her 'gifted' (and semi-obese daughter, brilliantly played by Susan Myers) and the younger (favorite) sister Helen Hunt. These three powerful females are all vying for more than Daddy's love, but only one truly has got an axe to grind. When the gloves come off the spells get cast, the cutlery flies and the bodies burn, catapult and gurgle for air! Seek this one out, it's worth the time.
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10/10
This debuted on the NBC Sunday Night movie (summer of '77).
Carycomic31 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was in-between my junior and senior years of high school. And, while I had just turned eighteen that spring, it was not in time to catch CARRIE at my hometown monoplex (as it might be called, today). So, I had to settle for this made-for-TV clone.

And, I loved it!!!

The scene where that millionaire's wife burns up, from the inside out, was genuinely scary to me. Especially, when you consider the stricter standards for graphic tele-violence, at that time.

I also loved the climactic duel between Rita and her mother. Where we learn that Lee Grant's character has always had the same power!

But, the main reason I still love it to this day? Doney Oatman and all those other leotard-wearing lovelies from the opening scene were so hot, I had a dream about them, later that same night!!
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8/10
Ripoff of "Carrie"
preppy-33 December 2004
An overweight plain high school girl (Susan Myers) is tormented daily by her peers. She acquires powers that allow her to destroy (or kill) her enemies. But she's getting out of control. Can her mother (Lee Grant) stop her?

This was basically a TV remake of "Carrie". "Carrie" was R rated so most teenagers (like me) couldn't get in to see it. This was quickly made (it shows) and put on TV--it was a HUGE hit. For what it is, it's not bad. Grant and Myers especially are good and it's pretty well-written. The deaths or "accidents" are pretty tame (compared to "Carrie") but there IS a show-stopper near the end where one woman seems to decompose (or something) in seconds. For 1977 TV it was pretty graphic. It all leads to a showdown which (when you think about it) is pretty silly.

Still this was good and I give it an 8. Anybody know how to see this? Like other 1970s movies it's disappeared!
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Avoid this Carrie rip-off
Roddy-1518 December 1999
This is definitely the average horror film. A frustrated teenager seeking revenge--where have I seen this plot before? People being killed everywhere. And a movie that goes nowhere fast. In this film, a fifteen years old girl is constantly teased because she is kind of fat. And she happens to have psychic powers. But she is also into the occult. Maybe I didn't watch it well, and I won't watch it again, but I believe the movie is basically saying her psychic powers developed because she had been into the occult. Or something like that.

As I watched the film, I couldn't get past the idea that Carrie had gained weight. Not many twists in this film. Totally empty except for the performances by the actors including a young Helen Hunt.
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1/10
What a piece of boring garbage, even for TV!
leathermusic30 January 2006
This movie is sooo boring. I had yet to see a bad 70's horror movie that I did not like, there is a first for everything. It has already been noted that this is a quickie TV ripoff of Carrie. I knew that by the box art. I was not expecting much gore, but c'mon you gotta give the audience at least 1 likable character. I hated everyone in this boring movie. I love the occult, telekinesis, etc. if you are a director making crappy movies in the 1970's, you can do no wrong by me if you put that kind of thing in your movie. But this movie is the exception, other than the mom, all the actors are lousy. I really wanted the dad to die, but he did not. I really wanted Helen Hunt to die but she did not. If you are looking for a good Carrie rip off, check out Lucio Fulci's Aenigma, it is the exact opposite of this thing, which could be the prototype for every other Lifetime Network movie that followed. I'm not saying all of the Lifetimes are bad, some are OK, but the ones that are boring are very pedestrian like this turkey trot. But where is the moral?
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5/10
I put a spell on you!
kapelusznik1814 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** Carrie clone that has homely but, unlike she's made out to be in the film, slightly overweight teenager Rita Matchett get revenge against her tormentors both in school as well as at home by using her telekinetic powers that we later learn that she was born with. It's the slim and sexy looking Jackie who's the first of Rita's victims who loses her grip while doing the Indian rope trick hitting the floor of the gym breaking her neck. Jackie made the mistake of getting under Rita's skin by calling her "Tubo" and "Fatso" every time she saw her.

Back at home it was Rita's dad Glenn who always treated her like she was dirt or dog poop that got her to take revenge against her kid sister the slim and athletic looking Kristina, the apple of her dad's eye,whom she caused to lose her balance as well as coordination while competing in a swimming contests at school. It was in fact Rita's weird looking swimming coach Jo Standish a secret master of the black arts who took Rita under her wings and gave her the power by chanting together with her a number of unintelligible "Mombo Jumbo" phrases to do her tormentors in. There was also the spaced out and creepy looking Dale Boyce an expert in the paranormal who realized just what Rita was all about but knew that no one would believe him or that Rita would do him in if he ever opened his mouth about her. So he kept it-his mouth- shut all throughout the movie keeping it, his terrible secret, from both the police and the school authorities.

***SPOILERS*** Most of the real action was saved until the very end of the movie when Rita was ordered by her dad ton take a flight to Great Britain to get rid of her as well to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Placer that really flipped her out. The last thing that Rita wanted to see is those clowns in their red coats and fur hats making monkeys out of themselves for the public's amusement. This had Rita strike out not at her dad but Jo Standish whom she now felt was just using her and her telekinetic powers for her own selfish advantage. ***MAJOR SPOILER*** It turned out that the person behind Rita's supernatural powers was non other then her All-American & apple pie looking mom Marilyn Matchett who once was a witch herself in what seemed like another lifetime! And she also kept that secret from Rita until she got so out of hand, in destroying everything in sight, and finally had to put an end to it!
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4/10
"The Spell" Teaches a Poor Lesson
Foxbarking29 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"The Spell" is one of those extremely average made for TV movies that tries to work towards a goal, but misses it completely. In observing the progression of horror movies on television, it is pretty typical as to what you could have expected to be shown on television in the 1970's. It suffers, however, from two things: the constant chatter regarding it being a ripoff of "Carrie" and the poor and confused lesson taught at it's end.

The most common thing I have read about this film is how it is a ripoff of "Carrie" and that is true to a degree. Made for television movies have long tried to copy themes from current theatrical releases in order to capitalize on turning the interest into ratings. However, only part of theme is remotely related to "Carrie" in that a girl is bullied and seeks revenge using paranormal powers. Rita, a bullied teenager, has an innate talent for witchcraft which she uses to hurt people who have tormented her for being fat (although ironically, she's only slightly overweight). There are no big revenge scenes or any dramatic buildup like you got in "Carrie." Rita is also not as sympathetic a character as Carrie White was.

But while Rita may not be the most likable girl in 1970's revenge movies, she is definitely maligned. Her father is a worthless and disgusting excuse for a human being. He plays favorites with his daughters and makes it so painstakingly obvious that he not only prefers Kris, but absolutely despises Rita. He makes fun of Rita for being overweight. He heaps praise upon Kris, who is really a spoiled and annoying brat. He refuses to allow Rita to come out to restaurant with the family. He tries to send Rita to England to attend a school, not for her sake but simply because he doesn't like her and wants her gone.

For a movie that gets compared to "Carrie" so often, you'd think there would be a lot of development in the revenge plot, but you'd be wrong. It's a slow moving pace that never really catches the viewer.

The biggest problem with "The Spell" is that it teaches a really poor lesson to it's viewers. There is no doubt that Rita is unfairly treated by both her family and her peers. The movie leads you to believe her mother is on her side, but she's not. After "discovering" that Rita is using her witch like powers for revenge, the mother reveals that she has the powers as well and decides to punish Rita. What doesn't make sense about this is that the mother already knew what was going on. She follows Rita at the end of the movie and witnesses her using her powers and overhears the entire revenge plot. But it is obvious to the viewer that the mom already knows this so why the sudden change in her attitude occurs is unclear. The mom decides to send Rita to England and punishes her for what she did. At no point does the father get punished for his abhorrent behavior. He learns that you can hate someone for absolutely no reason and the moment they become a burden, you can send them away because it's easier for you.

Only watch this movie if there is absolutely no better alternative. It sickened me to see how these people acted and it sickened me more that the wrong person got punished.
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Hard to Care About the Lead Teen
Michael_Elliott7 October 2012
The Spell (1977)

** (out of 4)

This made-for-TV horror film was shown just three months after the release of CARRIE so it's easy to see why it's been forgotten over the years. Lee Grant plays a mother who starts to get worried when her overweight daughter (Susan Myers) begins to act strange against those picking on her. Soon it appears the girl has supernatural powers that she's using against those who pick on her. THE SPELL is obviously a cheap rip-off of the Brian DePalma classic and I think what really kills this film is the screenplay. It's hard to feel sorry for the young girl played by Myers because she's really just an all around ugly person. In CARRIE we at least cared about the girl and even in the end when we might not agree with what she was doing. In this film there's never a single scene where we feel for the girl and this is really what causes the film to fall apart. Each time we see her she's being rude, ugly or trying to kill somewhat. This here isn't the best way to fall for any character. It's also rather annoying watching the mother walking around so stupid and never really being able to see what's going on. The film is basically told through the eyes of the mother and she goes back and forth so many times that it's hard to relate to her as well. Grant, for the most part, deliver a good performance as the mother and I was also impressed with Myers. A very young Helen Hunt plays the sister and does a nice job with it and we also have James Olson turning in a good performance. The direction is okay but I think a faster pace would have helped things. THE SPELL really doesn't come anywhere close to CARRIE but it's probably best that one doesn't try to compare the two films. Even on its own, this here is pretty weak and is only for those who need to see every film of its type.
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9/10
Its TV what do you expect?
utahman19712 January 2010
I just watched it on THIS channel! I thought it was very good for its time and for TV. It is not comparable to a movie like Carrie. It has same concept, but not the same in comparison as for them being on movie and other on TV. TV is going to be no more than TV14. Carrie was made for theaters and video. All these people saying its a rip off of Carrie, how lame is that. I already explained the difference, now get off calling movies crap when they aren't the same. This site is not to just come here and put movies down because they did not like it. It is to review it. I see so many people come on here and they just put movies down. I look at their profiles and that is all they do too. Just because this movie had it as the girl and mother had special power to control things with their minds does not mean it is a Carrie rip off. I see so many slasher movies, but no one calls those after other slashers rip offs of other slashers. So learn to enjoy movies. Just because you are bored of watching does not mean other people will be. I leave the choice for people to choose whether they want to watch it, and not come in here say I hate it, and say it in a certain way to persuade others not to see it. Enjoy this movie. I thought it was fine for TV.
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4/10
Cut-rate "Carrie"
moonspinner5525 April 2004
Odd that Academy Award-winning actress Lee Grant and talented television director Lee Philips would get involved in this: a small-screen variation on Brian De Palma's "Carrie", a boob-tube imitation that is strictly for boobs (and children, like myself in 1977, who weren't allowed to see R-rated "Carrie" in the theater). The young girl is plain and overweight but finds in the occult a release to her frustrations (what a great lesson to all the plain, overweight teenagers of the world!). Incidentally, there were other "Carrie" clones right about this time: "Jennifer", "Ruby", De Palma's own "The Fury" (guess he couldn't get enough of that telekinesis). This one stoops to low means of occult-related revenge, and shame on Philips for wasting his--and our--collective time.
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