The Initiation of Sarah (1978)

Article 3493 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-4-2011
Posting Date: 3-8-2011
Directed by Robert Day
Featuring Kay Lenz, Shelley Winters, Tony Bill
Country: USA
What it is: CARRIE clone

Two sisters, one adopted, go to college. They find themselves pledged to different sororities, and the beautiful sister ends up in the snobbish sorority which forces her to swear not to consort with members of the sorority the other sister has pledged to. However, the adopted sister has psychic powers that manifest when she is angry, and the house mother of her sorority has uses for them…

I remember my mother explaining to me why she never went out to the movies; it was because that sooner or later a TV-Movie would be made on the same subject, and she could watch that for free at home instead. Though I doubt she ever had a hankering to see CARRIE, but if she had, here’s the TV-Movie she would have settled for. Now it’s been years since I’ve seen the De Palma movie (and I’ve never read the Stephen King novel), but I don’t recall anything in that movie about a sisterly conflict of the sort that drives some of the storyline here, and when this movie concentrates on this aspect, it’s at its best. It’s also not too bad when it concentrates on the relationship that develops between Sarah and a timid violinist. I’m less impressed by the black magic angle that is thrown into the mix. Still, the movie is at its weakest when it when it blatantly steals from its model, especially in a “we’re-a-TV-movie-and-we-have-to-soft-pedal-the-horror” way (think mud instead of pig’s blood). At least it doesn’t try to throw in a silly twist ending.

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