Monday, November 21, 2005

The Spell (1977) no one loves a fat chick!

Though this TV movie was certainly made to cash in on the success of Carrie, it's not that similar plot wise. Rita is the fat girl in school. The opening scene, one of the best, shows the entire gym class laughing at her, calling names like 'Tub-O' and 'Moby Dick'. One of the chief name caller takes a big fall of a rope and we have our first casualty. It's pretty obvious that Rita willed this death with her psychic powers.

The Spell, directed by Lee Philips. I've got it on tape from Video Treasures, but my copy is missing the box. Apparently it looks like so.

For a while this movie focuses more on her folks and I got a little bit bored. I wanted more scenes of torment at the school. The mother, Lee Grant, is top billed in this movie. Her conversations with the husband, and pretty much all the dialogue in the movie, is way too clever and overwritten. Everybody talks in riddles and metaphors. It really got on my nerves.

The father is a real bastard. He does not have unconditional love for his difficult and less than ideal daughter. He is affectionate towards the pretty and thin daughter, played by a preteen Helen Hunt. I think it's pretty sick and bizarre when a parent prefers an attractive child over say, a fat one. We did not have this perverted dynamic in my home growing up.

On to the horror. Yup, for a while I forgot that we were watching a horror movie because we were deep in family drama territory. Then all a sudden (spoiler) a woman combusts on screen. It's pretty graphic for television, though it is unfortunately the only moment in this movie where special effects were used other than household objects flying around in the final psychic duel. No moment in the 2nd half of the movie tops this on screen death.

Other movies exist about tormented fatties and their outbursts. Criminally Insane and it's sequel, Crazy Fat Ethel 2 (a movie that I've been kicking myself for not buying the one time I saw it at a video store in Brookline) are two that come to mind.

Cub, I swear that the Dad had it coming in this movie. He was prejudiced against his own daughter. How is it that he did not die a bloody death?

I am surprised that he did not die a horrible bloody death, I must say. I was sure it was going to happen, but perhaps it's even better that it did not because at least it fooled me (oh and you) into thinking he could die at any moment. He was a jerk though, I agree.

Would you have liked to have seen more of the psychotic daughter, less of the concerned parents?

I actually liked it the way it was and seeing the girl anymore than we already did would have just made it cheesy. I liked the part where the mom was visiting her friend and she started burning up out of nowhere. That part was wicked.

"Wicked sick", you mean.

Is it really wrong for kids to torment those who are different? Don't you think it's for the best? You can't be different and make it in this world. As a psychologist, I'm sure you know where I'm coming from...

Now, cub know as a psychologist in training, I can not agree with you that one should get back at those who did him or her wrong. That would surely say that one is poorly differentiated and highly reactive to what is going on. Instead I would suggest they learn better coping skills, change their cognitive distortions, seek support from those they trust, and understand that we can not change what others do or say, we can only change in how we choose to react. (That was some good therapy in a nutshell--- only free this once!)

Even if you have sympathy for these people today, admit it, you used to gang up the unpopular kids at your school, didn't you?

Actually I did not gang up on unpopular kids at school, believe it or not cub. Sure, so you think I am exaggerating to the max, but I will not try to convince you otherwise. But know that it pissed me off to the max when kids would gang up on individuals, cause I saw it as cowardly (i mean why else would they have to do it when they are only in big groups?)


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