STRANGE SPANNERS being an accounting of strangeness of the warp and woof of my mind
For those of you new here, think of this as 1/2 "Night Gallery"
Our Motto: Nos somnium quisnam es futurus fatum quod insolitus tutus vos!
Now read the true horrifying tale of Sarah after the jump!
So here we are watching "The Initiation of Sarah," an MGM film or at least later distributed by them. Starting off on a murky (shot for night) beach we learn there's going to be some serious Morgan in this film with Morgan Fairchild and Morgan Brittany with a side order of Robert Hays. OK the first question I had with this film was over the credit of "Special guest star." That phrasing is something more suited to a continuing series, not a one off movie. Was there some consideration of making this some sort of series? The mind boggles. Oh, the special guest star is ... Shelley Winters. Wow. Just let that sink in.
Now that you have acclimated to that, think about this: the film you are about to see is the result of three screen writers based on a story by two other people. It's practically a literary gang bang. Speaking of bangs... This seems to be the last party of the summer and two girls are sharing an ugly towel. One is worried how things will change, and the other is like, "Nah nothing will change between us." Then suddenly out of the "dark" comes a hunky fellow and comments that she sucks at body surfing and would she like a tip from a pro. She doesn't hesitate and goes back to the water with this proto hoff leaving the other girl wrapped in the towel like a post modern taco. The Pro wants to give her a tip all right and tries to rape her then and there. The taco girl looks concerned. Looks concerned. Looks concerned, then screams and the guy falls down.
This must be Sarah.
They're not dirty pillows mama
So after watching hunk crawl out from the surf there's a cut to sarah's face then a soft dissolve to a ... tire? Huh? Well anyhoo, the girls are packing off and going to college and momsie is all, "You love sororityy life!" Oh all this good advice is going to the sister who almost got tide raped. Sarah is trying to look microscopic and finally Momsie says "I hope you have a good time too." Yeah, No favoritism here.
So on the ride over Patty and Sarah talk and they clarify that Sarah had a different mom that she knows nothing about, and that Sarah believes she's just the universe's doormat. They obviously have a close relationship. At the college they get some directions from some soriety ladies, and it must have been a very cold day. They think Patty has... potential.
They might be bad, but they have their good points
So, everyone but Sarah is dressing hot, because this is the night where everyone gets to go to each house and let them be judged who they want. In the end, the names of the worthy will be published then there will be pledge time, followed by hell week, followed by initiation. "What's hell week," asks one dimbo. "Oh, hell week, you'll find out." Right, given this movie lady you might have to redefine hell week.
Who has self confidence? I do! I do!
So we learn there is are two sororities that hate each other. ANE which has all the popular, beautiful girls, and PED which does not. As Sarah is ditched at ANE she's told by another ditchee that it is ANE's way to be tactful, "even with a slap on the face." Though tact, might not be quite the word since they refer to PED as "Pigs, Elephants, and Dogs," (It was probably too early to use Dykes). OF course this is from the soriety that gives a nasty titter over the fact that PED is "Intellectual."
Oh horrors, I think I'm getting the vapors.
Anyway, it's clear they want Patty over Sarah to everyone but Patty. As they move to the PED compound they are "Terrorized" by a mean dog till Sarah gives it the heebee jeebees with her stare. Inside the darkly lit citadel they are told the dog is owned by the house mother who also happens to teach "Magical practices among primitive people." Um, no warning signs popping up here people. Move along, move along. Sarah likes these people and signs up and a mysterious presence watches.
This is either the brains' sorority or the stoners' one
This IS my best side....
Back at the bunks the girls talk about the night and Sarah deflects being hosed off by the ANE chicks. Patty is delusional and believes, truly believes, that they want them both. She then gives Sarah some hair advice but is interrupted when their mom calls (just for Patty of course). So let's recap at this moment. Spooky young lady is not liked by the upper class snob girls. Nope, doesn't sound a bit like Carrie.
Oh no, a reversal. When talking to her mom, Patty reveals she's not delusional. She knew that Sarah was as popular as a turd salad with Alpha Nue Sigma broads. Mom is all, "Oh yes, I already KNEW that dallink, you just leave your sister in the dust and forget about her, don't pity her." To which Patty yells, "What's wrong with pity?" Well, what's wrong is when the subject of pity hears that she's being pitied. Sarah who was listening marches back into her room and viciously puts cold cream on her face and then with a stare breaks the mirror. All sisterly love is now out of the room.
I hate pie fights...
Next day they try to patch up, but it's not to be. The High Evil Bitches of ANE have decided to have their fun. They accept Patty and then tell her she can't talk to anyone in PED which of course includes Sarah. Patty gives a mincing little rebelling before caving in like a cheese house in hell. This will not be good.
This is immediately tested when some folks hoist a piano into the air. Everyone knows in movies that all pianos must seek the lowest surface, and with a funky glare from Sarah that is one piano sent to heaven. That Patty was nearly crushed was just an unfortunate coincidence right?
no piano in film history has learned to fly yet...
OK, so with that out of the way Sarah goes to PED, at least she has a new friend in shape of Mouse, who is fairly hot. Actually nearly all of PED are what I call "Hollywood Ugly" that is they wear big over sized sweaters and slouch and that's suppose to make them ugly. I mean, I still have the hots for Velma after all these years so I'm not put off by some sweaters. While there she finally meets the mysterious house mother, Mrs. Hunter. Played By Shelley Winters with sort of a semi Peter Lorre lisp. Oh and a mysterious door that no one knows what lies behind it.
So she bonds with both. Mouse is very musical, and Mrs. Hunter is just weird. She starts probing about who Sarah's real mother is, and how well she knew Sarah's father. Oh and how back then an illegitimate child was frown upon. One gets the feeling that Mrs. Hunter might be Sarah's mom, which would explain a lot of weirdness. Then, things get deeply weird when Mrs. Hunter shows her a maze garden and decides to bring back the initiation that hasn't been used for twenty years because of Sarah's powers. Sarah's freaked, "I don't have any powers I just make things explode by staring at them."
"Mouse" is not a good name to have in a horror movie...
School life progresses. Mouse almost gets run over by the car, and Sarah and her truly become bonded. The nature of good and evil is discussed. Sarah tries to tell a boy she has powers and is blown off. Finally, there is a showdown between Sarah and Mouse against the Sigma girls which ends in staring and bath for Sigma. But, it's clear that now Sigma considers Sarah the enemy.
Just remember cameraman my eyes are up HERE...
Well now it's clear there are conflicting plans for Sarah. Mrs. Hunter is sprucing up the mystery room which looks an awful like some sort of altar. Meanwhile the Sigmas are laying the bait for their trap. Oh and Mrs. Hunter is telling Mouse that she has a wonderful role to play in the initiation, but she's not buying it. Meanwhile Robert Hays is telling Sarah that Mrs. Hunter "misused" the initiation ceremony twenty years ago and a girl was found dead supposedly a suicide. Also, the lady that accused Mrs. Hunter of that crime is the mother of the current head of the Sigmas. Yeah, just coincidence.
What's behind the spooooky door...
Sure, I'll be your hardy boy
So suddenly Sarah gets a call from school hunk to come to a secret surprise party for the boy that she does like. Nothing suspicious there. So she is dressed up very nicely, all her sisters are proud of her, and she steps out the door.......and....she's pelted with garbage and mud (I hope it's mud) from the Sigma sisters. Well at least they were original and didn't use pig's blood.
I hope that's mud!
Well now Shelley Winters calls upon her inner Dark Lord and turns Sarah on to the dark side. This means having her mentally shove her sister and the Sigma monster in a shower and turning the water all the way to "Muy calante!" Actually I thought this was a clever reversal. The sigmas wanted her to feel dirty by flinging filth, whereas she wants them to "Clean up." Well the good news is her sister sees the light and quits the sigmas. Her boyfriend is less than please when hears about it though telling her that all Mrs. Hunter is teaching her is hate, "and hate is the only power of evil."
it rubs the lotion on its skin..
Your Mind is exploding as you look at the picture
steam heat can't be beat
So it is the last night hell week, and that means INITIATION time. The girls of Sigma are putting on graduation robes and asking why aren't they allowed to put on anything under them. We'll get back to that. Meanwhile, the PED girls are getting all inquisitioned up and have something of a black mask. I say something of one, because first it's being led by Shelley Winters who is NOT the last word in black masses, and because the stained glass window looks like a jester.
So is this like the first church of the Joker?
The PED girls move into the garden whereupon Shelley Winters really lets it all hang out and flap loose and as she spittles her lines she exhorts our Sarah to do that dark thing she does. Meanwhile at the Sigs, everyone is doing the type of initiation that would make anyone feel slightly like a jerk when suddenly a big WIND comes up.
Remember them asking why they couldn't wear anything under their robes?
Then Sarah turns most likely to be a bitch into a mummy. Now for the most part until now all of Sarah's powers seemed to be a form of telekinesis, so I don't know how she turned her into a hundred years old in two seconds but she did.
I.. didn't moisterize....
So now Shelley Winter can complete her master plan... to take over the campus? But Sarah looks down and what does she see? Mouse under the altar ready to be the final sacrifice. Really Shelley, are you so tin ear tat you couldn't have guessed what would happen next? Well what happened next is Sarah goes moderately berserk and causes the entire garden maze to catch on fire. Folks die, and at the end the survivors and the audience are asked to think about the nature of evil, or rip offs of better films.