I have to admit that my pile was getting on the low side, but fortunately I was able to replenish my VHS stash by visiting a tape market in Hamilton last weekend. I've got some beauties that you'll likely see show up in the next few weeks, starting with today's entry, Jennifer from 1978.
A bullied schoolgirl named Jennifer (Lisa Pelikan) finally puts her God-given ability to control snakes to good use.
First off, let's just digest that coverbox for a second. Putting aside that whichever video store rented this tape put it in the Action section, I feel the need to point out that at no point during this movie does a tiger fight snakes and/or Jennifer. Unreal.
Moving on from that though... Funny thing here. I thought I hadn't seen this, but almost immediately I was hit with a wave of déjà vu. Turns out I watched this not too long ago at one of my Zoom movie nights, but somehow it slipped my mind. There was no denying it though, for if that catchy theme song hadn't jogged my memory, seeing that kitten and recalling its brutal end surely did. Then of course, when Bert Convy showed up, I remembered chatting about the Love Boat.
But anyway, for a Carrie rip-off, Jennifer is serviceable fare. Director Brice Mack (who started out as an animator on some of Disney's greatest hits) made the wise decision that if you're going to tread on familiar ground, you need to up the ante. The Mean Girls here were so diabolical, they made their De Palma counterparts seem like pussycats. For instance, the queen bitch Sandra (Amy Johnston) straight up tries to murder Jennifer in one scene and then, when one of her minions intervenes, she later has her boy toy rape her so-called friend in an elevator. Cold shit.
Aside from placating us with some disco, Mack waits a considerably long time to serve up the serpents. Thankfully, it does payoff in the end. There isn't much explanation as to the how or why of Jennifer's powers - controlling snakes is an easy enough leap, but being able to materialize them out of thin air is a tad perplexing - but is there ever?
What's important is the bad folks eat shit and Jennifer gets to continue her life unfettered because good news, her religious parent doesn't try to murder her in this one. Redder IS better, amirite?