The Spell used to be some kind of rarity. I was surprised to see it streaming online at Hulu and Netflix. I am glad they picked up this little Carrie wannabe. The cast is awesome. Lee Grant plays the mother of a dumpy 15 year old girl named Rita (Susan Myers), who gets taunted at school constantly. Luckily, she's picked up some witchcrafty stuff and uses it to wreak havoc on anyone who tells her No. Sounds a little like Madonna, don't it? Anyway, her dad (James Olson) and sister (a very young Helen Hunt) don't like Rita that much either, so guess who falls under her spell? Also, mom has a friend that Rita dislikes, and let me tell you, the outcome ain't pretty! Jack Colvin from the Incredible Hulk shows up too as a parapsychologist (seriously, that must be the best job in the whole wide world!) but doesn't do more than act serious and stare down Lee. Still, we love him, don't we?
Fairly low key little slasher with competent effects, The Spell is a good time for TV movie lovers. I actually prefer the other Carrie rip-off, Jennifer a little more (plus that one has Bert Convy!), but I think The Spell will enchant those who remember when this first aired on NBC way back on February 20th, 1977. It was a very good night for television, indeed.
Piece of trivia: I took a class taught by the writer of this movie. His name is Brian Taggert and he's probably best known as the guy who wrote Visiting Hours (also with Lee Grant). What a wonderful man. I honestly had no idea he'd written this! Go Brian!!!
Read more about The Spell at Kindertrauma