5.2/10
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Satan's School for Girls (1973)

Not Rated | | Crime, Horror, Mystery | TV Movie 19 September 1973
A young woman investigating her sister's suicide at a private girls' school finds herself battling a Satanic cult.

Director:

David Lowell Rich

Writer:

Arthur A. Ross (as A.A. Ross)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pamela Franklin ... Elizabeth
Kate Jackson ... Roberta
Lloyd Bochner ... Delacroix
Jamie Smith-Jackson ... Debbie (as Jamie Smith Jackson)
Roy Thinnes ... Clampett
Jo Van Fleet ... Headmistress
Cheryl Ladd ... Jody (as Cheryl Stoppelmoor)
Frank Marth ... Detective
Terry Lumley Terry Lumley ... Martha
Gwynne Gilford ... Lucy
Bill Quinn ... Gardener
Ann Noland Ann Noland ... Kris
Bing Russell ... Sheriff
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Storyline

Elizabeth Sayers enrolls at Salem's School for Girls, her dead sister's alma mater, in Salem, Mass. to investigate why her sister, Martha, was mysteriously hanging from a 12-foot ceiling beam at the girls' West Coast home. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Murder or suicide See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pikeskolen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kate Jackson took on the role of the dean in the 2000 TV remake. See more »

Goofs

Roberta pours Elizabeth a giant glass of wine when she arrives at school but not enough wine is missing from the bottle to explain the amount in the glass. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Cinema Snob: Satan's School for Girls (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The bad parts are pretty bad, but the good parts are creepy as hell.
24 April 2005 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

This made for TV horror thriller is a lot better than it's ridiculous title would have you believe, which is really saying something since the title is actually a pretty apt description of what goes on in the movie. It starts out with a girl acting really strangely, running away something that isn't identified and then turning up dead. Her sister doesn't accept the police's quick decision to label it a suicide and close the case. Surely there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they are right, but then again, they don't take supernatural explanations into account so her sister Elizabeth decides to take the investigation into her own hands.

Suspicious that the girl's school that her sister attended at the time of her death may have had something to do with what happened to her, Elizabeth enrolls into the school to do some investigating of her own. I don't know how fresh the idea of that premise was in 1973, but it works pretty well here. There are some slip-ups, like when Elizabeth meets the Head Mistress for an interview and spouts some nonsense like "Picasso was a realist painter before he was an impressionist." Not that I don't accept that someone her age would have any knowledge about that (it is, after all, not exactly the kind of knowledge reserved for geniuses), it's just that it's so out of place in this movie. I guess I should respect such an attempt at three dimensional characterization though. Horror movies are, after all, historically lacking in this area.

I got Satan's School for Girls on a 10-movie collection that I bought for $15, since I have something of a love of old, crappy horror movies (and you can't beat that price!), otherwise I would never have seen it. To be sure, this is one of those movies that is actually worth watching but has a title that is incredibly efficient in making people want to see it. Who would want to watch a movie with a title like this? I imagine that's part of the reason that the remake with Shannon Dougherty came and went instantaneously with little to no attention. And this really is unfortunate, because the movie certainly has some tense moments. The scene where Elizabeth goes searching the basement for the room where the painting of her sister took place is wonderfully creepy. Even that painting itself is a great prop.

The psychology teacher in the movie is a little too obvious. I think it's safe to say that no character should ever act as evil or nutty as this guy did. When he's not threatening girls with a huge knife he's making rats go insane in his lab. This guy can NOT be well balanced. It actually is a pretty clever technique to have designed the cavernous basement like the rat maze in his classroom, but if the person acting insane turns out to be the bad guy then the movie is too predictable, and if they turn out to be completely innocent then it becomes too clear that the movie was trying to deliberately lead you in the wrong direction, which in turn requires a Scooby-Doo ending because they need to explain why we were wrong the whole time in thinking exactly what they wanted us to think.

The movie takes something of a downturn in the third act, as the cheesy acting starts to tip the scales against the creepy atmosphere, which is no longer creepy enough to justify overlooking how bad the acting is. There is a ludicrous scene where the professor can't get out of a pond because there are girls all around him poking him with sticks. If they had established earlier on that he can't swim, fine, but any warm-blooded human being, man or woman, would have simply grabbed onto the first stick that poked him or her and yanked the girl holding it right into the pond. It would not be hard to do, obviously.

But there I go nitpicking. I just have a hard time with scenes like that. It's like when someone takes a person hostage, holding a gun to their head while the whole police force stands with their guns aimed, and they all drop their guns like incompetent morons. In all my years of movie watching, only twice have I seen anybody acknowledge how effective it would be to just shoot the guy (one was RoboCop, and the other was Charlie Sheen in Navy Seals). You wouldn't even have to kill him, Shooting the gunman in the arm would usually not endanger the victim at all and would completely incapacitate the gunman from being able to fire.

There I go nitpicking AGAIN. Stop me next time, will you? I don't remember there being any shooting in Satan's School for Girls (although there is a gun), and there is little to no gore either, the movie is almost solely driven by its atmosphere, which most of the time is not very effective but a few times is VERY effective. For 70s horror, this is definitely one of the better ones (excluding the giants, like The Exorcist, which are, of course, in a class all their own). Certainly worth seeing for horror buffs.


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