Jennifer – USA, 1978

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‘She walks in terror, stilled with fright. A trail of fear, to fill the night!’

Jennifer is a 1978 American horror feature film directed by Brice Mack from a screenplay by Kay Cousins Johnson and a story by Steve Krantz. It was released in the USA by American International Pictures (AIP).

Main cast:

Lisa Pelikan, Bert Convy (A Bucket of Blood; Bewitched), Nina Foch (Cry of the Werewolf), John Gavin (Psycho) and Jeff Corey (The Boston StranglerThe Premonition; Curse of the Black Widow).

Jenifer Baylor (Lisa Pelikan) is a poor, red-headed young woman from West Virginia. Jennifer possesses a power over snakes, an ability to control them and communicate with them.

She and her father, Luke Baylor (Jeff Corey), left their home in disgrace because when Jennifer was around the age of seven, some snakes she had been handling killed the town preacher’s son.

She refused to handle snakes ever again, though Luke now runs a pet store and often encourages her to use her power again. Luke is mentally disabled, unable to make meals for himself without burning them, and relies on Jennifer since his wife died. While Luke does run the pet store, he spends most of the time in a back room, listening to Christian radio.

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Jennifer receives a scholarship to an upper-class girl’s private school. While at school, Jennifer encounters a clique of wealthy and cruel girls, who hate her for being poor and different. These girls turn others against Jennifer but Jennifer also makes friends of her own, including teacher Jeff Reed (Bert Convy).

The wealthy girls’ cruelty eventually pushes Jennifer over the edge, causing her to use her special powers again for the sake of revenge against those that hurt her and her new friends…

Jennifer 1978 Lisa Pelikan

Reviews:

Jennifer is a hand-me-down version of Carrie, from which it borrows all of the above, plus a shower scene, final scare and a couple of costumes that look just like Sissy Spacek’s. If it doesn’t copy the precise ending of Carrie, the reasons appear to have been financial rather than aesthetic ones.” Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Jennifer 1978 class

“Technically speaking, there isn’t any special or noteworthy about Carrie with Snake’s cinematography, story, or anything else for that matter except maybe the laughably terrible ending wherein an army of snakes and snake demons (or rather, puppets) are unleashed by Jennifer upon all those who had wronged her in the past. The film’s budgetary restraints are never more evident than in the film’s uninspired ending…” Examiner.com

Jennifer is one of those special 1970’s treats. A movie that is sprung forth from the popularity of another (1976’s Carrie) but then goes into its own direction and you fall for its charms (Whether they be Bert Convy or an awesome theme song).” Cinema du Meep

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