Satan’s School for Girls (1973)

It’s all too often that a horror film’s name is much better than the film itself, isn’t it? Film’s like Blood of Ghastly HorrorThe Thirsty Dead and many others all come to mind; titles with such promise that deliver nothing close to what our jaded, bloodthirsty minds have dreamt up. Day 23 of 31 Days of Horror delivered disappointment along these lines. I can think of a million directions a film named Satan’s School for Girls could go! Unfortunately, the film itself never went any of these fun, degraded places. Instead of what you might expect, it’s a relatively tame made-for-TV flick from 1973.

Martha's freaked out.

Martha’s freaked out.

The film starts off with Martha, a young blonde woman driving down the highway in California. She seems to be running from something or someone. All we see is a man with a cigar who may or may not be after her. She is on her way to see her sister Elizabeth (Pamela Franklin). When she gets there, she is absolutely frantic; no one is coming to the door and they’re (?) coming to get her! Elizabeth’s landlord let’s her in. Minutes later he hears a scream, the cops arrive just in time for Elizabeth to open the door and see that her sister has hanged herself.

Though Martha has a history of depression and alienation, Elizabeth is convinced she’s been doing much better and doesn’t believe she would have come all the way out to see her just to kill herself. So she decides there must be something fishy going on at the Academy her sister was going to. So like anyone else would, she drops her whole life and goes undercover, enrolling at the same Academy as a student; not revealing to anyone that she is Martha’s sister.

Elizabeth is afraid to look.

Elizabeth is afraid to look.

The school seems pretty darn normal to me, but I guess I’m supposed to think some of it’s weird. There’s a chick named Debbie who did a painting of Martha in a basement somewhere. There’s a psych professor who is all-too excited about making the rats in his maze passive. There’s the art teacher all the girls drool over. Finally, there’s the headmistress, nicknamed by all the “Dragonlady” though I never quite understood why; she seemed perfectly nice to me. But clearly something weird is going on because girls keep committing suicide, and Elizabeth finds out after they drop dead, their files disappear from the main office. Someone in the administration is behind this, and Elizabeth is hell-bent on finding out.

Could it be, Satanists?

Could it be, Satanists?

Dang, this movie is a total snoozer. Pamela Franklin is cute and all, but I don’t think she’s cute enough to spend your time watching this movie. It’s pretty sub-standard satanic cult stuff; we don’t even really get to the interesting part until like the last twenty minutes. The characters aren’t very interesting or all that developed, and to be honest I don’t really give a crap what happens to any of them. All that being said, I can imagine if I’d been a kid in 1973 when this was released on television it would have been one of my favorite movies; I guess it just takes a lot more to impress me these days, eh? I guess if you have a kid who likes scary movies this might be worth showing them, but it’s pretty boring as far as adult fare goes.

It seems they remade the movie in 2000, also for television, this time starring Shannen Doherty as the lead undercover gal. I can’t help but think it’s probably just as boring (or perhaps even moreso) than the original; a film with a name like this really needs to be made as an R-rated feature. Imagine what fun we could have with Satan in the movie theaters!


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