THE VHS JUNKIE’S LATEST FIX: JENNIFER (1978)

I recently purchased a brand new Panasonic Bluray/VHS combo player and I’ve been going on scavenger hunts all over the city and internet, looking for rare movies on video tape. Thanks to my good friend,  New Beverly Cinema Queen Julia Marchese, I found a small independent video store that’s selling off its entire VHS inventory. The place turned out to be a virtual treasure trove, where I was able to purchase TONS of old movies for peanuts, that are either not available on DVD, out of print, or so obscure even I have never seen them before. I’m gonna write up some reviews of certain select titles from my new collection.

Tagline: SHE WALKS IN TERROR, STILLED WITH FRIGHT. A TRAIL OF FEAR, TO FILL THE NIGHT!

JENNIFER (1978) is a low budget B-movie rip-off of the supernatural hit CARRIE. It concerns a young, pretty, country girl named Jennifer Baylor (LISA PELIKAN), who attends the snotty Green View School for Girls on an academic scholarship. She lives with her cagey, religious cook papa in the back of a pet store they operate and is a quiet girl, who keeps to herself. Unfortunately for her, she bumps heads with the evil Sandra Tremayne (AMY JOHNSTON) over a cheating scandal. Sandra leads a clique of pill-popping rich bitches, whom along with their equally cruel boyfriends, begin to torment poor Jennifer at their leader’s request. Also, to make matters worse, Sandra is the daughter of Senator Tremayne (JOHN GAVIN), whom presses the all-too-eager Head Mistress, Mrs. Calley (NINA FOCH), into siding against the innocent waif.

At home, her papa is constantly pressuring her to accept the “power” she was gifted with, when she was a child. You see, Jennifer’s father used to take her to these crazy church meetings when she was young, where they speak in tongues and worship serpents and it turns out, Jennifer has a gift for conjuring up and commanding SNAKES with her mind! She doesn’t want to unleash this dangerous ability, but her papa keeps on her about it.

Her only ally comes in the form of BERT CONVY as the sexy school teacher Mr. Reed, whom every girl has a crush on. He sympathizes with Jennifer, but is threatened with termination from Mrs. Calley, if he continues to support her. “The rich are always right.” she tells him.

Without anyone to help her, the girls play a lot of cruel pranks on Jennifer. Sandra tries to drown her in swim class. Then, they steal her clothes from her locker and take nude photos of her, circulating them around the school. If that isn’t fucked up enough, Sandra buys Jennifer’s favorite cat from the pet store, kills it, hangs it in her locker and frames her for the pussy’s death. What a fucking BITCH!

But that’s not all! Sandra tricks Jennifer’s stupid father into leaving the back door of the pet shop open, so that she and her friends can surprise her with a gift. The old man buys it and they kidnap Jennifer out of her bed, tie her up, throw her in the trunk of a red Trans Am and drive her to the rooftop of a parking garage, where they plan to torment her some more.

Well, the jokes on them! Jennifer conjures up a bunch of deadly snakes with her mind and unleashes them on her tormentors. All the bullies are bitten and choked to death by a wide variety of serpents. Sandra flees in her car, but a GIANT snake leaps from the back seat and bites her, sending the car careening upside down, where it explodes on impact in typical 70s fashion. Jennifer gets her revenge!

JENNIFER is in every way, shape and form, a cheap version of CARRIE with snakes, but it wasn’t half bad. The main reasons being that, the mean girl Sandra is a great villain to watch get her comeuppance and LISA PELIKAN is very likable as Jennifer. Even though the movie is totally derivative, I enjoyed it and rooted for Jennifer to fuck everyone up with her crazy snake magic. It’s not available on DVD, just the good old VHS release from VESTRON VIDEO, if you can find it. Nerd out!

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