The Spell

As a corpulent teen coming of age in the 1980s, your Aunt John’s only recourse for attaining peer acceptance was to wear black on the outside (to hide the fat on the inside), and to become a devotee of Siouxsie Sioux. Based on the 1977 TV movie THE SPELL, the way the social pecking order worked was apparently somewhat different for high school girls of a certain weight in Southern California in the late ‘70s. Our flick focuses on Rita, a big girl forced to live in the anorexic shadow of her foxy younger sister, played by the 1970s welfare-to-work-mother’s answer to Jodie Foster – HELEN HUNT, and her ginger-locked ice queen of a mother, the questionably beautiful LEE GRANT (seriously, does anyone out there in KINDERTRAUMA land consider Ms. Grant pretty)? The movie commences with our pleasantly plump protagonist, clad in the requisite dumpy-pants gray sweat suit, being asked to climb the rope in gym class. While being audibly tormented by her classmates, who are all wearing sexy, crotch-cut Spandex unitards, young Rita steps up to rope while her arch nemesis executes some sort of Cirque du Soleil aerial maneuver high above the gymnasium floor. One side look from Rita at the Illeana Douglas-looking lady gym teacher, and the mean, skinny girl falls to the ground like an undernourished sack of potatoes. At home, Rita doesn’t fare much better with her looks-obsessed lawyer father scolding her for asking for seconding helpings, and scheming to ship her plus-sized patootie off to a boarding school in England. Rita strikes back by sneaking out the house late at night in a Stevie Nicks cape for bewitching trysts with the aforementioned lady gym teacher, needle pointing an awesome Persian Cat handicraft, combusting some neighbor woman who saw her mingling with the lady gym teacher, and using her powers to nearly drown her waif-like little sister at a swim meet. The movie concludes with the most awesome mother/daughter showdown set in a 1970s open-air kitchen, and let’s just say that the only supernatural force at work here kept Ms. Grant’s ginger bob from moving. That shit looks like helmet.Speaking of which, please help us out with our first ever KINDERTRAUMA poll:

Who wore it best:

Please vote in the comments.

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J.A. 1969
14 years ago

I’m gonna have to go with Twiki, but…
I have a picture of Mary Lou Retton
on a Wheaties box screaming her head off
with a rather lopsided but nonetheless pixie
bob. My best friend swears she was giving
birth to Twiki at that exact moment when
said picture was taken. I wish you could see it.


Amanda By Night
13 years ago

I go with Twiki too.

This is a good movie. I haven’t seen it in years but someone gave me a copy recently. I need to re-visit it. I remember the pictures you use at the top so well!

For the record, I think Lee Grant is attractive. Maybe it’s the moxey, but I like the cut of her jib.

13 years ago

“Moxey”? “Cut Of Her Jib?”  Do you ALWAYS talk like Grandpa on THE SIMPSONS????

TWIKI, all the way! His speech impediment drove me insane though.

led tv
11 years ago

There’s one scene in the movie that always stood out in my head. A woman is walking down a flight of stairs, when she is overtaken by one of these spells. Her tongue turns purple and smoke comes out of her head. It was very shocking the way the attack just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Amanda Mullins
Amanda Mullins
4 years ago

I’ve seen this movie before. As a fat woman myself, I got very upset at the taunts, seeing as how the protagonist really ISN’T fat! She’s just a little thicker than her waiflike peers.
It’s frustrating watch a movie about a non anorexic looking girl who gets shit from all sides when she isn’t even fat. I wanna knock all their heads together hehe.

Bitter? Oh…a little.