Satan's School for Girls (1973) - full transcript

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.

Operator, yes,
collect call, please.

Collect to Elizabeth Sayers,
Los Angeles, KL68937.

Thank you.

Martha Sayers.

Oh, please hurry.


She has to be there.

She told me she'd be there.

She has to.




JOHN: She ain't home.

She told me she'd be here.

You her sister?


She just went to the store.

Asked me to give you a key.


Please, no.


[police sirens]

John What's going on?

It's your sister, Miss Sayers.

She's gone crazy in there.

Screamed and locked the door.

I tried all the
doors and windows.

They're all locked.

Excuse me, please.


Martha, it's me, Elizabeth.

Open the door, please.

Can you break it in?

But you can't really argue
with the coroner's report Miss


Lieutenant, my sister
did not commit suicide.

She had no reason
to kill herself.

She was happier than
she's been in years.

But no one could have
gotten into the house.

The doors and the windows were
all locked from the inside.

She did not commit suicide.

Why would she catch a
plane for Massachusetts,

hire a car at the airport,
and drive all the way

to my house to kill herself?

Well, there's no rationale
with suicide, Miss Sayers.

I understand how upset you but--


You don't understand anything.

If she was going
to kill herself,

there were worse times,
like when our parents died

when we were separated
by different schools

hundreds of miles apart.

But not now.

But you did admit that
she was a melancholy girl.

That she was lonely.

Well, you hardly saw her
during the past few years.

Then ask her friends at school.

We did.

Did you try her
ex-roommate, Lucy Dembrow?

Do you really think she would
make that much difference?


She was her roommate for
two years, she know Martha.

OK, Miss Sayers, we
went to Miss Lucy Dembrow

in Massachusetts, and to
some of the other classmates

at the Academy, and
the headmistress.

No one could give us
any further information.

I can't accept that.

Well, there just isn't
enough evidence for us

to pursue it any further.

I'm sorry, but the
case is closed.

Not for me, it isn't.

I just, uh, I couldn't
fly in for the funeral.

I mean, there was no warning.


I told the police when
they called that everything

was fine, I mean, just great.

Martha was busy and working.

So was I. If you
don't like the sherry,

I can round up some Vodka.

No, please don't
worry about it.

I don't drink much.

I just grabbed this little
place right after graduation.

I sure hope my guardian
sings for the loot.

Lucy, didn't Martha keep a
diary or anything like that?

Oh, you know her
better than that.

No memories for her.

Life was now.

Well, something was
going very wrong.

It had to be.

Nothing I know of.

Sure you wouldn't
like some vodka?

No, thank you.

She wasn't upset, or
anxious, or anything?

Well, anxious, maybe.

About our graduation, and you
and her getting your own place,

and finally being together.

Nothing else?

Like what?

Someone, something
at the school maybe.

It has to be something there.


It had to be something that
happened at the academy.

I would know if there
was anything else.

No, I'm telling you, no.

I'm going there.

Well, you won't find anything.



I've got to try.

You won't tell
anyone you saw me?

Or that you talked
to me, promise me?

Do you understand, to no one?

I'm-- I'm sorry.

Martha's death and everything.

Please forgive me.

Yes, of course.


I'm Roberta Lockhart.

We're the welcoming
committee from your class.

Now, the dragon
lady had us memorize

a short welcoming speech.

I'm afraid it would
make you throw up.

I'm Elizabeth Morgan.

We know.

We've been expecting you.

This is Debbie Jones.


And that's Jody Keller.



Jody, why don't you get the bag.


The dragon lady wanted us to
show you around to see that you

were fed, housed, settled,
made to feel like one of us

within 15 minutes
of your arrival.

How are we doing?

I feel at home already.

That's good.

The dragon lady said--

Does the dragon lady
have another name?


She is a bad painter,
a worse sculptress,

and a lousy musician.

She's a perfect headmistress
for an Academy of Fine Arts.

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.

But this place has a
marvelous reputation.

Hey, listen, a lot of
the professors are super.

Really super.

Jody's got a crush on the head
of the Fine Arts Department.

We all do.

It's a school hobby.

Uh-huh, if you like
that sort of thing.

Puligny-Montrachet, '69.

She does not speak French.

She just reads
labels very well.

To our new friend.

Take a big swallow,
because you're going

to need it for the dragon lady.


We, here at Salem Academy,
feel that girls of good breeding

are more easily groomed
into young ladies

of culture and refinement.

We do have our traditions here.

But then I suppose,
like most traditions,

they're meant to be broken.

Not all of them.

Oh, good, I'm so pleased
to hear you say that.

I don't know, it seems to
me that so many young people

today, especially
in the arts, tend

to have little regard for
traditional techniques

or classic forms.

Picasso was a realist painter
before he was an impressionist.

It's a lovely
reference, my dear.

Now this academy has
its own tradition.

Under different names, it has
been here in this very place

for over 300 years.

Well, Elizabeth, I realize
that you must be very

tired after your long trip.

But since you enrolled
after the quarter began,

I think it would be wise for
you to start your classes today.

Thank you for accepting me.

Only because you qualify.

Now, I want you to
have one of these.

Since we're some distance
from the main power lines,

we often have quite
erratic and exasperating

electrical failures.

Nothing to be frightened of.

You just keep that in your room.

Usually the blackouts
last only a short time.

Now here's your curriculum,
and this is, uh,

your list of classes for today.

Professor Clampett,
Graphic and Fine Arts.

Professor Delacroix,
Behavioral Psychology.

Yes, I think you'll find
them very interesting.

Both of them, very interesting.

Good luck, Elizabeth.

I hope you'll find Salem
Academy as rewarding as I

did when I was a student here.

Thank you.

[phone ringing]

Mrs. Williams speaking.



Yes, the new girl just arrived.

CLAMPETT: So if the illusion
and reality are different,

they're also very much the same.

What we think we see is as
real as what we actually see.

Example, optical illusion.

How many see the squares
coming out from the canvas?

Projecting of hands.


How many see the opposite, the
boxes going into the canvas?


Now what I'm going to do on
signal, I'll clap my hands,

you'll blink your eyes and then
stare right into the drawing.

And those of you who see
the reverse of the image,

you just raise your hands.

All right, ready?


OK, now stare at that canvas.





For everybody but
our new classmate

who's obviously concentrating.

I'm sorry.

I guess I wasn't concentrating.

No, I think you were
concentrating on something

and, therefore,
locked into your mind

the very first image you saw.

You have to let your
mind hang loose.

But I did blink my eyes.

Not your mind.

The artist has to be free to
see things in different ways,

to dare to see
things unlike anyone

has ever seen them before.

Now let's look at some
of our own masterpieces.

We have Roberta's landscape,
which is still rather obvious,

but I'm sure she'll see
more as she develops.

And Debbie's gloomy view.

I hope she brightens things up a
bit when she goes back to work,

or when she finds
a new boyfriend.

All right, just remember,
everything is illusion

and reality, except
for the grade

you get at the end of the term.

Until then, condemn nothing.

Embrace everything.

You hang loose.


See you tonight.

Hey, this is over.

Come on.


I liked your painting.

You're the only one who does.

The girl in it.

She's very pretty.

Is she a student here?


Martha Sayers.

She's dead now.

Oh, were you very close?

Not really.

I just thought that she--


Fitted into that room.

You ready for round two?

Yeah, what's our next class.


DELACROIX: You'll see that the
eating cycle of the rodents

will become more intense.

They'll work harder
and fight harder

to get food that sometimes
will be where they expected,

and sometimes it will not.

We'll teach them that the food
is always behind the red door.

And when they have
that well-learned,

we'll take the food away and
put it behind the white door.

And when they learn
that, we'll switch again.

And again, and again.

To what end?


To frustrate it.

Drive it crazy.

Why would I want to do?


I don't know.

Of course not.

I might as well ask the
rodents than ask you.

Elizabeth, what's the
purpose of this experiment?

To make them pass it.

And why would we
want to do that?

So that they're not
able to fight back again.


[school bell ringing]

So that the mind can be broken
to any level by manipulation.

And locked on that
level to make it

believe what we want,
to act as we wish.


So then, when you step
on its tail, it squeaks.


But then when you step on
his head, it doesn't squeak.

Can you tell me the
point of that tail.

Or, on the other
hand, don't forget

to close the white door when
you-- when you-- [screaming]


She's still very hot.

The doctor should be here soon.


We should've told
the headmistress

to notify her family.

I know, we can't.

Why not?

She doesn't have any parents.

She's only got a guardian.

He's somewhere in Europe.


Debbie, the doctor
will be here soon.

Well, what for?

I don't need a doctor.

Have you had this before?

Had what?

Don't you remember coming
out of the psych class

and suddenly screaming?

Like you were in
some terrible pain.

I don't feel any pain.

Hey, what time is it?


I'm going to wash my face.

I don't want to be late for
Dr. Clampett's wine party.

I'm going to get some more.

But you can't just dismiss
that we saw it happen.

I'm not just dismissing it.

I just hate to feed
something like this

on such flimsy evidence.

Look, we're not asking you to
judge Professor Delacroix, just

talk to him about his class.

About why he's so
hard on Debbie.

Then you draw your
own conclusions.

And what if I draw none.

Then we'll have to drop it.


Unless what?

Unless something else happens.

Well, let's just wait and
see if something else happens,

if it ever does.

Where's Jody?

She promised to come.

She's still doing office
duty for the dragon.


You needn't watch
the clock, my dear.

I'll let you know
when your time is up.

Yes, ma'am.

How is Debbie?

She's fine now.

Jody, have you been aware
of any unusual conduct

in your teachers
or your classmates,

I mean, other than
Debbie's outburst?

No, ma'am.

If that's the doctor,
if that's the doctor,

tell him I still want
him to come over.

Salem Academy.

Yes, sir.


Yes, sir.

It's the Boston police.

Lucy Debrow committed suicide.

That's two of us.


Are you awake?

Were you asleep?


I couldn't sleep, I
hope you don't mind.

No, I don't mind.

I didn't know her,
but that girl's suicide

really shook me up.



Lucy was nice.

She was really nice.

At the party you said
that makes two of us.

Martha, Martha Sayers.

She committed suicide, too.

Isn't that the girl
in your painting?

What do you think
made them do it?

I don't know.

It's like they were rats
in Delacroix's maze.

Maybe we all are.

I wish those lights
would come on again.

I meant what I said
about your painting.

I really do like it.

But that Martha girl seems
scared to death in it.

I paint what I feel.

What is she so scared of?

I don't know.

Was it that room?

Something in it maybe?

Where is that room, Debbie?

It's so strange.

It's so cold and dark.

It looks like a dungeon.

It's like it was a memory.

It's like it was a room I
saw a long, long time ago.

Do you know where?



I'm almost sure.

I am sure.

It was right here
in this building.

Well, I'd better let
you get some sleep.

I'll see you tomorrow.



[thump] [crash]



It's Elizabeth.


It's Elizabeth, please.

What's the matter?

The room in your
painting, I found it.



No, I invented that room.

It's identical.

I have never, never seen
a room like that, never.

What are you so afraid of?

I'm not afraid.

Tell me, please.



I didn't have anything
to do with it.


Nothing, now get
out of my room.

What's going on?

I told her that I found
the room in her painting.

It's in the cellar
of this building.


Well, she's terrified of
something in the painting.

Or something she thinks
is in that painting.

Look, Elizabeth, she's
a very emotional girl.

You saw that.

And there's some creepy
legend about a bunch

of people who were
killed in a cellar around

here a long time ago.

How is it supposed
to have happened?

Well, they say during
the Salem witch trials,

they were eight young women
who were accused of witchcraft,

then hung in one of the cellars.

Yeah, but look, all these
old houses have cellars.

It could've been
any one of them.

I'm going to bed.

It's a good idea for all of us.

Roberta, there was someone
in that room tonight.

I saw him.

ROBERTA: For god's
sake, don't tell Debbie.

DELACROIX: Some rodents
break under the pressure.

So do others later, but
without exception, all

are driven to various
forms of disorientation,

a kind of random wild
action that humans

might call psychotic behavior.

Now the subjects are
in abject terror.

Let's examine what
they're afraid of.


Well, it looks like they're
more mad than scared to me.

It's that terror that
motivates their anger.

The same is true
with human beings.

We're all apt to react
more strongly to terror

than any other emotion.

To react violently, even
to kill out of terror.

But don't let this
experiment fool you.

Humans don't show their
terror as do rodents,

running and screeching.

Sometimes terror can break down
all the fibers of resistance,

so the complete
passivity takes over.

And human reaction,
though passive,

is most dangerous in
this state of terror.

Elizabeth, what have you gotten
out of this experiment so far?

Well, I'm not really sure.

Do you want us to recognize
the terror element

or the motivation to violence?


Beats me.

I'm more lost than
the rodents are.

I wonder if Debbie is
taking this experiment

as lightly as you do.

[school bell ringing]

We'll continue tomorrow.

Boy, is he weird.

Yeah, and he's
weirder every day, too.

Somebody ought to really talk
to the dragon lady about it.

See you later.


I wonder what he
meant about Debbie?

Beats me.



I think it was Professor
Delacroix that I

saw the cellar last night.

What makes you
think it was him?

That basement, the
wine cellar, that room,

it's all like his rat maze.

Maybe we'd better
look at it again.

We could go down there
tonight after everybody's

gone to sleep.

What if I'm wrong?

That's not what scares me.

What if you're right?



You ready?

[door closing]

You ever been down here before?


We looked for props
to use in a play.

It's back here.

I never saw a door
like that before.

That's how they made them,
hundreds of years ago.

Come on.




What's the meaning
of this after hours.

You know the rules.

Debbie's dead.


We found her body
in the cellar.

But how?

We don't know.

It looks like she
committed suicide.


Oh, dear god.

I'll have to call the sheriff.

Hello, this is Mrs.
Williams, the headmistress

the Salem Academy.

We need you right away.

Please hurry.


Thank you.

They'll locate the sheriff
as quickly as possible.

What do we do about Debbie?

I'll ask Dr. Clampett
to lock the cellar door

and wait for the Sheriff.

And I want you to
promise me to say

nothing to the rest of the
girls until after the Sheriff


I don't want a panic in
the middle of the night.

Yes, ma'am.

Poor Debbie.

And Lucy Danbrow
and that Sayers girl?

Oh, come on, Roberta,
you can't believe

they all committed suicide.

Well, it would be one
hell of a coincidence.

It sure would.

Three girls from
the same school?

No, they were murdered.

Or at least driven
to do what they did.

You mean like the
rats in the maze?

I'd bet my life on it.

What do you know
about Delacroix?

Not much.

But his personnel reports
are in those cabinets.

The dragon lady keeps
them on everybody.

Let's take a look.

Come on.

Dela-- Wait a minute.

It's gone.

All right.

Now let's look for Lucy
Dembrow and Martha Sayers.

What for?

Just a hunch.

No file on Martha Sayers.

Lucy Dembrow's gone, too.

Maybe she took them
out after they died.

Let's look for Debbie Jones.

It's gone.

But the headmistress didn't
know she was dead until just


She wouldn't take
them out of here

just to hide them
someplace else.

That doesn't make any sense.

She probably doesn't
even know they're gone.

Let's check out
Delacroix's lab.

Shouldn't we wait
for the Sheriff?

It might be too late.


I tell you one thing,
I'm checking out of here

first thing in the morning.

What's the matter?

I've just thought of another
one of your great coincidences,

something all three
girls had in common.


They all of them had
no one to help them.

All their parents are dead.

Elizabeth, so are
mine, but you don't

see me killing myself over it.

Come on.

Dembrow, Sayers,
Jo-- you were right.

Oh, Roberta, look.

They're all dead.

were slaughtered.

They were slaughtered.

I know why you came here.

I know who sent you.

But it won't stop me.

It won't silence me.

It killed them the way
it wants to kill me.


Who killed them?

It wasn't a person.

You know it wasn't a person.

Not me.

I won't give in, not ever.



What the devil's going on?

Thank god it's you.

Delacroix was in his lab.

He's killed all his animals.

He's gone crazy.

He thinks somebody's after him.

Where is he now?

He ran toward the woods.

I'll try to stop him.

No, he's got a gun.

Wait for the police.

They're on their way.

Mrs. Williams told me.

I took care of Debbie.

Now look, if they see him with
a gun, they might shoot him.

Maybe he'll listen to me.

You two wait here and don't
scare the other girls.

Wait right here.

Jody, Jody.

Help me.


Help me.



I'll never go back
there again, please.

Please let me out.

I won't tell.

Please let me go.

Let me out.

I won't tell.

I'm worried about Dr. Clampett.

Don't worry about him.

He can take care of himself.

Yeah, he's something else.

I've never met anybody like him.

You never will.

For all of us in
school, and especially

those of us without
parents, he's

fulfilled a very special need.

We can't just stay
here and do nothing.

We're doing exactly
what he wanted us to do.

I always do that.

Sounds to me like
you're in love.


A very special kind of love.

See, when I first came to the
Academy, I was really lost.

He gave me confidence in myself.

He gave me a belief in my own--


I was thinking of
the word, power.


To do what?

Not that kind of power.

Power to live.

Power to never feel
vulnerable again.

Never feel like you're
life is right on the edge

of being wiped out.

And if it were,
nobody would care.

Nobody would give a damn.

He gave you all that?

And more.

He can't help you
if you fight him.

He can't help you
if you resist him.

Who wants to fight him?

Right now, I could use
all the help I can get.

Well, I guess it
was easier for you.

You had parents and a family.

No, all I had was a sister.

And she's gone now.

My real name is Sayers.

Martha Sayers was my sister.

You see, I never really believed
that she committed suicide.

That's why I came here.

When she was here, Dr.
Clampett tried to help her.

She wouldn't listen to him.

You know, I think
we're getting very

close to finding out
what really happened

to her, and Lucy, and Debbie.

I hope so, Elizabeth.

I really do.

I couldn't find him.

He got away.

The police?

I don't know
what's keeping them,

but he could come back
here looking for you two.

Maybe he always
knew that Elizabeth

was Martha Sayers' sister.

I'm sorry.

I should have told you before.

I just didn't know who to trust.

I understand.

I don't want you here
or in your rooms.

That's the first
place he'd look.

Up to my classroom.

Lock the doors, draw the
blinds, and don't let anyone in.

Oh, no.

I'll get the lamp.


It would be best to
clear the girls out

of here for the night.


What are you going to do?

Just clear the school.


No, I won't let you do any more.

I don't know why I let
you do what you've done,

but it's over now.

It's all over.

Oh, please.


Don't make me do any more.



Yes, Dr. Clampett?

You'll do as you're told.

Yes, Dr. Clampett.

You'll tell them and
the rest of the staff

it's because of
the power failure.


And tell them the
power company has

notified us that it
can't be restored,

and it would be dangerous.

I want everybody out.


Whatever you say.

It won't be long now.

It's almost over.

The bus is full, ladies.

Try the mini bus.


Come on, keep moving.

STUDENT: Professor?

Why can't we take our own cars?

Dragon lady's orders.

Doesn't want any of you
pure in heart going out

and making clandestine

And don't you dare
tell that battle

axe I called her a dragon lady.

No, it's our secret forever.

Yes, forever.

Oh, by the way,
Professor Jenkins

said to tell you
according to register,

there's still eight girls here.

All right, tell him
I'll transport them

along with the headmistress.

All right?

All right, Rudy.

[horns honking]

What's this?

It sounds like some cars.

The police.

Hey, they'll come in.

Dr. Clampett said to stay here.

I'm not waiting.

Elizabeth, wait.






Where have you been?

I've been looking all--

Delacroix, he's dead.


In my car.

I found him in my car.

Where are the police?

What's happened to them?

Come on, we'll call them again.

Mrs. Williams?

Mrs. Williams, Professor
Delacroix's dead.

He's been murdered.

The headmistress
isn't here right now.

She told me to wait for her.

She's going to punish me.

I know she is.

But she's wrong.

It's a lie.

Somebody told her
a lie about me.

I wasn't in that room.

I would never go down there.

What's wrong with her?

Did you tell her?

I'll bet you were
the ones who told

her I went down to that room.

Listen, forget her.

Get the police.

Hey, what are you doing?

You can't use that phone.

Miss Abigail doesn't let
anybody use that phone.


I can't get anybody.

The phones must be out, too.

Everybody's gone.

I saw them leave.

What are you talking about?

All the buses.

They were head toward town.

Roberta, I think we're
the only ones here.

You'd better get
out of this office.

Miss Abigail will
give you demerits

if she catches you here.

Where's your car?

The keys are gone.

Somebody took them.

Look, we could
walk to the highway

and hitch a ride into town.

No, that's a long
way in the dark.

It's better than
staying here with her.

Yeah, and whoever killed
Professor Delacroix.

I wish we had a
gun or something.

Did she keep one?

Let's find out.

What are you doing?

Miss Abigail will throw
you out of school.

She'll be back any minute.

Wait a minute.

There's one in the basement.

When I was down there
looking for props,

there was one in a steel
cabinet in the basement.

Are you sure?

Yeah, one of the maintenance
men kept it there, I think.

A gun and a couple of rifles.

No, you can't go down there.

No, you can't go down there.

That's why I'm in trouble.

Miss Abigail doesn't let
anybody go down there.

OK, what do you say?

Is it the highway, or
do we try for the gun?

Let's get the gun.

No, please, please.

Don't go down there.

She'll think I sent you.

Please don't go down there.


Listen, you just stay here.

And we'll tell her
that you didn't have

anything to do with it, OK?


You tell her I was
never in that room.

I'll tell her any damn thing
you please, just stay put.

But he'll find out.

Miss Abigail will tell him.

She always tells him everything.

Where is it?

On the wall.

There's a key taped
to the top on it.

I got it.

The rifles are gone.

The revolver?

I don't know, I'll look.

It's empty.

Hold it.

You know how to use that thing?

Yeah, I was brought
up on a farm.

My father had these
around the whole time.

[door creaking]

Come on, let's get out of here.


It could be one of the girls.

We've got to see.


Walk to one side in case
I have to use this thing.

There's a light.

We've waited for
you, Elizabeth.

Look around you.

Eight of my girls died here.

Eight, all unwanted, like you.

Like all of them.

I have waited too long.

Now I have found eight
to take their place.

And like them,
abandoned once again.

It's no coincidence that we
don't have families, Elizabeth.

He wanted it that way.

It has to be that way.

Jody, Roberta, who
do you think he is?

We know.

Malleus Maleficarum,
the hammer of witches.

Some call him Satan.

I welcome what man rejects.

I beckon what man despises.

I forgive what man will not.

You don't believe that.

That he's Satan.

None of you can
really believe that.

They believe what they must.

Tonight they will sacrifice
their mortal souls willingly.

Here where it started, and
they will return with me.

You're crazy.

Listen to me.

I don't know what kind
of a hold he has on you,

but he's killed
Delacroix and Debbie.

We know, Elizabeth.

Come with me willingly.

Your sister would
not, nor Lucy Dembrow.

Don't listen to him.

Look, there are eight
of us against his one.

You've got to get out of
here before it's too late.

For god's sake.

For his sake or mine?

They've already
made their choice.



We shall meet when
I have the eighth.

Mrs. Williams.

There's a fire.

I'm plant monitor.

I forgot to water
these plants today.

You won't tell Miss
Abigail, will you?

I won't tell Miss
Abigail anything.

Now come on, we have
to get out of here.

Give me that.

What are you doing?

Come on, get out.



I want to stay.

Come on.

[police sirens]

Your people told us
about the power danger.

It looks like we're
a little late.

Everybody out?


Not everyone.

Where's the headmistress?

She'll have to notify
their families.

They didn't have any.

Ahh, where's Dr. Clampett.

Where he belongs.

[theme music]