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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Chapter Eighteen: "The Miracles of Sabrina Spellman”. Directed by Antonio Negret. Script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Christianne Hedtke, et al. Appeared on Netflix on April 5, 2019, 57 minutes.
archiecomics.com (accessed: April 22, 2020)
netflix.com (accessed: April 22, 2020)
Web television series*
Young adults (16+)
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Author of the Entry:
Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, speaking at the 2017 WonderCon in Anheim, California. March 31st 2017, by Gage Skidmore, under the licence: Creative Commons, online (accessed: April 1, 2020).
, b. 1976
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (1976, Washington D.C.) graduated from Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Connecticut in 2003. As he says himself on his Instagram profile, he is a writer of comics, TV series, movies plays and musicals.
He started as an author for Marvel Comics, for which he was recruited at his graduation. He is now Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. As author for Marvel Comics, he was contracted for submissions of such titles as: Fantastic Four; Marvel Knights 4; Nightcrawler; The Sensational Spider-Man; Dead of Night. He adapted for comics Stephen King’s The Stand, and created the comic book Afterlife with Archie.
In his career in cinema, he adapted Stephen King’s Carrie and wrote the script for the 2014 remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of TV series: Riverdale (2017-) and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-), as well as a screenwriter for other shows targettiing young adults, for example: Glee (2009-2015), or Supergirl (2015). He was nominated for GLAAD Media Award for Golden Age and Say You Love Satan, and won a New York International Fringe Festival Excellence in Playwriting Award for Say You Love Satan. As we read in The New York Times: “He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and a dog named Ms. Molly.”
Profile at imdb.com (accessed: April 1, 2020).
Instagram (accessed: April 1, 2020).
Alexis Soloski, "He Makes Archie Deep and Sabrina Dark. Meet Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa“, The New York Times, nytimes.com, published November 8, 2018 (accessed: April 1, 2020).
Profile at Wikipedia (accessed: April 1, 2020).
Bio prepared by Alessia Borriello, University of Bologna, firstname.lastname@example.org and Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Sabrina Spelllman - Kiernan Shipka
Harvey Kinkle – Ross Lynch
Hilda Spellman – Lucy Davis
Zelda Spellman – Miranda Otto
Ambrose Spellman – Chance Perdomo
Mary Wardwell – Michelle Gomez
Rosalind Walker – Jaz Sinclair
Theo Putnam – Lachlan Watson
Prudence Night – Tati Gabrielle
Father Faustus Blackwood – Richard Coyle
Nicholas Scratch – Gavin Leatherwood
It is a lose adaptation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch by George Gladir and Dan DeCarlo and direct adaptation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Previous Chapter: The Missionaries
Next Chapter: The Mandrake
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the comic books of the same name, also written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, tells the story of Sabrina Spellman. As she is half-witch, half-mortal, most of her struggles are centered around her attempts to live in both worlds. Not only does she attend a regular high school, but also the Church of Night (which practices magic and worships Satan), led by Father Blackwood, one of Sabrina’s nemeses. The series is a satirical but darker take on the previous comic book series Sabrina the Teenage Witch by George Gladir and Dan DeCarlo, published by Archie Comics, and it presents the story in the convention of a horror comedy. In each consecutive episode the viewer can observe Sabrina’s development, as she rejects the dominance of Father Blackwood and fulfils her destiny.
The show currently consists of 3 Parts (seasons) and in total of 28 Chapters (episodes). Classical antiquity appears on several occasions. Most significant are: the episode analysed in this entry (Chapter 18, Part 2) and Part 3 of the series, featuring many mythical characters, discussed in a separate entry.
Chapter Eighteen opens with the scene in which Harvey, Sabrina’s ex-boyfriend and now one of her best friends, brings her back to the Church of Night. In the previous episode Sabrina fought angels, and died in the fight. Apparently, the Dark Lord still needed Sabrina for his plan, and brought her back from the dead. The resurrection has led to her “un-holy transformation” into a descendant of the Antichrist: she floated in the air with a crown of thorns on her head and milk white eyes, passing Satan’s will on Earth. Afterwards, even though her looks do not indicate a Satanic transformation, Sabrina did acquire special abilities – she could resurrect people, heal them, even control the weather. Sabrina now wants to use her new powers to disseminate her late father’s teachings (focused on the unity between the worlds of mortals and witches).
She has to face Father Blackwood, who is now also the new Anti-Pope of the Unholy Church. During the confrontation, Sabrina says the following to Blackwood:
“You know the Story of Pandora, don’t you, Father Blackwood? It’s almost a parable. A cautionary tale. The gods gave Pandora a jar containing all the sorrows of the world. Toil, famine, pestilence, death. They armed her for vengeance, Father Blackwood. For destruction. So when you ask me to explain these “miracles,” as you call them, I feel I must warn you. Do you really want to open that lid?”
Challenged and threatened by Sabrina, Blackwood plots against her. He uses the unsolved case of her cousin Ambrose, who was accused of murdering the former Anti-pope, Blackwood’s predecessor. Eventually, in the moment the execution is due to take place, the Dark Lord himself appears at the ceremony, clears Ambrose of all charges and humiliates Blackwood, depriving him of his title of Anti-Pope. Now Sabrina can share her late father’s ideology at a party with mortals and witches, ultimately interrupted by a new, not yet known, discovery in the tunnels of the local mine: a prophecy that Sabrina is Satan’s tool – leading to the next Chapter The Mandrake.
In this episode, the creators mainly focus on presenting Sabrina as an Antichrist character, by raising her from the dead, and by having her perform miracles, and gather people together to spread her late father’s doctrine. Sabrina recreates some miracles similar to those performed by Jesus in the New Testament, with the intention of bringing a new order into her world. Another analogy strengthening the Messianic character of Sabrina is provided by her origin: she belongs to the mortal and “divine” worlds (Sabrina being a daughter of the devil, which is a revelation of the end of the season), she wants to unite mortals and witches and save the world by bringing peace.
Perhaps because of this Messianic parallel, the mention of Pandora’s myth is important. While the figure of Jesus is equated with resurrection and a new life, Pandora is associated with misfortune and misery. These characteristics are contradictory, and yet they both relate to one character – Sabrina Spellman. By mentioning Pandora’s myth, Sabrina warns Father Blackwood that curiosity may bring catastrophic consequences. On the other hand, comparing her new powers to Pandora, Sabrina might be shadowing a future misfortune, she is not yet aware off, but guesses at, the moment the prophecy in the mine is revealed.
Pandora’s disastrous trait, her curiosity, may also be seen as positive, especially considering the feminist aspect of the show, highlighting that young girls can and should be curious, but must use caution. As Sabrina rightly tells Father Blackwood – it is “a cautionary tale”. Maybe without specifying to whom the caution is addressed – curious girls or greedy men.
Brice F. Kawin, Horror and the Horror Film, London, New York, NY: Anthem Press, 2012.
Jessica R. McCort, Reading in the Dark: Horror in Children’s Literature and Culture, Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2018.
Kendall R. Phillips, Projected Fears. Horror Films and American Culture, London, Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.
Karen J. Renner, The ‘Evil Child’ in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, London, New York, NY: Routledge, 2013.
Soundtrack available in multiple languages.