Dir.: Brian de Palma
Producer(s): Paul Manosh
Writer(s): Lawrence D. Cohen (screenplay), “Carrie” novel by Stephen King
Company: United Artists
Starring: Sissy Spacek, William Katt, John Travolta, Piper Laurie
How could I have forgotten Carrie?
It’s one of the few Stephen King films that I’ve seen and read with its novelization. I read it throughout my high school years and it is written in a way of newspaper clippings, stories and various point of views.
It is a film that is about the female experience and growth of being a teenager, dealing with high school, exclusion, crushes, bullying, the list goes on and on.
It defined a generation and for some, it is one of the best novel to film of King’s works. It’s a favorite of mine and Sissy Spacek is amazing in this role.
Carrie, released in 1976, directed by Brian de Palma is about our main protagonist, Carrie White unexpectedly going through some life changes while experiencing her mother’s religious rants (Laurie), high school crushes, bullying at her school and oh, she has telekinetic abilities.
The cinematography is shot with soft tones and it’s intimate. When it comes to Carrie, there’s a tenderness, softness, vulnerability within her shots and you feel bad for her, you want to protect her and the camera work supports that.
When it’s not about her, it tends to look harsher but maybe I’m reading too much or too deep into that.
Of course there are some very memorable moments from when Carrie discovers her first period and the girls are teasing her and yelling “plug it up” or when Carrie caused the kid on the bike to fall and hurt himself but we know where the good stuff comes in… it’s the entire prom scene and everything that comes after.
The camera work of spinning around Carrie and her date (Tommy, played by Katt) is magical, almost fairy tale like for Carrie to be here, be with a popular boy, music playing that makes you feel “awww” or safe but that’s all tarnished when that bucket of pig’s blood falls on her and it triggers a meltdown and destruction of her classmates and the school.
The transformation of music change, there’s that brief moment of silence and there’s nothing more dangerous than a teenage girl covered in blood, humiliated who happens to have special powers. The scene continues with this red filter over the screen (might reference to being covered in blood, the anger that Carrie feels) and we just watch chaos happen and it’s a part where you root for her. You don’t feel bad for most of the kids there, I mean, a lot of them basically made her life horrible at school.
And there’s also that great scene of her standing on the stage and the background is on fire and it’s so beautiful looking.
It continues on with her being at home and facing her mother and how her mother is “crucified”.
There is so much imagery throughout the film that makes it watchable over and over.
I also wonder if Argento had the idea of the ending to Suspiria or the end credits with the school on fire, the main girl escapes but we hear and see everything happening in the school is inspired by that scene where Carrie is leaving the school.
Like I had mentioned prior, it is one of the better interpretations of King’s works, it is still relevant today of the young girl experience of growing up, puberty, bullying, etc and when you have actors and a great director and his crew who are making a memorable piece of work, there’s nothing better.
If you haven’t seen Carrie, please do so. There are other versions of this movie as well as a remake from 2013 and a direct sequel to the original 1976 film called The Rage: Carrie 2. Maybe one day I’ll discuss that one since I saw that in theaters.
Carrie is a great film. It really is. would highly recommend this film if you enjoy horror or Stephen King or just a good movie in general.