Director: Brian De Palma
“[…] Carrie marked his breakthrough. It is an operatic horror melodrama blending the family gothic, supernaturalism, and teen movie. It remains the cinema’s best adaptation of a Stephen King novel.” (605, Adrian Martin, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)
The thing I found most disturbing about Carrie was not the telekinesis, murder and mayhem but actually the blind religious fever of Carrie’s mother. She is by far the scariest character with her one track mind. Her overbearing nature is way more destructive than the other factors that contribute to the film’s now iconic climax. Carrie is routinely subjected to abuse, often confined to a cupboard and forced to pray for forgiveness for the perceived sins she has committed in her mother’s eyes. And for the most part these ‘sins’ are beyond her control like getting her period for the first time. The Jesus in Carrie’s penance cupboard has to be the creepiest depiction of the deity I have ever seen!
Carrie remains one of the best examples of how very cruel teenagers can be and the devastating effects of such cruelty. During those key transitional years from childhood to adulthood are some of the toughest and everyone can relate to them. “We watch with ambivalence as Carrie’s revenge fantasies cross the line into uncontrolled mass murder in the climatic prom scene (a De Palma tour de force.)” (605) The one bright spot, of sorts, is Sue who has the courage to detach herself from the herd to help Carrie have a normal high school experience like going to senior prom. Yes she takes her time in doing so but the important thing is that she separates herself from the destructive hive mind that was the popular crowd. Sue is not only the lone survivor of the carnage Carrie unleashes at the prom but the only person who tries to warn about the impending humiliation. I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Sue.
“Sissy Spacek is astonishing in the title role.” (605) For a “plain Jane” you cannot take your eyes off her. Her innocence and naivety made me want to protect her from the brutality her classmates subjected her to – as well as her crazy religion obsessed nut job of a mother. I had absolutely no sympathy for anyone trapped in the school hall – they got their comeuppance.
I’d quite like to see the most recent remake of Carrie (2013, Kimberly Peirce) because I know that remakes of this particular film have had little success and are really rather poor imitations. Carrie is still an excellent horror film and one that is infinitely easier to relate to than many of the other films in the horror genre.