Carrie is the first Stephen King book ever adapted. Which also happens to be his first published book. Hard to believe the “King of Horror” has only been writing since 1974. Even harder to believe Carrie was released a mere 2 years after the book, but director Brian De Palma saw its potential. Carrie was always a Stephen King adaptation that intrigued me the most. Since it mixes my love of teen movies with my fascination with horror. Carrie is often regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. My earliest exposure to it was on many scary movie moment lists. So I already knew about the infamous Prom ending.
Although if I was around during the 70’s, I would have already known the twist anyway. Since the original trailer made the unwise decision to give it away. Despite being 29 at the time (then again every actor is older then they should be), Sissy Spacek plays the 16 year old Carrie White. A dowdy young lady with telekinesis that no one likes due to her fanatically religious mother. The Psycho theme is used whenever she uses her power. Religious subtext, bullying, and supernatural powers are just some of the many motifs Stephen King would be known for…
Carrie is what happens when you push someone too far. At the very beginning it’s apparent Carrie is unpopular. After a lengthy shower scene, Carrie is horrified to discover she has her first period. Since she’s older and her mother never explained it to her. The girls cruely taunt Carrie, only for gym teacher Miss Collins (Miss Desjardin in the book) to intervene. She’s the only person who consistently shows Carrie kindness. Making her eventual fate all the more shocking. Sue Snell is another person who comes around to Carrie. Despite taking part in the taunting, Sue feels genuinely remorseful. Even asking her popular boyfriend with big 70’s hair to ask Carrie to the Prom. Although Tommy Ross doesn’t seem to like the idea, he warms up to Carrie as well.
The only person who truly hates Carrie is Chris Hargensen. A popular mean girl who vows revenge on Carrie after her actions prevent her from attending Prom. With the help of her distractingly John Travolta boyfriend, the two plot to dump pig’s blood on Carrie when she becomes Prom Queen. Sissy Spacek is absolutely perfect as Carrie. Both for her looks and shy demeanor. She was even nominated for Best Actress. Along with Piper Laurie as her mother Margaret White. Despite thinking the movie was a comedy, her performance is both cruel and manipulative. I’m not a fan of religious villains, but I do agree that her treatment of Carrie is just as bad as the bullies at school.
In the few fleeting moments when Carrie is happy, the music builds to a tense climax. When the bucket drops, there’s nothing but stunned silence. Filled with nothing but the words of her mother saying “they’re all gonna laugh at you,” and that is of course all she sees. Blinded by rage, Carrie’s eyes widen, the lights go out, and she unleashes her telekinetic power on anyone in her way. It’s easily one of the most well crafted scenes in any horror movie. Since your not sure who to root for. Sue is the only survivor, but not before an unexpected jumpscare. The image of Carrie in her blood soaked Prom dress surrounded by fire will forever remain iconic. It’s what makes Carrie one of the most shocking Stephen King stories ever put to screen.
Followed by: The Rage: Carrie 2