“If only they knew she had the power.” ~Carrie (1976)
This is the 23rd of 31 posts in a row on horror movies. Yup, it’s October, baby.
IMDB Summary: Carrie White is shy and outcast 17-year old girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, and unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates for the last time at her senior prom.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%
Why I love it: Because they’re all gonna laugh at you!
This is the second Brian De Palma movie on this list, after Dressed to Kill. It’s also one of 14 movies here that have been remade, most of them completely pointlessly. Including this one. It’s just so lazy. The thrill is gone when you know what’s going to happen. Just sayin’.
As much as I’m not big on the supernatural ability thing, and by extention the ridiculousness of the premise of Carrie, I still love it. It’s more than just a watch-the-plain-redheaded-outcast-girl-wreak-havok-on-the-high-school-bitches kind of movie. OK, that’s pretty much exactly what it is, but still. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie both got Oscar nominations for it. For a horror movie. That just doesn’t happen, unless it’s super rad.
Speaking of rad, I have to mention what one nytimes.com movie reviewer wrote, which was originally published November 17th, 1976: Carrie is an elegant box lunch that got dropped. The wine is all over the rolls. Caviar is embedded in the turkey, and there is lettuce in the mousse. It is a mess, with bits of salvage floating usefully around in it. The newest film by Brian de Palma, who is often wrong but not dull, “Carrie” is billed as a horror movie. But it is sometimes funny in a puzzling kind of way, it is generally overwrought in an irritating kind of way, and once in a while it is inappropriately touching. It isn’t frightening at all until the very end, and then it is briefly and extremely frightening. (Read the whole review here.) Totally agree.
Carrie’s mother is a religious freak. Apparently, she didn’t teach her daughter about what happens when girls get their period for the first time. During a soft core porn moment in the shower at school, Carrie thinks she’s bleeding to death. The bitches in the locker room laugh and chuck tampons and sanitary pads at her. The mom from Eight is Enough consoles the poor, tramatized runt. This isn’t good. (Sissy Spacek deserved an Oscar for this scene alone.)
The girls all get put on probation. Nancy Allen (who I love) mouths off to Betty Buckley, who I’ll now refer to as “the slapper.” The slapper lets her have it. So she comes up with a plan with her boyfriend Vinnie Barbarino and her friends Riff Raff, The Greatest American Hero and Steven Spielberg’s wife. Now why does she want to go to a farm and slaughter a pig… ?
You dumb fucking beautiful idiots. You think you’re so smart. But you haven’t even noticed Carrie can move ashtrays and break light bulbs with her telekinetic powers. The girls lie to the slapper and say they want to make up for being mean to Carrie, and that Billy is going to take her to the prom. The slapper has her doubts. Come on. What kind of training did this woman get? The tension is getting worse. The mother is a raving lunatic who likes to scream religious nonsense and lock Carrie in the closet. Believing she’s finally about to have a normal moment, Carrie goes to the prom with Billy, who’s acting suspiciously date rapey. The rest of the them are practically twirling their moustaches and throwing their heads back with giddy delight over their evil plan. And, well, if you don’t know what happens next, you don’t truly know the meaning of the word “comuppance.” Pig’s blood on a prom queen, baby. I’ve never felt so confronted by the color red.
Then there’s the split screen. Watching Carrie’s head twitch about like the Bride of Frankenstein while the blood bath is happening is the most unnerving part.
Next: Rosemary’s Baby