Carrie
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FAQ for
Carrie (1976) More at IMDbPro »

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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Carrie can be found here.

What is 'Carrie' about?

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a shy and mousy senior at Bates High School and the daughter of a religiously fanatical mother (Piper Laurie), is constantly taunted by her classmates. One of the girls, Sue Snell (Amy Irving), takes pity on Carrie and talks boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) into asking Carrie to the senior prom. However, another of the girls, Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen) hates Carrie enough that she gets her boyfriend, Billy Nolan (John Travolta), to pull a trick on Carrie, embarrassing her in front of the whole school when she is named prom queen in a rigged election. What no one realizes is that Carrie has the power of telekinesis (moving things with her mind) that is violently released when she gets angry.

Yes. Carrie is a 1974 novel by American horror writer Stephen King. The story was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen. A sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2 was released in 1999 but Carrie, the title character, appears only in archived footage. A made-for-TV remake, Carrie, came out in 2002, and a second remake, also titled Carrie, was released in 2013.

Because of her mother, Carrie was socially "behind" ever since childhood, and that made her strange in the eyes of the other kids. That's why they treated her the awful way they did when she got her first period while showering after gym class. Carrie didn't have any idea what was happening to her, and the other girls were disgusted at her ignorance about menstruation.

Sue felt guilty for throwing tampons at Carrie, so she wanted to make it up to her by having her boyfriend, one of the most popular guys at the school, take Carrie to the prom and show her a good time.

Those who were in on the blood bucket prank are: Chris Hargensen, Billy Nolan, Norma Watson (P.J. Soles), Norma's boyfriend Freddy (Michael Talbott) (who helps Norma switch the votes), and Kenny (Rory Stevens) (the kid laughing with Freddy).

No, although Sue's motives are kept ambiguous right until the prank is executed. Sue only figured out the prank when she snuck into the prom and waited on the side of the stage with her hand against the stage wall. It was then that she noticed the rope leading to the bucket hanging right over Carrie's head. Tommy also felt sorry for the way that the other girls were treating Carrie and agreed to take her to prom on Sue's request.

After Carrie got drenched in blood, several of her peers did begin laughing. Carrie's mother had previously planted a seed in her mind the idea that "they're all gonna laugh at you," so, in Carrie's mind, everyone was laughing, including Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) -- when in reality, very few were. This part of the film does, however, differ from the original Stephen King novel, in which Carrie is in fact humiliated. In the DVD Special Features, Brian DePalma pointedly addresses this question: "One of the questions that's come up over the years is: 'Was Miss Collins laughing at Carrie in the scene?' and the answer is no, not at all. A good deal of that sequence is really in Carrie's mind, which tips over at the point of the blood. What is occurring is a mixture of what her mother has threatened and promised will indeed happen, her worst fears, her imagination, her paranoia, and everything else." DePalma's explanation extends to why other characters, who would be unlikely to laugh in such a situation, are also shown laughing here. The "actual" reactions of most people at the prom are most likely the looks of shock and dismay they express immediately after the blood has been spilled, while the sequence is still in slow motion.

TOMMY: When Carrie got soaked in pig's blood, the bucket fell on Tommy's head and knocked him unconscious. Ms. Collins and a group of students carry him off the stage but none of them are seen again after Ms. Collins death. In the epilogue, Sue's mother mentions his death.

NORMA: During the attack at the prom, a fire hose is released, spraying massive and powerful amounts of water onto everyone. The spray was so powerful that it knocked Norma against three tables, killing her almost instantly.

CHRIS: Chris and her boyfriend Billy escape from the school and drive off, but Carrie causes their car to crash, killing them both.

BILLY: See Chris.

MISS COLLINS: A basketball goal falls on Miss Collins, crushing her insides or possibly cutting her in half.

CARRIE: After setting fire to the school, Carrie returns home, is stabbed by her mother, and her telekinetic powers go out of control. She then locks herself and her mother in a closet and sets fire to their house. The final scene is a dream sequence in which Sue visits the empty lot where Carrie's house was. There is a For Sale sign in the shape of a cross with the words 'Carrie White burns in hell!' written across it. But as this was a dream sequence it's left a shade ambiguous, but likely she was killed.

MARGARET: When Carrie returns home from the prom, Margaret has resolved herself to the notion that Carrie is spawn of the devil and must die. As she hugs her sobbing daughter, Margaret stabs her in the back. Carrie retaliates by killing Margaret.

SUE: Sue, who snuck into the prom in time to see the prank that Chris and Billy had set up, was expelled from the gym by Miss Collins, who thought she was there to make trouble. Consequently, Sue was not in the gym when Carrie set it afire. However, the shock of watching the school go up in flames and seeing all of her friends die gave Sue many days and nights of bad dreams. It is Sue who, in the final scene dreams of visiting the vacant lot where Carries house was as if it was her grave.

OTHERS: Sue's mother confirms in the epilogue that many of Sue's friends died. Those who weren't knocked down by the water from the hose were running in panic before Carrie walked out after having set fire around most, if not the entire perimeter of the gym.

How does the movie end?

With the school ablaze behind her, Carrie walks home. She draws a bath to wash off the pig's blood, then goes in search of her mother. As Margaret holds her daughter, she says that she should have 'given her to God' when she was born, explains how she was conceived 'in sin,' bemoans the fact that 'the Devil has come home,' and then stabs Carrie in the back with a butcher knife. Carrie falls down the stairs, and when Margaret starts coming at her again with the knife, she uses her powers to send knife after knife at her mother, crucifying her in the kitchen doorway. Because of her anger, the ceiling of the house starts to cave in, so Carrie pulls her dead mother into the closet. The house catches fire, burning everything in it. In the final scene, Sue (the only one to escape the burning school) dreams that she's putting flowers on the burnt out spot where Carrie's house stood. Suddenly, a bloody hand reaches up through the ground and grabs her wrist. Sue wakes up screaming in her mother's arms.

The music during the P.E. detention scene (as well as the similar music that plays when the boys are renting tuxedos) is part of the film's score by Pino Donaggio. It is referred to as Groovy Track on a few bootlegs that have surfaced on the internet (ripped from the laserdisc's isolated audio track). The track was released as part of the limited edition complete score CD issued in 2010 by Kritzerland Records. The track was titled Calisthenics.

The song is called Education Blues, performed by the band "Vance or Towers," who appear on the stage. The song was released on the band's long out-of-print self-titled album, though the LP version has extra lyrics and different orchestrations.

No. This is one movie in which Stephen King does not have a cameo.

It's well documented that a lot of footage was cut out of the film, most notably the rain of stones prologue. Since there were no DVDs, LDs or other venues for deleted material when the film was made, it's believed that the footage no longer exists. On the 25th anniversary DVD, they told about the prologue and somewhat recreated it using rare black and white photos that were taken on the set.

In a March 20, 2010 interview, King replied that he thought, although dated now, Carrie was a "good movie."

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