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"Carrie" is easily one of the best horror films ever made, a
well-acted, yet difficult to watch display of the gut-wrenching horror
that is high school.
Carrie White (flawless Sissy Spacek) is a meek, introverted teenager who is treated with irrational disdain by everyone around her. Her vile classmates mock and humiliate her at every opportunity. Her teachers either patronize her or barely acknowledge her existence (the principal, in spite of being corrected numerous times, calls her "Cassie"). Even worse, her own mother (Piper Laurie, who all but devours the scenery) is a man-hating, religious fanatic who forces Carrie to pray in a locked closet. Carrie's so used to being put upon, she's unaware of the fact that there are actually people who support her. One is no-nonsense gym teacher Miss Collins (stage veteran Betty Buckley), who defends Carrie against her heartless classmates. After Carrie is humiliated by the popular girls when she experiences her first period in the locker room shower, Miss Collins punishes their leader Chris Hargenston (Nancy Allen) by denying her prom ticket. Chris, a promiscuous, soulless queen bee, blames Carrie for her misfortune, so she convinces her idiot boyfriend Billy (John Travolta) to help her exact a truly despicable revenge against Carrie at the upcoming prom. It is also on that fateful day that Carrie discovers she has telekinesis, which at first frightens her but later empowers her, undoubtedly because it's the only thing in her life she has control over. Meanwhile, another unlikely supporter for Carrie is Sue Snell (Amy Irving) who's a real high school oddity: a mean girl who truly regrets her nasty ways, so she attempts to make it up to Carrie by having her boyfriend Tommy (William Katt) ask Carrie to the prom. Tommy, a dim but decent sort, agrees and Carrie accepts, though not without a bit of hesitation and bewilderment. Mrs. White tries to prevent Carrie from going to the prom by nastily telling her that Tommy will stand her up and that everyone will laugh at her. The newly confident Carrie, however, refuses to be cowed again by her mother, and goes to the prom with Tommy. Carrie is euphoric at the prom and Tommy truly enjoys her company, but, thanks to Chris's cruelty, heaven immediately turns to hell. Carrie's pent-up rage is finally unleashed as a nightmarish inferno in which no one will escape.
"Carrie" overcomes its potentially uninteresting teenage angst story thanks to Brian de Palma's direction and its well chosen cast of actors. Spaceck received an Oscar nomination for her performance; a rarity in horror films, but she truly earned it. Spacek makes Carrie a realistic, sympathetic character, and Carrie's innocence, insecurity, and ever increasing fury feel all too real. Spacek was actually in her late '20s at the time of this movie, but with her downbeat posture, wide, frightened eyes, and her long hair that she seems to use as a burqua, she does a seamless job playing the type of unpopular girl we all should have been nicer to. Spacek also does a convincing job displaying Carrie's temporary new happiness and confidence: her posture is straighter, her hair shinier, and during the early prom scenes, Carrie's new-found radiance really transform her from ugly duckling to swan. It's beautiful and touching to watch, and all the more devastating, knowing how quickly it will end. Laurie seems to have too much fun playing Carrie's abusive, Bible-thumping mother, and she's easily one of cinema's most awful mothers, right up there with Mrs. Vale from "Now, Voyager" and Mrs. Iselin from "The Manchurian Candidate".
Two underrated performances come from Buckley, playing the type of teacher we all wish we had in high school (well, how many teachers nowadays would have the guts to punish the popular kids?), and Allen as the bitchy Chris. Forget Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls"... Allen creates the ultimate popular girl from Hell. Chris is a foul-mouthed, gum-smacking, Bonne Belle lip gloss-wearing vixen who always seems poised to say something nasty, and even her smile is more like a sneer. She and Billy are such a hateful, dysfunctional pair that their comeuppance is "Carrie"'s most cathartic experience.
While the prom climax is indeed terrifying (and the iconic image of a blood drenched Carrie will stay with you forever), I view "Carrie" as more of a tragedy than a horror. Carrie is a victim of our society's prejudice against shy, quiet people. As teens we take out our petty insecurities on shy people by mocking and torturing them. As adults we overlook and dismiss them in the workplace. Over thirty years since "Carrie"'s release, nothing has changed. That's the real tragedy.
Carrie White (Oscar-nominated Sissy Spacek) is about the shiest,
mousiest girl ever portrayed on film.
I'm a guy, and never have I really felt such sympathies for a nerd-girl, especially one who seemed genuine. Hence, "Carrie" looks and feels less a horror movie and more a teen-drama. Style filmmaker Brian De Palma directs "Carrie," an adaptation of the Stephen King novel (King's first work to be adapted into a movie), and thus one of the scariest movies of the genre.
As Carrie White, Spacek seems a natural. Our feelings for her are genuine, especially since as the film opens, she has her first period while in the girl's locker room and panics at the sight of her own blood. Because her mother (Piper Laurie) has burdened her down with a whole bunch of religious nonsense, Carrie just has no idea about how to react to a natural bodily function.
The incident also brings about something else in Carrie: she realizes that she has psychic powers, which she then uses against her tormentors, including her mother and classmates Chris (Nancy Allen) and Norma (P.J. Soles), and Chris's boyfriend Billy (John Travolta). It all boils down to a blood-drenched, special effects-laden climax at the school prom.
There are others who care for Carrie: a fellow classmate named Sue (Amy Irving), her friend Tommy Ross (golden boy William Katt), and a sympathetic gym teacher (Betty Buckley). But the constant torment of her enemies leaves Carrie no choice but to do the unthinkable on a night where everybody is supposed to be happy.
"Carrie" was made before the slasher madness of "Halloween" (1978), its sequels, and the many knock-offs. So in this sense, "Carrie" seems to be a stand-alone picture. As stated earlier, the bloodbath at the end is so unexpected in a movie that was building up into a touching teen story. Such effects-laden sequences come as a surprise and are indeed frightening to watch.
Spacek is wonderful, generating the emotional depth required for her character. Since she just celebrated her 57th birthday yesterday, why not give "Carrie" another chance in some other media format to mark its 30th anniversary? I've read that Stephen King doesn't particularly care for the movie adaptation of his first hit; I find it hard to believe he's truly upset with the finished product. But "Carrie" is a true classic of the genre, one of the first of the best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Brian De Palma was at the top of his game in the 1970's and 80's minus 1973's Sisters and 1985's Wise Guys. Carrie is a film that proves this fact. It is a disturbing depiction of a girl trapped in a horrid body (although Sissy Spacek does not look that bad it just proves her acting capabilities) and tormented by every one in her life. Her mother hates her because her mother has a fixation on God and sees every thing that is not done her way as evil and hell worthy. Her classmates torment her when she has her first period at 17 and does not realize what is happening to her. This scene is striking and sad to see a girl become a women in such sorrow conditions. But all of this is nothing compared to the rampage ending. Throughout the film Carrie slowly discovers how to use levitation powers and this culminates in the end when she is forced into hysteria and her powers are unleashed on her fellow prom goers in a bloody orgasm of death. In the film she takes her whole class out minus three people (Two she takes out latter and the other would get in the sequel The Rage: Carrie II) This scene is staged beautifully by Brian De Palma who makes great use of his recurring split screen movement. This film is awesome and supplemented by it's cliff hanger ending. Which at the time was not really meant to be a cliff hanger at all as it was the 70's and almost no one ever thought of a follow up back then. See this.
Excellent big screen version of author Stephen King's first novel is
not only a suspenseful teen drama, but a touching character study too.
Social misfit spends her days mocked by her classmates and harassed by her fanatically religious mother, then she discovers that she has the power of telekinesis...
Director Brian De Palma made a number of top-notch suspense thrillers during the 70's and Carrie is surely one of his finest works. The story of this film is a compelling one because you not only feel sorry for the teen misfit of the title, but you also want her to find happiness. It all builds into a powerful drama that packs lots of thrills, occasional humor, and strong emotional tones. De Palma lends his usual stylish direction, drawing out the suspense and at times making the movie quite hypnotic with some inventive camera work. The lovely music score of Pino Donaggio is also a nice touch.
Perhaps the best thing about this film though is the wonderful cast! Sissy Spacek does a touching portrayal as our title character, who turns to become quite frightening in the climatic prom scene. Piper Laurie is a powerhouse actress in the role of Spacek's crazed mother. Amy Irving is likable as the teen girl who wants to help the outcast. William Katt is strong as the hip jock who becomes one unlucky prom date. Supporting cast Nancy Allen, John Travolta, and Betty Buckley also turn in good performances.
Carrie is a classic that should be appreciated by all film lovers, not just those that enjoy the horror genre. It's a must-see.
**** out of ****
"Carrie" is a thrilling death ride that will rip your heart out, chew
it up, spit it out, and punch it right back inside of you. If you don't
like horror movies, when this is on TV, turn it off immediately.
This is a story of a teenage girl going through puberty, childhood relationships, proms and even murder.
In gym class when Carrie takes a shower, she experiences the drama of her period. Now, you see, Carrie is misunderstood, and doesn't understand. Her mother is a crazy old lady who didn't tell Carrie about sex or puberty. Her mother mistreats her, slaps her, and locks her in closets.
Anyway, the girls in Carrie's classes are always making fun of her and calling her terrible names. So, after all Carrie's little mishaps, a girl in her class named Sue feels sorry for her. So sorry, she tells her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. Sue is doing this on Carrie's behalf; to be a friend to her. Oops! Bad idea!
This movie is super-scary! I tell you, when I watched it, I was at a friend's house. I knew my father had told me not to watch the movie until I'm 18. I was 11, at the time. Let me tell you one thing. BOY, WAS HE RIGHT! I just about wet my pants! At the end, I got so scared! I felt like I was going to die! Unfortunately, my friend was asleep at this point. I didn't even want to watch the rest of the movie.
One little tip from your friend, Chelseey: Unless you're over 18, and like horror movies, and your dad says it's okay, BEWARE. Although it was a good movie, it is blood-suckin' scary!
Finally got to watched the first version of this movie. And I said,
what?! Naked scene already?! There were some girl undoubtedly relaxed
to act totally naked in the gym shower, including Sissy Spacek who
played Carrie. Okay, i won't focus on that.
Comparing this movie with the one played by Chloe Grace Moretz, there were some pros and cons. I like Carrie played by Sissy more than by Chloe because Sissy's shows extremely weirdo and scary face. And those screaming she made really deafening. Wow, she is just amazing. Was her throat okay after doing that? But for her mama's role, I like it more by Julianne. I think she is far more terrifying and freak and maniac than Piper was. For the rest casts, I like this version more.
While for the special effect, I surely love the Chloe's version, no doubt. But still the first version give a more terrifying atmosphere.
One of the best things about Carrie, is that the makers successfully
create empathy and sympathy for their main character. I don't think I
have to point out that it makes a movie so much more enjoyable. It's
something that lacks in today's Horror movies. Carrie White is brought
to life by Sissy Spacek's outstanding performance, who I believe was
the perfect pick for this role. The pace is quite slow and there's not
too much going on for the most part. The plot consists of a slow
build-up which builds towards a climactic scene. I won't spoil anything
but it's easily one of the most amazing scenes I've seen on screen. The
portrayal of high school cruelty combined with telekinetic powers is
simply a recipe for disaster.
Being a fan of his other work like Scarface and The Untouchables, I was pleasantly surprised as De Palma's name appeared in the opening credits. The fact that I could expect unfiltered graphic violence was a good way to start the movie. He even made fantastic use of split- screen techniques, which I'm not really a fan of in most cases. Neither did I expect John Travolta, which was pretty funny. Carrie, based on Stephen King's novel, feels authentic yet refreshing at the same time. I guess puberty is rough for some teens..
This movie is famous for being really scary but while it is that,the story is not as scary as it is sad. It's about a bullied misfit in 1970s high school with special paranormal abilities. The conditions for the story start from bad at the beginning, then it slowly climbs towards good by the climax, when it suddenly drops down to bad again and gets worse to a very sad ending. The climax scene is pretty effective with being frightening by being really chaotic and really brutal. The last few scenes are definitely the scariest,saddest, and most powerful. The story is very moving, so you can see why it's a classic. The direction and screenplay are kind of average until we get to the prom scene, but then they get really good. The effects and music are also very scary, but the music sounds exactly like that of Psycho. I thought this was a great film, but more of a tragedy then a horror film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Carrie (1976): Dir: Brian De Palma / Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen: Compelling high school horror film that is about as sophisticated as these films get. Sissy Spacek delivers a brilliant performance as Carrie White with hair in her face to hide insecurities, and her plain wardrobe. She is a tormented student under the ruthless religious rants of her mother. She also has telekinesis and this is discovered when she is pelted with tampons in the locker room by her peers. Piper Laurie plays Margaret White who drags her screaming daughter into a closet to cleanse herself in prayer in front of a Christ figure. Amy Irving as Sue Snell is the one student having remorse for her morbid behavior. William Katt plays Sue's boyfriend Tommy Ross whom she convinces to ask Carrie to the prom, as fallible as that is. Nancy Allen plays the nasty female antagonist who plots to have pig's blood dumped over Carrie's head at the prom. This results in an electrifying climax where Carrie cuts lose and consequences go up in flames. Brian De Palma previously made Sisters and The Phantom of the Paradise and here he propels to a higher level with an interesting social commentary on high school peer trauma and a central character time bomb awaiting to go off. The result is a captivating character study and a retaliation that goes so far that her own world caves into the ground. Score: 9 / 10
Relentlessly tormented and humiliated by her peers, a teenager fins
that her growing telekinetic powers are the manifestation of her ascent
into puberty which reaches a boiling point during her high-school prom
that no one at the school wishes would've been discovered.
While it's a little overrated, that doesn't take anything away from it at times since there's still some good stuff to it. One of the best points is the fact that there's an exceptional build-up initially based upon the religious angle, which is from the rather well-done religious angle on display. From the ranting and raving, which are perfectly done so as to really amp up the tension, along with her house which is like a containment camp for the religiously devout with crucifixes in every possible location, 'Last Supper' paintings placed in ominous places, and her special confessional, a small hole in the wall with figures, ornaments and strange candles, is just weird. All of these are building up tension, and it actually succeeds from others that haven't before in making this seem genuinely unnerving. It's also great at building tension earlier on with what happens at school from the very beginning, which has the distinction of showing some of the scariest images of a high school ever during the shower scene, which is one of the absolutely best parts due to it instigating all the great parts that followed, and the traumatic events that followed are what make it work so well. The initial bits used to show her gift are also some creepy images, and the events are pretty creepy. There's also some really great action scenes towards the end with the prom as one of the highlights of the genre which is quite fun when it gets going, with the fire raining down on everyone and the different methods of telekinesis-inspired tortures that are simply fun to see as there's lots of impaling, a couple of people set on fire and some electrified while standing in water or touching a microphone, and the rampage through town with a fantastic car crash and some more damage to be had making for a fantastic finish here. These here are the film's good points while there were a couple flaws with this one. The main problem here is that it takes a long time to get going as a long portion of the film, at least fifty minutes, takes place before we get anything remotely interesting. Making the beginning focus on the mother-daughter relationship over anything else tends to drop the film down a lot since it doesn't tend to place any kind of importance on the supernatural aspects of the story which are far more important to the story. There are so few jumps due to how the film is going, especially with the drama-like focus for much of the time, that after repeated viewings it loses some of its initial impact with how it goes about. Also, some of the religious discussions can be a bit much for those that aren't that versed in religion or don't believe in it. The religious aspect of the film is a large part of the film, and if you don't believe in what is presented, it can lead to some unpleasant experiences. These here are the film's flaws.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, Full Nudity, and discussions and events portraying feminine issues and religion.
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