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(1976)

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8/10
"Carrie" marked Brian De Palma's breakthrough…
Nazi_Fighter_David3 August 2008
It is a classic offbeat horror-melodrama merging harmoniously the family Gothic extravaganza, supernatural power, and a woman's movie of a peculiar kind… It remains the cinema's best adaptation of a Stephen King novel…

The film initiated De Palma's inclination for surprise diverts between playful imagination and reality, as in the opening, which swifts from a soft-core porn fantasia of girls taking a shower in the locker room to the fact of Carrie's menstruation for the first time—the first sign of "otherness" that will reserve her as an horrifying monster from her small-minded colleagues…

All the oppression that Carrie undergoes both at home (with a bible beating maniacal mother played by scary Piper Laurie who develops twisted bizarre ideas) and at school to suppress tension which takes the shape of super telekinetic power, the ability to move objects with the strength of her mind… We observe with ambivalence as Carrie's insatiable revenge jumps the line into uncontrolled mass murders ever filmed…

Sissy Spacek is amazing as the mocked, helpless girl pushed over the edge… Her face and body twist like a living special effect to unleash her pent up rage, as well as her character's alarming progress from painfully shy high-school teenager to Angel of Vengeance…
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the original and best
Nick-33710 November 2002
Watching the TV remake of Carrie last week just made me miss the original version all the more. There were so many elements that made the 1976 movie a classic, but I will try to name just a few...

First of all, the original actresses could never be replaced. Sissy Spacek as Carrie White goes without saying. Sissy gave Carrie a child-like quality that no other actress can touch. You not only root for Spacek's Carrie, but you want to reach in and hug her. Equally irreplacable was Piper Laurie who brings a manic energy to her role as the religious-wacko Mrs. White. I loved how Piper and Sissy's southern accents enhanced their characters. I don't know if it was Stephen King's intention or not, but the way Carrie said "Momma" was just so southern. It was fun seeing Piper and Sissy reunited onscreen as southern sisters in the Grass Harp.

Two supporting actresses in the film who get little credit are Amy Irving and Betty Buckley. Irving brought an intelligent, thoughtful depth to the character of Sue Snell. Buckley as the caring gym teacher stole every scene she was in. One of the most touching moments was Miss Collins taking Carrie in front of the mirror and telling her that she is a pretty girl. Then the terrible realization on her face as she wonders if it is another cruel joke. And who didn't love it when Buckley slapped Nancy Allen's face?

Maybe the single most important element in Carrie is the suspense-building music. I can't express how perfectly the music framed every scene. It should have won an oscar for the soundtrack alone. The two beautiful themes still stick in my mind, "Born To Have It All" which was playing in the shower scene and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You (Could Love Someone Like Me)" which Carrie and Tommy danced to at the prom. Even the cheesy band playing at the prom fit the mood just right with the lyrics, "The Devil's Got a Hold Of Your Soul".

Carrie is campy nostalgia. It really is a time capsule of that era in history. The polyester, the gym shorts and knee socks, the afros and farrah-hair just take you back to 1976. Where else can you see the stars of Welcome Back Kotter and Eight Is Enough in the same movie?
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9/10
A classic!
Snake-66623 September 2003
Perhaps one of the only genuinely good Stephen King adaptations, ‘Carrie' follows the tragic tale of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a young girl who is continually made to suffer at the hands of her bullying classmates and not helped by her overbearing, religious mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). Carrie, however, is not like regular teenagers as she has been blessed(?) with telekinetic powers and as the inner rage grows within Carrie so, it seems, do these potentially lethal abilities.

Brian De Palma directed this amazingly stylish adaptation of Stephen King's first novel which is arguably the best Stephen King adaptation ever to be made. Sissy Spacek's performance is one of the greatest to ever grace a horror film. Somehow managing to perfectly embody the typical school life of the usual high school outcasts, Spacek was able to bring to everyone the appalling life that so many teenagers are forced to tolerate. From the opening scenes where Carrie is utterly humiliated at the hands of her classmates after Carrie's hysterical reaction to her first menstruation, to the painfully wretched ending it becomes nigh on impossible not to sympathise with Spacek's character. Spacek was quite rightly Oscar-nominated for this performance. Spacek's performance was enhanced by fellow Oscar-nominee Piper Laurie in the role of the religious-nut Margaret White. In some ways the naivety shown towards Carrie and what is happening to her is amusing but at the same time it is terrifying to think that any mother could allow her daughter to go though such a generally horrendous life. Piper Laurie was able to make this all too abhorrent character her own with a thoroughly convincing and unsettling performance.

De Palma cleverly directs this movie. Instead of immediately introducing us to Carrie's powers he focuses on the torment (and the tormentors) of Carrie first. This allows the viewer to feel for Carrie and will her towards revenge while ensuring that she is not made into a one-dimensional killer. The movie is very well paced and is presented in a brutally clear fashion. De Palma refrains from using any visual effects with the exception of the infamous `Prom Night' scene which was incredibly well crafted and immersed the viewer in this horrifying display of rage. The final twenty minutes of Carrie are some of the most intense and gripping moments to have been portrayed in horror cinema. These scenes without a doubt helped to build one of the most artistic and and incredible climaxes in all of film.

‘Carrie' is not for those who just want to see people sliced up or prefer fast-paced horror as it is presented as a heart-breaking drama with a horrifying twist. The magnificent cast (which features John Travolta in an early role) was also graced with fantastic performances from Betty Buckley as the kindly gym teacher and Nancy Allen as Chris, the deplorable ring leader of this atrocious bullying. In my opinion ‘Carrie' is unquestionably worth a look for horror fans. 'Carrie' is very well directed, with a superb screenplay from Larry Cohen and featuring two of the greatest performances in horror. My rating for ‘Carrie' – 9/10.
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10/10
MELDING OF TWO GREAT ARTISTS
Kat Miss18 July 2001
"Carrie" is a melding of two great artists, in this case, Stephen King, who wrote the novel and Brian DePalma, who directed the film. This is a tense, exciting thriller that is also a sturdy character study. It's hard to make a film that can accomplish both, but DePalma does it.

King's novel mostly dealt with a telekinetic girl who is cruelly treated by her classmates. DePalma and screenwriter Lawrence Cohen follow the novel fairly closely, with the exception of the ending, which is a great deal more sensationalistic and better, in my opinion. (King himself liked the finale and the film, as stated in his exceptional study of the horror genre "Danse Macabre")

As is the case in most DePalma films, the technical credits are superb. The cinematography (by Mario Tosi)is extremely effective; colors and shadows have never been shot more effectively in a DePalma film since. The film score is by Pino Donaggio, and it marks the first collaboration between Donaggio and DePalma. (Bernard Herrmann died shortly after "Obsession" was completed) Donaggio is among the most underrated and overlooked composers of his time. His scores for "Dressed to Kill", "Blow Out" and "Body Double" are all exceptional and all deserved Oscars. "Carrie" is no less brilliant, as it accomplishes what all great scores are supposed to do: enhance the film without giving anything away. Paul Hirsch's editing is also extremely effective as it was in "Sisters", "Obsession", "Blow Out" and "Raising Cain".

But it is the performances that make "Carrie" stand out. Carrie is played by Sissy Spacek in a performance of such power and strength that she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress (the first actress ever to be nominated for a horror film; the second would be Sigourney Weaver for "Aliens")She manages to hit all the right notes. A lesser actress would have veered toward melodrama. Spacek plays the role more realistically and the film is much more effective that way. (Just in case you didn't know, Spacek was a DePalma regular, but off-screen; she was the art director for several of his early pictures). Also, "Carrie" marked the return of Piper Laurie to films after a too-long hiatus (her last credit was "The Hustler") Here, she plays Carrie's mother. Again, a lesser actress would have veered toward melodrama, but Laurie resists the temptation. Her performance is a real knockout and also garned an Oscar nomination (she should have won, but typical Academy genius set in and gave the prize to Beatrice Straight who was in "Network" for a whopping 10 minutes and really didn't do much.)Also, as a side note, this film also is a start for some future DePalma regulars such as John Travolta (his first major studio film) and Nancy Allen (her first major role)

What I really liked about "Carrie" is the absolutely perfect ending. I had commented before that "Sisters" had an absolutely perfect ending. The one thing about Brian DePalma is that he knows how to end a picture. "Dressed to Kill" had a really good one, although some people hated it as well as "Blow Out". "The Fury" has the greatest ending of all the DePalma thrillers.

A small note to finish: In 1999, "Carrie 2" was made by profiteers at MGM. Despite a rich premise, the film was an artistic failure. DePalma had nothing to worry about. The sequel (retread might be a better word) lacks everything that makes DePalma's original so good. Rent or buy the original, on tape (in pan-and-scan or widescreen)and DVD (widescreen)and forget the sequel, even if they give it away.

**** out of 4 stars
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8/10
Carrie: 8/10
movieguy102113 October 2002
Carrie boomed Sissy Spacek's and John Travolta's career. I understand why.

Carrie starts off at a gym locker room, where we find out how much the other kids hate Carrie. But, we find out that Carrie has some powers. Like in other Stephen King book-movies, the supernatural aspect is only minor compared to the rest of the story, but it comes into play at the end. Carrie's mom (Piper Laurie) is an over-protective religious zealot who makes The Royal Tenenbaums seem normal. So Carrie tries to cope with her horrible life, but it's getting tougher and tougher.

Spacek is exceptional as Carrie, and I now know why she was nominated for Best Actress. Her emotions are real, not some fake tear drops that make us think she's sad. Either she has great motivation, or she's one of the best actresses of the century (or both!). Laurie was equally good as her mother who locks Carrie up in a closet everytime she thinks that Carrie has sinned. This movie wouldn't be half of what it was if the acting wasn't so great. When Carrie was sad, you were sad. When the other kids ridiculed her, you felt like you wanted to kill the kids. When she smiled, you smiled. Emotions that raw couldn't come from just any movie.

If you know me, I'm a stickler for character developement. Carrie didn't take much time, but from the opening scene you knew about Carrie and her weakness. So are the secondary characters; they're nicely developed even if their role isn't that major. Travolta had a miniscule role, but he was fine in it; it led to Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

The prom scene has got to be one of the most memorable scenes from a horror movie. That red tint is awesome; it's like a premonition. In fact, the movie is full of premonition: the red tint, the freaky looking voodoo doll, "They're all going to laugh at you." I'm assuming that director Brian De Palma meant to put that in, so it just isn't about some supernatural powers, it's also about foreshadowing. Also, I dig that camera movement during the dancing.

The blood and gore wasn't held back, but they just put in what was necessary. De Palma obviously stole from Hitchcock's Psycho, mainly the music cue whenever Carrie is using her telepathy. Also, her school, Bates High, is another Psycho refrence.

Carrie was also very creepy. It wasn't a thrill-a-minute, but at the ending, that was Scary with a capital S. The last ten or twenty minutes were scare-inducing for sure. That last jump scene in the dream...wow! It's still jumping at me. If there was one complaint I had to do about the movie, it's that it took too much time to get to main scene and the prom went on a little too long, but other than that it's a first class horrror/thriller that any horror buff needs to see.

My rating: 8/10

Rated R for nudity, some language, and blood.
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8/10
Anyone who expected just another horror movie is obviously dissapointed!
Yiannos6 March 2002
I just came back from a special showing of Carrie in the student's cinema of my university and I must say one thing: THANK YOU to the director, for this is one of the best, most moving films I've ever seen. I honestly don't understand the "it's not scary" mentality!

Now, whether you want to call this horror film or thriller or whatever else is up to you, but I think Carrie's scope cannot reaches beyond just one genre! It is a thriller, but at the same time a very humane movie. You can feel the girl hurting, you hate her mother, you dislike her friends! This movie wasn't made for cheap scares: every scene is brilliantly captured. The scary parts may be rare but when they are there you just can't move from your seat!

The acting is also excellent, Sissy Spacek of course deserving most of the credit, but that is not to say that the other actors aren't great too.

Concerning the script, all the credit goes of course to Stephen King. When you see this movie you can really tell the difference between an artist like him an some cheap Hollywood writer (Scream?). There is so much more to the story than: -Booooo! -Aaaaaa!

So, if you want to see a "scary movie", go see Scream or some other shallow horror film. However if you are looking for a terrifying but also moving film, Carrie is just right for you. And please, if you must put this work of art into one genre, its better if you put it in social drama rather than horror film. Of course it's not scary! It's MUCH more than just that.
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9/10
Show her that if she had remained sinless, this curse of blood would never have come on her!
Spikeopath23 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Carrie is directed by Brian De Palma and adapted by Lawrence D. Cohen from the debut novel of the name written by Stephen King. It stars Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen & John Travolta. Pino Donaggio scores the music and Mario Tosi is the cinematographer.

Carrie White (Spacek) is the outsider at school, dominated at home by her fanatically religious mother (Laurie), Carrie is unmercifully teased by her class mates when she reacts with terror to her first menstrual period. When Miss Collins (Buckley) the teacher decides to punish the girls for their actions, it sets the wheels in motion for Carrie to unearth telekinetic powers that could spell devastation for anyone close to her.

As pretty much everyone on the DVD documentaries says, nobody involved with making Carrie had any idea it would become the much loved classic that it is. Made for $1.8 million, it made almost $34 million domestically alone. Garnering award nominations, something of a rarity for horror movies, it also stands proud as one of the most influential movies in the horror genre. Be it the wave after wave of High School based horrors that would follow, or the now standard use of the unexpected jolt, Carrie has earned its place on any best of horror list. Not bad considering both De Palma and King don't feel it's necessarily a horror film! But that's for discussion elsewhere me thinks.

De Palma astutely grabs us from the off, after we are quickly introduced to Carrie White on the volleyball court, where she subsequently loses the game for her side, we shift to the locker room and Carrie takes a shower. Cut to slow motion as the girls lark and pamper themselves in various forms of undress. Shot in steam based soft focus by Tosi as Donaggio's score swirls with playful emotion. Then BAM! Having lulled us in to a false sense of security De Palma brings the blood, menstrual blood. It's an attention grabber alright and it's a testament to how great Carrie is that the attention is held right to that jolting finale. Blood, as those who have seen it know, is pivotal to Carrie's structure, from the shower room to prom night, and on to a bit of a family tete a tete. Not a horror film my eye Brian & Stephen.

For those who wish to delve into sub-texts, meanings and motives etc, Carrie's a good film for those of that mind. But again, that's for discussion elsewhere. I just love to view Carrie as a sharp story told exceptionally well, a movie that manages to pull my emotions in a number of directions. Anger, love, sympathy, revulsion and even a wave of guilty triumphalism, it's all there as De Palma crafts what is arguably his masterpiece. Spacek represents one of the best casting decisions of the 70s, the ugly beauty thing is down pat and the vulnerability extraordinary. Laurie brings the real monster of the piece, religion gone berserker; so brilliantly essayed. The young cast shine bright, notably Nancy Allen, while Donaggio's score is to die for: resplendent with Herrmannesque string stabs.

Carrie may look dated now, but its ability to shock and trouble the cranium still exists on revisits. A masterful piece of film making, where even the use of split screens avoids charges of gimmickry. If only more King adaptations to the screen could be like this. 9/10
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10/10
Queen Bees, Wannabes and Carrie...
Gafke10 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Nowadays, we have literal truck loads of books on how to deal with our tormented teenage daughters. We all know in this day and age that teenage girls are wicked bullies and the damage inflicted by their relentless bullying is often irreparable. But you don't need those books. Most of us who have watched the film "Carrie" already know the devastating effect that merciless torment can have upon us. That's why we watched the film - to see those bullies get what they deserve and to cheer Carrie on every step of the way.

Carrie is an abused teenager with a void where her self-esteem should be. Her mother is a whacko religious nut who likes to violently throw Carrie around for imagined sins and lock her in the closet for days on end. Her schoolmates are spoiled rotten Clique Queens, who enjoy attacking anyone less popular than they are, for no reason at all other than that it amuses them. Carrie becomes their main target when her period - incredibly late - finally arrives one day in the locker room shower. Carrie, who has never been sexually educated and is under the impression that she is bleeding to death, freaks out. Of course, her classmates find this terribly amusing.

With her the onset of her menstrual cycle, her dormant powers of telekinesis suddenly wake and cannot be controlled anymore than her newly awakened raging hormones can be. Unfortunately, no one is aware of this. As Carrie dares to stand up to her mother and begins to break out of her shell, her cruel and sadistic classmates have a plan to keep her in her place forever. Too bad they don't know how dangerous all that suppressed anger can be. Carrie gets her revenge on them all and the climax of the film is a bloody, fiery apocalypse, as Carrie unleashes her pent up anger along with her powers and literally lets them run their ferocious course.

Carrie is not so much a horror film as it is a psychological one. The human mind is capable of horrors that no movie camera or special effects crew can reproduce, and the abused psyche is a monster that no one wants to see unleashed. It features great performances by Sissy Spacek as the severely damaged Carrie, Piper Laurie as her delusional mother, Amy Irving as the one teenage girl with a streak of compassion and guilt and Nancy Allen as every nerds nightmare - the Popular Girl with no morals, no feelings and no mercy.

For having been written by a man (Stephen Kings first novel) this is a powerful portrait of what it is like to be a teenage girl...and an outcast one at that. The hope, the anger and frustration, all are strong and realistically portrayed. This is a film about the monster within us all.
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the first post-modern horror film
lukasiak10 November 2001
At its heart, Carrie is not a 'horror film', but a film about horror.

The subject matter is physical and emotional abuse; time and time again DePalma returns to the theme of abuse to create a sense of anxiety and dread. And although our hapless heroine is the primary target of abuse (from her mother, her peers, and 'authority') abuse is also meted out liberally to others---violence against women (Travolta/Allen), and public humiliation by authority figures (Buckley/her gym class) also add to the discomfort level (the John Travolta-Nancy Allen relationship is defined solely by abuse---and they in turn are the initiators of Carrie's humiliation).

Except for Betty Buckley's gym teacher, all the characters are cartoonish archetypes---and almost all of these achetypes are brilliantly drawn. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie deservedly have been singled out for praise, but DePalma even managed to get the right performance out of decidedly untalented performers like Nancy Allen, William Katt (who is immeasurably aided by the kind of meticulous lighting that would have made Joan Crawford envious), and P.J. Soles.

Buckley deserves special mention, because she does amazing things with a completely underwritten role. By humanizing what could have been just one more cartoon (the lesbian gym teacher---lesbianism is never mentioned, but Buckley's subtle performance affirms what she has acknowledged in interviews--that she played her character as a lesbian) she provides a central point of reality that keeps the film from spinning completely out of control.

DePalma's intent was clearly not to scare the audience, but to make the audience watch the film from a distance, deliberately plagarizing two of the most notable sequences in film history---Hitchcock's shower sequence and Eisenstein's use of the three-perspective split screen. The shower scene takes place early in the film, cuing the audience into the fact that this is a film ABOUT film. And in the climactic prom sequence, DePalma distances himself, and the audience, from the bloodbath on the screen by reminding us through the 'theft' from Eisenstein that its just a movie at the most critical moment.

There are two significant flaws in the film. For some reason, DePalma interjected a 'fast forward' comedy sequence involving the purchase of tuxedos--the sequence serves no purpose in the film, other than to restate the obvious fact that this is 'just a movie'.

The second flaw is Amy Irving's performance. Its not horrible by any means, but it just doesn't work. Irving has grown as an actress since then (she was the only decent thing about the execrable sequel to Carrie) but the demands made of her in Carrie were beyond her skills at the time it was made. 'Chris' was supposed to be the conscience of the film, but winds up as wishy-washy.

Oh, and DON'T watch this film on commercial television--rent the video. DePalma engages in some sacriligeous imagery that is ALWAYS cut from the film when it is shown on television---imagery that justifies the penultimate sequence of the film itself, and brings closure to it.
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10/10
One of DePalma's best
preppy-326 September 2001
High school misfit Carrie (Sissy Spacek) unleashes her telekinetic fury on her tormentors. This was a huge hit in 1976 and scared me silly. It doesn't scare me now (except for the closing sequence), but I still think it's a good solid horror film beautifully handled by Brian De Palma. It moves quickly, has some beautiful imagery (everything is shot soft focus with muted color) and has almost uniformally good performances. The only bad one is by John Travolta way out of his depth playing a hood. Amy Irving (as a student who befriends Carrie), William Katt (with a very 70s afro), Nancy Allen (playing a real bitch), Betty Buckley (so young and full of energy) and P.J. Soles (silly but bearable) are all perfect. But Spacek is superb matched by Piper Laurie who is very scary and marvelous as her deranged, religious mother. Also the film is (by today's standards) very restrained in terms of blood and gore. And the final sequence will make you jump (also notice the cars in the background during that--they're moving backwards!) Only complaints--De Palma REALLY hates some of the high school kids--you feel like like he's working out some personal issues here. And did we really need the slow-mo shower sequence at the beginning? That aside--this is a great film. See it letter boxed.
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8/10
Outstanding horror/teen drama with a fantastic 70's atmosphere.
Disarmed-Doll-Parts12 April 2007
Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a misunderstood young high schooler with a freakishly obsessive Catholic mother (an amazing performance by Piper Laurie) who borders on Neo-Nazi. She is horribly bullied at her high school, especially by the sadistic Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen), and basically ignored by every person who isn't putting her down. So when token nice girl Sue Snell (Amy Irving) decides she wants to build Carrie's confidence by giving up her place at the prom and telling her kind hearted jock boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to invite Carrie, Carrie's mentor Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) smells trouble. Sue promises all is well and Tommy ad Carrie run along to the prom. But when Chris and her dimwitted boyfriend Billy (John Travolta's second role) devise a horrible and humiliating prank, they don't take into account what has manifested inside of Carrie after all those years of torment, and how it will effect them in the films horrifying and very memorable climax.

Brian De Palma's famous horror film, adapted from Stephen King's chilling novel, is often noted as the ultimate in teenage revenge films. De Palma used his distinctive style to make a chilling and original horror film that really is the best example of 1970's horror, the style, music, clothes, acting, dialogue and pretty much everything in the film is like a time-warp. The editing very original and you can tell the makers of the film enjoyed creating it.

The acting is very fine, some of the best in any horror film out there. Sissy Spacek is great as the sympathetic freak, but at times you wanna slap her, she's so incredibly pathetic. Like when she's screaming about her period, running around nude. I can understand that she didn't realise what was happening, but running around like a lunatic, and bleeding on people through your vagina isn't gonna inspire sympathy from them. But since I read the book, I understand that was the intention. Piper Lurie was absolutely fantastic as the looney mother, and all the other performances were pretty passable. I have to mention PJ Soles. Her character was so awesome, I'd even go as far a to say that she was one of the (many) highlights of the film. Her character added a quirky charm the film that couldn't be matched by anybody else.

Some of the themes explored was Carrie's journey into adulthood, shown through the way she learnt to control her powers and discovering different parts of her body and different things she can do, most obviously her first period and her telekinesis.

Overall, CARRIE is an outstanding horror/drama. Any horror fan, or general film fan should check it out. 9/10
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Kinetic Energy
tedg14 November 2000
Youthful energy. That's what this is -- and what it is about.

Spacek, King and Depalma are all at their most committed exuberance. Sometimes callow, but sometimes so rawly honest one often tingles quite apart from the story. See it on this basis alone. DePalma's camera has a sense of dance -- Scorcese does too, but DePalma's is more emotional. Spacek is so clean in her acting that her ability frightens. How strange it went away, like a poltergism.

The story has a haunting tone, also centered on youth and yearning. Menarche as a horror, the innocent acceptance/fear of the basest religion, the brash director intelligently spoofing Hitchcock. Odd mix that, so an odd and intriguing experience.
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10/10
Excellent Storytelling
conspracy-229 May 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This is a classic film. So I had seen it before today. But I was a kid, and I seem to remember the shock-scary parts as the catalysts to my nightmares, and not much about the rest.

Today, I saw it again, armed with a huge backlog of movies. I have seen enough to discriminate the bad from the good, the mediocre from the excellent. And Carrie is certainly excellent.

OK, so the premise is at first glance a little weird and far-fetched, but hey, that's Stephen King. What Stephen King also does is to somehow get these far-fetched situations blended in with believable reality. He creates a sort of grey zone between horror and reality. I suppose that's what makes his books frightening enough to entertain millions.

Anyway, this is not a litterary review. Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a girl in her senior year of high school, raised by a fanatically christian woman (excellently played by a psycotically frizzy-haired Piper Laurie). She is teased and made fun of because of her naivety and oddness.

So, a stereotypical bitch girl in Carrie's class, looking hideously 70s right down to the 'who wears' short shorts, plots a nasty, nasty surprise for Carrie. Without giving too much away, this surprise comes right at a time when Carrie is truly happy, for the first time in her life.

It is in this classic scene, before and after the prank, that you see that Sissy Spacek is perfect as Carrie. She is introduced in the film as a shy, odd-looking, bland girl. Before the prank, she beams and smiles and she is beautiful. The change is truly remarkable. After the prank, well, she is pretty scary. All these attributes are contained perfectly within Spaceks appearance and acting. It's a shame we don't see her in more movies.

The storytelling, as I have said in my one-line summary, is excellent. The foreshadowing of the prank is subtely and deftly introduced, so that the viewer knows in advance what's going to happen. Everyone, it seems, knows. Everyone but Carrie. We feel sorry for her and are on her side afterwards as well. This is something of a feat to pull off in Hollywood's 'white-teeth-big-jaw-squeaky-clean-super-hero' ideal.

Carrie's internal development (excuse the pun) is paced just as well. Her growing rebellions against her mother, her realization that there is more to life than bible bashing...all the way through she blooms. The symbolism is perhaps a bit overstated in places (Who ever saw a Jesus figure that looked quite like that?) but is none the less quite effective, and drenches through the film appropriately.

Brian DePalma is excellent at making movies that appeal on many levels. As a kid, I liked the scary parts. My mother, whom I watched it with, enjoyed it for the human interaction and the bitchiness of the girls and their 'reward'. I, as I have pointed out, enjoyed the pacing and the whole imagery of the film. Something for everyone.

Oh, wait. There is one thing. The sight of Tommy Ross (William Katt) in his tuxedo is just awful. He is supposed to look sexy - the big catch at the prom - but his huge curly hair and the large lapels on his turqouise suit under his enourmous bow tie serve as a hideous reminder that the seventies were The Decade That Taste Forgot.
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Trapped in the closet
tieman6423 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"I'm coming out, I want the world to know." - Diana Ross

In "Sisters", director Brian De Palma has a Siamese twin take on the personality of her homicidal "other half". In "Obsession", he has a daughter takes on an incestuous role (largely edited out by studios), usurping her dead mother and symbolically "marrying" her father. In "Dressed to Kill", he has a transvestite's "feminine half" killing women in an attempt to instigate a sex change operation.

With "Carrie", which revolves around the tumultuous life of a schoolgirl named Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), De Palma continues his kinky gender wars. Every woman in "Carrie" is understood entirely in terms of their own sexual frustrations. Carrie's mother and teacher are middle aged loners. One is a religious fundamentalist, the other a lonely romantic. On Carrie's prom night, both women vie for Carrie. One views the prom as a vile ritual, the other recalls her own prom as a moment of adolescent innocence.

The younger generation of women within the film represent a similar polarity. We have Sue, a well meaning monogamist who wants to help Carrie, and Chrissy, a mean nymphomaniac who wants to destroy Carrie. Both their boyfriends take on a similar duality. Chrissy's boyfriend (John Travolta) is an over-sexed alpha male whilst Sue's boyfriend is a kind-hearted poet. What's interesting is that both men are submissive to their women, as are virtually all male characters in the film.

Significantly, Carrie begins the film as a child, but pushes into womanhood when hen she menstruates in a shower. As Carrie's mother was sexually abused in the past, a fact which leads her to both reject femininity and transpose her fears onto her daughter, Carrie's own rites of passage is made to seem terrifying. Later, Carrie's peers seek to reawaken the woman "within" her, while others seek to destroy "it". At the prom, these two ideals - repressed femininity vs promiscuity - collide with Carrie in the middle. In either case, Carrie has no control over her own sexual identity.

Visually, De Palma's film is special, virtually every sequence idiosyncratically shot. Watch, for example, how he begins each act with grand brush strokes. In the first, he paints Carrie as a loner, his camera constantly "finding her" outside of the crowd. Epitomizing this is a crane shot which begins high above a girl's volleyball court and ends with the camera swooping down and finding Carrie ostracised from the group. The following scene is a dreamy shower sequence. Here various girls are portrayed as naked nymphs, in touch with their free-flowing sexuality, a far cry from the more repressed Carrie, who is once again alone. De Palma's next shot continues this pattern. We're floating through school hallways, watching kids go by, until we find Carrie, all by herself. When Carrie returns to school the next day, the camera will again probe the classroom, before finding her seated alone at the back.

With each act of the film, De Palma's camera adapts to reflect changes in Carrie's psychology. Act one, she's a loner at school. Act two, she's oppressed at home by her mother (and God). Act 3, she caught in a tug of war between various female characters. Act 4, Carrie is part of the group. Act 5, Carrie is betrayed by the group. Act 6, Carrie transcends and destroys the group with her newfound powers.

Each act is shot with an emphasis on different colours and with its own camera language. The crane shots in the first half mirror the crane shots in the prom sequence, only now Carrie is engulfed in crowds of well wishers. When pigs' blood falls upon Carrie, a mean prank which echoes earlier, humiliating menstruation sequences, Carrie is again quickly detached from the group. The film is also book-ended by two symbolic shower scenes. In the first Carrie attains womanhood (and is mocked for it), in the second she revokes it in favour for self-repression. Here she essentially becomes her repressed mother, which De Palma highlights by having Carrie put on her mother's gown.

But when her mother ALSO turns against her, Carrie is forced to break free. She rejects all these female characters (all the school girls are female archetypes) and blazes her own trail. Say hello to next generation femininity: empowered and answering to no one.

Carrie's mother is also a fairly interesting character. As Carrie prepares for the prom, her mother prays to herself, sexually rocking back and forth with a rosary. Because the absence of sex in her life is replaced by an exaggerated obsession with spirituality, her repressed sexual energy is released through this hallowed symbol. The rest of the film is similarly awash with sexuality and overt phallic symbols. Close ups of red lips, phallic shower heads, carrots, castration, thin gowns and gym shorts etc.

What's also interesting is De Palma's use of the famous music shriek from Psycho. Critics accuse De Palma of stealing from Hitch, but the sound effect also makes an interesting statement. Hitchcock's film dealt with an oppressive mother and focused on her damaging effect on her grown son. "Carrie" is a film devoid of men or sons - though a wholly patriarchal religion weights heavily on Carrie - and instead focuses on oppositions within a kind of female collective.

The film's final scene (a dream sequence), shows the only self sacrificing (she gave up her man to help another woman), conscientious young woman in the picture (Sue), haunted by the actions of both herself and womankind as a whole. Of all the dream sequence endings in De Palma's films - and there are many - this is perhaps the most optimistic.

8.5/10 - An early De Palma classic.
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Film That Made King's Career
marquis de cinema17 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Carrie(1976) opens with a moment that would set the tone for the rest of the story. Moment in the shower represents an open awareness of the main character's sexuality and her confusion. De Palma builds and builds the moment with an effectiveness that never quiets down. Sissy Spacek conveys emotions of confusion and hysteria powerfully depicted by her facial expressions. A moment when you can feel pity for Carrie White because of the mean treatment she receives from classmates.

Before Carrie(1976), Brian De Palma was known for his forays into comedies with exception of Sisters(1973), and Obsession(1976). After Carrie(1976), De Palma started to become famous for his horror/thriller features, which displayed many homages to his fave direrctor, Alfred Hitchcock as well as Dario Argento, and Mario Bava. He may not be original when it comes to some of his storylines, but at his best makes things entertaining and interesting. The Prom massacre scene is directed with some finesse, although it does feel at times that he goes overboard with the split-screen effects. The genius of Carrie(1976) is to depict the emotional meltdown of a young woman who is tormented from all sides and fronts.

An intriquing look into the behavior and mind set of the teenager and the difficulties that comes with being one. The performances in the film are quite convincing in showing the cruel and nasty nature that teens who are outsiders go through every day of their life. Carrie White is portrayed in a sympathetic light whose hidden feelings of anger can be understandable. Chris Hargensen(played by Nancy Allen) is a character you love to hate because of her mean attitude towards Carrie White. Probably the meanest and most unpleasent character Nancy Allen has played in film.

One of the best film adaptations from a Stephen King book besides The Dead Zone(1983), and Misery(1990). Definitely introduced the world to the writings of King, and ended up making a household name out of him as a writer of horror literature. The film plays a nice homage from a moment in Deliverance(1972) during the final moments of Carrie(1976). The Prom massacre is one of the scariest moments in horror films that would be reworked into the final scene in Ms. 45(1981). A classic 1970s horror pic that hasn't lost its touch in creating something so frightening, and very much heart chilling.
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7/10
Though cluttered up with crass humor, De Palma's trashy flair and killer instincts make this a classic screamer...
moonspinner5528 April 2006
When picked-on high schooler Carrie White discovers to her horror that she's been made the butt of a nasty prank, she unleashes her secret powers at the school prom and all hell literally comes loose. This sequence, filmed in split-screen, is a canny marvel of technical wizardry, twisted imagination and production design (check out that gorgeous blaze that erupts behind Sissy Spacek). The cinematographer lights everything up like fluorescent goodies in a candy-box (the continuity problems with Carrie's appearance here can be overlooked). But Carrie's anger is all encompassing--it's a high school holocaust--and some of her victims are innocents, like the gym teacher (played very sensitively by Betty Buckley). Carrie has become as bad as her enemies, and director Brian De Palma doesn't seem to understand the irony (he's also too interested in girl-peeping, although to his credit nobody comes off looking foolish). The picture is fun on the surface, but has a depressing undermining that is never quite resolved. Spacek's performance in the lead is flawless; Piper Laurie exceptional as her deranged mother (it was her comeback role, Oscar-nominated, yet it nearly typed her as a horror-movie actress); Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, and William Katt are excellent as Carrie's classmates; Amy Irving is intriguing as schoolmate Sue who just wants to do the right thing (Pauline Kael of The New Yorker complained that Sue's role in the disaster wasn't made clear, but I disagree. I think she's conflicted and guilty and wants to help, wants to see Carrie bask in some of the glory which she helped create). Although an improvement over the Stephen King source novel, "Carrie" isn't perfect and is weighed down somewhat with dirty jokes and cheap laughs. Certainly it is a stylish picture, with beautiful (if repetitive) music by Pino Donaggio, and the final sequence is still being copied today. *** from ****
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Great movie!
JeffG.14 October 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Film adaptions of Stephen King books tend to be either really good or really bad. Thankfully, this movie falls into the former category. In fact, this could be the best King novel-turned film ever.

At first, this movie seems to be your typical high school film. We're introduced at once to Carrie (Sissy Spacek) and the hellish life that she lives. Everyone at school picks on her and make her life a living hell. As if that wasn't bad enough, she lives with her mother (Piper Laurie) who's a religious fanatic, thinks everything is a sin and regularly locks Carrie in the closet. You can't help but sympathise for her.

Unknown to everyone, however, Carrie has telekinetic powers. At first, her powers are really underplayed in the film. By the time the prom scene approaches though, they become more and more prominent. Carrie uses them against her mother while waiting for her prom date and then she uses them at the prom in a very destructive manner. The whole prom scene is both scary and sad. Sad because Carrie finally has her moment where it looks like she's finally been accepted only to have it all end in humiliation. And it's scary to see her powers come full circle in such a destructive and deadly manner. The scene where she slowly walks out of the gym as it burns is a really chilling moment.

While this is a scary movie that has earned its place as a horror classic, it's also a really sad movie as well. Carrie's life is miserable from the beginning right to the end. Watching Carrie kill all of her tormenters at the prom is every high school misfit's dream come true. Carrie has her revenge, but at what price?

"Carrie" is a classic horror film every horror fan should watch. It's well-directed with the right amount of atmosphere in just the right places and Spacek and Laurie are simply outstanding in their roles. Recommended!
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8/10
Superb Movie, this is how horror should be!
JBurd29 August 2006
When we think of horror, we think of "slasher". We think of Ghostface running around stabbing people, and we "Whats New", or of Leatherface, swinging his Chainsaw into the sunset, and we think "Thats Campy" or of Jason haunting the camp he died at, and we think "Well, thats nothing new!". But, then we see Carrie, and we think "Oh...my...god...!"

Carrie, directed by the wonderful, talented Brain DePalmer, was actually a book, by, Stephen King. With these two minds at work, how could we not get something totally incredible? Carrie, isn't just another horror movie. It is a old idea, finally brought to the screen for millions to watch. The reason it is so good is because it is done so perfect, and it is done so delicately, and mad to tenderly...that the finishing product throws a movie at you that you didn't expect.

Carrie, is our typical high-school misfit. She is mad fun of bye the lots of peers (the popular kids?) and the ones that don't make fun of her, probably are the ones spreading the nasty rumors. To make matters worse, the place were everyone should feel safe, her home, is just another living nightmare, making school a warm-up for her. She lives with a religious fanatic mother, who has her fare share of problems as well. All along, Chris Hargenson, accompanied with her boyfriend Billy Nolen, have a deadly surprise waiting for Carrie, and the most important night of her life...that will change everything, forever! But what everyone doesn't know, is that she has powers to move things!

Now, after reading that dry, one dimensional summary, you might not think it is that good, but you must watch the movie, the you will know.

What makes this movie great is it isn't just a horror movie, but a drama...the interactions between everyone, the good that people do, that only ends up causing more chaos. How truly evil people can really be, and...making the unbelievable, believable. Carrie has so many levels and hidden things, you might want to watch three times to really see it for what it is worth, not just a horror, but almost the study of humans...of course, it is very scary, indeed. You might also want to bring a pillow...just in case.

The movie fast-paced, but wonderful telling of Carries life, just sets the tone. Starring Sisspy Spacek, who does a job nobody else could do with the role of Carrie, really will make you think. It also stars Piper Laurie, queen of the stage, playing Carries crazy mother. Her performance is done with so much power, it will make you shiver. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast does a wonderful job, and keeps you on your feet with Betty Buckly, Nancy Allen, who does a wonderful job portraying your classic, high-school bully, Amy Irving, as the kind-hearted, but misguided, Sue Snell, William Katt, as Tommy, Sues kind-hearted boyfriend, Jon Travolter, as Billy, and PJ Soles, who always shines no matter what role she is playing.

Watch Carrie today!
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A thrilling death ride!
chelseey9 October 2004
"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!
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10/10
Sad fact of life
Vastarien20217 August 2007
I remember reading the book in 6th grade and feeling so very close to Carrie. I was the outcast for all of my schools, no matter where we moved the monsters would find me. I wished so hard for powers of my own, but I never got them. This is a wonderfully done film, and a true landmark of its kind. While the fashions and music have dated considerably, it's still a great study of how our culture eats its young alive, and even encourages victimization of others, through religious intolerance, social class, perceived intelligence as a threat, and on and on. The true ugliness of American culture is all here, and we hope you like what you see. The sad fact is, most of us nerds never get our day, we just quietly die in bedrooms and hang from swingsets. We are the ones who get punished for "acting out" when simply trying to defend ourselves from butt holes. Those same jerks never get anything more than a slap on the wrist, while we get suspended. Is it any wonder why so many of us die young?! Some of us choose to take a few of our tormentors with us, but let's be honest, the Columbine Kids just couldn't AIM. That's the real tragedy, not a bunch of privileged snots. Carrie avenged us all.
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10/10
All time classic horror movie.
cool_cool_18 January 2007
Carrie (1976) is one of the classic horror films of our time, written by Stephen King and brought to film by Brian De Palma.

The story is about a plain young girl called Carrie who's old fashioned and cant fit in no matter how hard she tries, she has no friends and constantly gets bullied and harassed by all the other girls at her school.

But what nobody knows is that Carrie is a very special girl with powers that can cause devastating force!!! When Carrie gets unexpectedly invited to the prom by the school hunk, she thinks her life is turning around. But at the prom, there is a nasty surprise waiting for Carrie, a nasty cruel prank that has been set up to hurt and devastate Carrie. But all the laughter aimed at Carrie soon turns to screams as she unleashes her powers in retribution!!! Carrie is a great horror movie, with a great script and Sissy Spacek was perfect for the role of Carrie, this was her finest hour on the silver screen, no doubt about it. William Katt and Nancy Allen are also strong in the supporting roles as the school hunk and most popular girl (bitch).

Carrie also scores highly for it's excellent ending, one of the best in horror movie history!! Surely if you're a horror film fan you've seen Carrie? if you haven't then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN for the past 30 years??????? 10/10.
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7/10
"Carrie White burns in Hell!"
HumanoidOfFlesh8 July 2002
"Carrie" is surely one of the best horror movies of the 70's.It is filled with great acting,suspense and maturity.Younger horror fans who expect fast action and lots of gore will be disappointed,but if you're a real horror fan you can't miss it.The score by Pino Donaggio is fabulous and still gives me creeps!A must see-possibly the best De Palma's flick ever made(although "Sisters" and "Dressed to Kill" come close).
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9/10
The last word on high school
Nigel St. Buggering1 August 2000
If you're looking for the definitive statement on the experience of high school and being a teenager, forget about "The Breakfast Club". "Carrie" goes deeper and more effectively into the subject than any shallow John Hughes treatment could ever hope to.

Of course, it's all served up with a large dose of allegory. Regrettably, few of us ever had the capacity for revenge that Carrie White does. But the truth is here: the mindless cruelty of fellow students, the first attempts to establish independence from parents. This horror film has more reality to it than any ten "realistic" teen films.

Additionally, it's in this early DePalma film that we first see his obsession with Hitchcock take shape. Much of the camera work and editing is reminiscent of "Psycho". Even the music score, though credited to a composer as original, is easily recognizable as a cobbling-together of Bernard Herman's "Psycho" score, particularly the music from the shower scene, which is used whenever Carrie's power manifests itself.

The ending is legendary by now, and makes "Carrie" one of the

most imitated films ever made, though few imitators have done their version with so much style and intelligence.
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A terrifying tale of revenge that holds attention all the way...
Donald J. Lamb10 March 1999
Stephen King's short novel CARRIE, was a decent book, not exactly scary, not really well-written. Brian De Palma's CARRIE is an exercise in terror. You can look past the religious symbolism thrown at you whenever Piper Laurie is on-sceen (she was up for a best supporting Oscar) Just when you think you have it bad, you see a brutally mis-treated Carrie White. Her mother is a religious zealot, tossing her in a closet to pray. She is mauled at school by the immature (and grossly out-dated) teens in the picture. Ah, but she has a gift: telekinesis! Perfect for an ordinary plain Jane tortured by all and everyone around her. Horror is not a word I think of when describing the film. How about fiery intensity and terror. This girl lives in a private hell.

Which provides this De Palma classic with a clear and concise context. Carrie can explode at will and knowing this, we are held in a captive state. Also, her mother is probably the most terrifying figure we see. She is a sick, depraved woman who treats Carrie like a miscarriage. The mother knows, however, that her daughter has this gift, so she can be somewhat controlled.

The acting is a bit dated, true, with the exception of the scenes between Spacek and Laurie. (Spacek was also nominated for an Oscar as Carrie) You almost feel like you have stumbled upon a lifestyle you should not be seeing. Piper Laurie is nasty and demented as Mrs. White. This film also has the distinction of being John Travolta's first feature. Vinnie Barbarino goes to the evil heartland. Amy Irving is forgettable and just so happens to be the only star from the original appearing in the upcoming 'sequel'. Watch Spacek and Laurie at work. The prom scene needs no explanation by now. I was reminded of Hitchcock's REBECCA, when Judith Anderson sets Olivier's estate on fire. This, like most of De Palma's work, stands on its own, with a little help from the master.
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2/10
overrated ****
redmond-43 December 1998
Before I had seen it I thought this was one of the better horror-movies ever made and I must admit I was looking forward to see this. Based on a novel by Stephen King, Brian de Palma directing and Sissy Spacek in the lead role could mean that this film was a small masterpiece, but it wasn`t...

The film started ok rather than good, but as the plot advanced I started wondering if I read horror instead of romantic drama for girls just reached puberty and King instead of Barbara Cartland. After an hour of boring and non-involving stupidity the film reached its climax. The scene where Carrie gets the bucket in the head and starts the bloodshed seemed brilliant on the cover and could be a thrilling experience. But what happened? First: the scene dragged on for something that seemed like the time from the big bang to the first human ape walking around on planet earth. And second: in the following scenes the director uses a silly split-screen effect to watch Carrie and the killings happen at the same time.. This scene opened up the opportunities to make this movie either a very entertaining splatter film with loads of blood and gore or a scary thriller. But the rest of the film was even worse than the opening. Some horrible fire-hose scenes and some doors clapping shut when people tried to leave the mess made this a hell to watch. And the pre-final scene where *GOD* himself ruined her house may be the most destroying moment (for the film) I have ever seen.. The film also includes an early Travolta. I can`t understand how he managed to go from really terrifying and scary plain bad acting ("Grease" and this one amongst others) to brilliant acting in "Pulp Fiction" and "Broken Arrow" On the cover of the rental I read that this was the movie which made King's breaktrough as a horror writer, not that I could understand why.. This one just places itself in the line of bad movies based upon his novels amongst "The Stand", "Tommyknockers" and so on. These films are really a strong contrast to the excellent "The Shining" (with Kubrick as the director the result simply can`t be bad or average) and "The Shawshank Redemption". Other titles worth mentioning is "The Dark Half", "Misery" and "Christine". Some people says that all the books are excellent, but the films are punished by poor actors and miserable directors, but my doubt keeps growing. Sorry De Palma...

Directing: 3 (out of 10) Film: 2 (10)
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