Alright, beasties. It’s that spooky time of year again. For this edition of Spooktober, I’m going to do a post a day but, like a great haul after trick or treating, I’m hoping to mix it up and deliver some surprises. There’ll be reviews, new or old, seen/unseen, TV or film. Depending on my wicked mood, there may also be lists, audio, or video. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember: stay spooky.
Mean girls, a zealot mother, mental powers, and a prom Queen title to win, what could go wrong?
In our first introduction to Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) we learn not only how cruel school girls can be (as if we didn’t know), but also how much she’s spent her life unaware and untaught by her mother (Piper Laurie). It’s a lonely place, and despite what is to come (and what she becomes), Spacek’s iconic, nominated performance ensures the audience sympathizes with her plight.
Her abusive mother, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to share in our empathy. Most of the students don’t either, except for one, Sue, who makes the plan to have her boyfriend Tommy take Carrie to the prom. Others, though, have a different plot. Meanwhile, Carrie realizes she has some telekinetic powers brewing and begins to read up on them.
This movie begins and continues to dip into a whimsical, near fairy tale feel with its soft-focus look. Which, in contrast with its deep cuts of horror, really draws a stark duality. For a moment, Carrie feels like she’s in a dream, and then, it’s right back to a nightmare. The dread that you feel never leaves your stomach, and it doesn’t for me even after having watched it countless times.
If you somehow have gone through life having not seen Brian DePalma’s classic Stephen King adaptation, I would remedy it right away. Undoubtedly though, you’ve seen or heard of what happens. When Carrie becomes especially emotional, angry, scared, and upset, good things don’t happen. And Carrie White goes very…dark. The film is really fantastically done, from every side, including its editing to its score, and the way it makes you feel hope before ripping it away.
This most likely won’t be the last King mention this month, and while it’s a tough thing for me to say a favorite this is definitely one of the best adaptations. It’s also the first book of his that I read. It spawned a sequel and a couple of remakes, none of which compare or speak to the lasting impact of the original.
There’s a power in Carrie, because 46 years later and it’s still breaking our hearts, and remains ingrained in our psyches as a horror film with a terrifying lens that is focused on the tragedy of what happened to Carrie White, not what she did.
Oh yeah, and it is one hell of a revenge thriller too.
Carrie is available on VOD.
2 thoughts on “Spooktober 22, Day 7: Carrie (1976)”
But *if* you were asked what your fave King adaptation is?
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Probably the Shining, because it’s one of my favorite horror movies, but it’s challenging to say. Especially since it’s so different from the book. It almost feels wrong saying it. This is haaaaaard to answer.