Stephen King (novel) and Lawrence D. Cohen
Brian De Palma
Sissy Spacek as Carrie White
Piper Laurie as Margaret White
Amy Irving as Sue Snell
William Katt as Tommy Ross
Betty Buckley as Miss Collins
Some stories are destined to remain in the memories of all that hear them. Take for example the horror movie Carrie. The psychotic religious zealot mother, the “dirty pillows”, the pigs blood, the prom…these are all elements of Carrie that have been repeatedly referenced everywhere from within idle conversation to in mega-budget horror extravaganzas.
The story is of a young girl, shockingly named Carrie (Sissy Spacek). She is, by all accounts, a loser. She doesn’t bathe or brush her hair, she has no friends, she is weird as a loon, she lives in a creepy and disheveled house and has a wacky religious freak of a mother that goes door to door through the neighborhood to preach a gospel of hell and damnation.
When we get a glimpse of Carrie’s home life the source of her dysfunction becomes clear – her crazy mother (Piper Laurie) viciously reprimands her for everything she does, going so far as to lock her in a closet with only a candle and a picture of Jesus and forcing her to pray for hours on end for forgiveness for her perceived sins. She is not allowed to go outside of the house other than to go to school, she is not allowed to date or have friends, and she certainly is not allowed to question anything that has to do with her coming maturation into womanhood.
This last fact is illustrated clearly when, while taking a shower after gym class, her “cycle” begins. Carrie has never been told about this phase of female evolution, and thinks she is bleeding to death. The other girls in gym class taunt her mercilessly until she is reduced to a shrieking shell of a person huddled in the corner of the locker room floor.
One of the girls in gym class, Sue (Amy Irving) feels sorry for her and convinces her very popular boyfriend (William Katt) to invite Carrie to the Senior Prom. He agrees. Unfortunately the resident “evil girl” Chris (Nancy Allen) cannot allow Carrie to have any enjoyment at all, and convinces her boyfriend (John Travolta) to stage a vicious prank that leaves Carrie drenched in pigs blood and the entire senior class dead.
You see, Carrie has a secret. She didn’t just pray while she was locked in the closet, but also worked to develop her “special power”. That power comes out in the deadly name of rage, grief and revenge.
This movie is a timeless and classic horror masterpiece. The acting is brilliant and the film-making a flawless example of fine storytelling. Scary, creepy and sad…and yet somehow justified. You will feel more compassion for the villain than for the victims.
Aside from Brian De Palma’s incredible work in interpreting the story and bringing it to the silver screen, the cast itself is a who’s-who of acting legendry. Sissy Spacek (Academy award winner), Betty Buckley (Tony Award winner), Amy Irving (Oscar and Golden globe nominee) and William Katt (Greatest American Hero …LOL) all contribute stellar performances to Carrie. Heck, and John Travolta too? How can you miss!
Carrie is and will always be one of the classics of the horror genre. If, by chance, you have missed this one in lieu of the more recent entries to the genre, do yourself a favor and ground yourself in what horror is all about by adding this to your horror library.