on March 24, 2000
Seeing this movie on cable is nothing compared to actually seeing it uncut and rated R. Unlike the ludicrously-conceived sequel, which hit theaters in 1999, this movie does not have a strong emphasis on blood or gore, and there is an evident emotional factor as well. The viewers can actually sympathize with Carrie White as she goes through her adolescent period, endures the hardhips of being the center of ridicule and banter, and her feelings of happiness when Tommy asks her to the prom. Sissy Spacek plays her character to a T, making the emotions believable and realistic. Piper Laurie, who plays her mother, is the pinacle of the tight-fisted parent who allows for nothing degrading to enter into her child's life or mind. Brian de Palma has truly done a marvelous job in recreating the Stephen King classic, and while some factors of the movie and the book differ at different times, there is still a remaining quality of justice done to the novel. This movie will also make some people think twice before making fun of anyone again. To all who see this, I hope you enjoy it.
on June 14, 2007
This is one of my favorite films. If you've never seen it how lucky you are to still have it ahead of you! If you haven't seen it for years, and remember it as just a dumb teen horror movie, you have the pleasure of discovering how well made and acted it is.
I was one of those who just thought this was a dumb teen horror movie, and was thus surprised when it was the first film we studied in one of my college film courses. Learning how deftly layered and brilliantly directed this movie is was in large part my first awakening to how interesting and well-done horror and other dismissed genres can be.
Although this film was considered horror when it came out, now, more than 20 years later, I think you have to look at it as more of a macabre tragic drama, because certainly no one will be scared by it. Many on the IMDb complain that "nothing happens" in the first hour, which I blame on its continuing place in the "horror" genre. Unfortunately, those people are missing all of the character development and thematic content that makes the ending so moving to those who have followed it.
The film is unflinching in its portrayal of female jealousy and sublimated sexual rage. The appearance of Carrie's powers coincides with her first period, i.e. the onset of sexual maturity. The following events are all about sexual attraction and jealousy, following Carrie's emergence as a woman, the dynamics of the other girls at school and their sexual/romantic intrigues, and the White family's bizarre sexual mores. The drama with the girls at school is all about dates and sex and going to the prom. Carrie's sympathetic gym teacher tries to get her to wear makeup and pay more attention to her hair. Meanwhile, Carrie's mother equates her menstruation with acceptance of sin, and later refers to her breasts as "dirty pillows." Once you start to look at it this way, you'll be surprised at the number of incidents and bits of dialogue that relate to this theme, and how carefully focused the entire screenplay is.
Sissy Spacek's performance really is multi-layered and heartbreaking, and gets better the more you get into the film. The early scenes at the prom, when you see her trying her best to get out of her shell, and how scared she is of being hurt, are all the more tragic knowing what is going to happen to her a few minutes later. When she is announced as Prom Queen, you see from the look on her face that she has finally come to believe that she has been accepted and liked. That the image of her walking silently through the burning school still remains so iconic and startlingly creepy is testament to her performance and this film's power.
The other amazing thing is DePalma's direction. The sequence beginning with the announcement of Carrie as Prom Queen is a masterpiece of building tension -- notice the music and editing as the sequence gathers speed, culminating with the spilling of the blood. You will also notice that this entire sequence is dialogue-free. It is so tight, audacious and over-the-top that you have to admire it. I know DePalma later expressed regret over the split screen effect, but I remember how effective it was when I first saw the film -- it left me feeling like so much is happening at once that you couldn't possibly take it all in. It's really overwhelming and distancing at the same time -- as opposed to most horror films that try to bring viewers INTO the terror.
The mere fact that this movie is still around almost 25 years later is a testament to its brilliance. It is much more respected now than when it first came out-- in part I think because the "horror" label worked against it. Look at the horror aspects the way they should be -- as a metaphor-- and you'll start to get into it. The closer you look the better it becomes.
on September 27, 2010
The legendary CARRIE in High-Definition! This classic Cinderella story with a dark, supernatural twist to it has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it. It has it all: An emotionally-driven story (unlike most horror films) that takes you to highs, lows, and everything in between, mesmorizing performances by the charismatic Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, and artistic cinematography by director Brian DePalma. It is surely the Ultimate Revenge film with exceptional acting and craftsmanship that puts our more modern movies to shame.
**Video and Audio Quality**
To keep it plain and simple: Carrie on DVD looks more like VHS quality, and Carrie on Blu-Ray looks more like DVD quality. So it never reaches the crisp, crystal clear look of today's Blu-Ray releases, but it is definitely cleaner and finer quality than the DVD. So if you want the best Carrie experience then watch it on Blu-Ray!
The Blu-Ray disc contains only the theatrical trailer. The DVD, however, is loaded with interviews by all the main cast members, director Brian DePalma, and others who worked on the film. There's a lot to learn from watching the interviews, including the conflicts and challenges they all underwent to make the film, a behind-the-scenes look on the special effects, and a deleted scene that was to be the prologue of the movie. There's also a photogallery and comparison between Stephen King's version of Carrie and Brian DePalma's version of Carrie, plus more.
**The Combo Pack**
It would have been better for everyone had they included the DVD special features on the Blu-Ray disc, but having it all on a combo pack is the next best thing, so if you're a Carrie fan or just love a beautifully crafted classical tale, this is a must have! Own this unforgettable drama/horror movie on Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack today!
Steven King's novel depicting the trials of a bullied girl blossoming into womanhood while being victimized by a deranged mother is a masterpiece.
At school, the misfit Carrie White is friendless. Her feminine beauty is invisible to her classmates, who view only her inability to meet the standards of adolescent society. At home, the harassment tears her soul apart. Her mother is a deluded, man-hating and sexually repressed sociopath who unleashes her repressed sexuality by sadistically inflicting punishment on her blossoming daughter in the name of "Jesus."
When Carrie, ignorant of the facts of life, experiences the onset of her period at school, the scene is set for the perfect storm in horror movie history. Carrie believes that she is dying. Her classmates, like the pack of animals that they are, sense blood and go on the attack. At home, it becomes yet another means for the sadist to humiliate her prey. The school is ultimately clueless as to how to address the issue, thereby providing the perfect battlefield for the Armageddon to come.
Carrie is emotionally powerful horror film, an outstanding metaphor for the trauma of adolescent change, and no other film matches it's perfection.
on January 27, 2001
There's one thing I specifically like about certain horror films, and that is those that contain the horror elements, yet have a story that allows you to feel a great deal of emotion for a main or secondary character, depending on the focus of the plot. When Stephen King wrote his first novel, Carrie, it was shocking as well as emotionally heart-stopping. Brian de Palma's film, following soon after, is groundbreaking and intense, and captures the horror of the character's actions as well as the horror of her secluded and alienated school and home life.
Carrie White has never been popular in school, and the verbal and physical abuse has apparently gotten worse with each year. One day, she gets her first period in the showers of the girls locker room, and frantically running to everyone for help, she is bombarded by shouts of banter and flying tampons. After it is learned that she was never told by anyone about this process of life, we soon learn the reason why: her mother is a Bible-thumping embodiment of a true maniac, who believes that every action committed by man is a sin in the eyes of God. Her treatment of her daughter is extremely harsh, but only until Carrie learns that she possesses a special gift, the ability to move objects with her mind. Meanwhile, Sue Snell, one of the girls involved in the malicious locker room incident, feels guilt over her actions and asks her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie accepts, and attends the event despite her mother's warnings of doom and sin. But something much worse will happen, something more terrifying than Mrs. White could ever imagine.
"Carrie" is one of the most well-known horror films of all time, and has set the standard for many later films of the genre. The entire premise for the movie is quite original, and the execution of the material is even more powerful and emotional than the novel itself. What makes it so emotional is the fact that there is a human story that happens everyday around the world. Carrie is constantly bantered and teased about every aspect of her life: her home, her mother, her apparel, and her demeanor, and it is done in such a manner that you cannot help but feel a great deal of sorrow for her when she commits the ultimate act in the finale of the film.
De Palma's camera angles and cinematography add an immense amount to the overall effect. Many of his shots usually center on someone in the foreground, while Carrie is somewhere within the near background, making her appear minute and small among everyone else. His use of the two-window effect for the prom sequence helps us to see more of the destruction and the reactions people have to events going on around them. One more notable sequence is opening scene, in the girls locker room, where we see the rest of the girls having fun and making merry while Carrie is alone and singled out in the shower stall. Throughout the movie, De Palma does a spectacular job in making Carrie seem insignificant when put with a group of people.
Sissy Spacek was brought to the project to play the title character, and does a top-notch job. She is the perfect "ugly-duckling" type for the role, and she is able to play out all of the emotion and terror that Carrie experiences throughout the novel. Amy Irving is does a credible job as Sue Snell, and her performance makes us believe that Sue really does feel sorry for what she has done to Carrie. The rest of the ensemble makes the movie believable, and never is there a moment where you will question the authenticity of a performance.
Certain to remain a hallmark of moviemaking, "Carrie" will shock, scare, and incite emotion for years to come. It is a movie that operates on many different levels, each beginning at separate times of the film, yet converging in the end to sweep us up in horror and sorrow.
on February 16, 2014
Some films improve with age and De Palma's Carrie is one of them. Being a teenager when this film hit theaters it just seemed like a decent little movie with a scary ending, but looking past the obvious horror points it really isn't. Carrie is a tragic story of an outcast, though not her own fault, she is because of her mother's (played deliciously by Laurie) distorted religious beliefs and interpretations of the bible. Carrie and Margret White played by Spacek and Laurie respectively both give very believable and heart wrenching performances and it is those two performances along with the superb direction by Brian De Palma that keep this film from becoming just another teen horror film. The music score is also a standout and very haunting.
The film is rather bold especially for the time period, full frontal female nudity(including on screen menstruation), teachers who strike, ridicule and torment students, it's not something we see in these politically correct times. While there is no real gore, it does have some terrifying moments and sacrilegious overtones. It's really a pretty shocking film and on par with The Exorcist only a few years earlier.
The film builds slowly but it never drags, and what Spacek does with the finale is one of the most incredible performances in any film I've ever seen. The look of complete shock on her face after Chris's nasty trick has been played on her is so natural and feels so real. Things like this that happen on screen and that are conveyed this convincingly are truly rare. In a matter of seconds we see her horrified, then shocked and then completely numb. She envisions everyone laughing is at her, in part this is real, but part of it is her own imagination, she seems to be outside herself. She then goes into a trance like state before unleashing her revenge on her cruel classmates and everyone at the prom because she feels they were all in on it.
The way Spacek handles the prom scene is absolutely fantastic and I doubt this scene would have worked as well with any other actress in it. Kudos to De Palma for his choices as a director in this scene too. In fact the entire movie is very well done. Laurie deserves credit too as she is disturbing and scary as Carrie's delusional overbearing mother. The finale in the White house has a nightmarish quality and is very haunting and when Margret White is killed her resemblance to the Jesus on the crucifix in Carrie's prayer closet is both deliberate and eerie.
The shock ending which was a first at the time has never been more effective as a jump out of your seat moment and I usually don't go in for such trickery, but because it happens in Sue's dream it is plausible and well....it scared the crap out of me even on second and three viewings..hehe
I'm reviewing this film now because I watched it again after watching the disappointing remake. I watched them back to back and the original is superior by a country mile on every level. It's scarier, has better acting, pacing, direction and so on...
I own the first DVD special edition with Carrie surrounded by flames on the cover, it is out of print, but I urge you to look for that version. The new Blu Ray has gotten mixed reviews so I'll stick to that edition until a quality Blu Ray comes along.
on January 24, 2010
If you enjoy this film as much as I do, I have bad news: The Blu-ray transfer is mediocre at best. Scenes are soft and often grainy, lacking any of the real clarity high def can bring. Sound also doesn't really benefit; it's slightly sharper but that's about it. Unless you don't already own the film, stick with the regular DVD. The upgrade, even at such a low price, isn't really worth it.
on May 18, 2007
The only flaw of this Brian Depalma vehicle is...dare I say this...the story? Yup, telekinetic devil child? It's certainly not boring but I almost can't possibly grant it a five star rating. I'm going to anyway. King's first novel is not his best, but it is still very good. I will assert that the film is actually better and Carrie is one of the best adaptations of a King novel ever made into a film. My hats off to Depalma for creating one of the scariest films of all time in the process. I'm a huge horror fan, so Carrie has quite a few things to take into account for your own tastes. It's a bit dated and requires some imagination from the viewer...I'm probably preaching the quire here anyway.
Most people my age have only seen the edited television version which is on about three or four times every Halloween. The made for television remake was a horrorshow in a different way because it came close to ruining the credibility of its original. Depalma holds back his amazing technical abilities intentionally and builds this tale of revenge and justice up for one of the most climatic sequences ever made. "They're all gonna laugh at you" rings in Carrie's ears after a bucket of pig's blood is dropped on her head...the music goes from extremely happy and glorious to tense and terrifying, the lighting goes from normal to blood red like Carries now blood soaked appearance. We go from feeling sorry for her to feeling sorry for the kids who we thought for one minute might deserve what's coming to them in a few moments. What follows is quite possible the most brilliantly filmed horror sequence ever. Split screening and panning from Sissy Spacek's amazingly tense eyes and face to her victims soon to be lifeless bodies. Then the fire comes in and we realize that these kids have unknowingly unleashed hell on earth. The film keeps going down a very dark road and doesn't disappoint.
Anyway, it's one of the greatest horror films of all time and is totally unforgettable. In the long run its films that you remember fully that stay intact as classics and Carrie is certainly one of them.
I recently watched an episode of my favorite TV show, "Medium," that paid homage to "Carrie" by having Aerial become prom queen of her middle school & having the bucket of blood rain down on her head. Channel surfing, "Carrie" was also re-running on cable; so we rented the movie to see the entire film.
In retrospect, I am struck by how much talk was at the last Oscars about how Martin Scorcese hadn't won an Oscar prior to his deserved recognition for "The Departed." Quite frankly, Brian DePalma has never even been NOMINATED for an Oscar. With recent good films like "Black Dahlia" & "Femme Fetale" and classics like "The Untouchables," "Scarface," "Blow Out," & "Dressed to Kill," perhaps people should start talking about this other under-recognized director. In his 1976 film "Carrie," he builds the tension and mounts the rather simple story until its amazing climax at the prom with the house collapse at the end. While this genre is rarely recognized critically, this is an example of one that was VERY well done.
Based on Stephen King's first novel, this film is also memorable for being the first in a long line of cinema projects based on his work.
The film is also memorable because it really placed Sissy Spacek's career before the public. She had gotten good notices for the film "Badlands" with Martin Sheen as a serial killer three years earlier. But "Carrie" paved the way for her Oscar-winning performance as Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter," her Oscar nominations for "Crimes of the Heart" & "The River" as well as her Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win for "In the Bedroom." As Carrie, Spacek makes us totally believe how a young girl raised by this mother would be the shy retiring flower that we see. The opening sequence where she has her first period and the girls cruelly make fun of her is hard to watch, but totally believable.
Piper Laurie as her mother Margaret White entrances us as the tremendously unbalanced religious fanatic. The scene where she blames Carrie for having her period and that it is evidence that she has sinned is so hard to watch. Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this film. Along with a Best Actress nomination for "The Hustler" with Paul Newman in 1961 & a supporting nomination for "Children of a Lesser God" in 1986, "Carrie" represents the middle of her three nominations. The final scene where she tries to sacrifice her daughter and Carrie telekinetically flings the kitchen knives across to kill her mother whose head tilts in a crucifixion-like pose takes your breath away.
The film is also memorable for Betty Buckley's first film as the gym teacher Miss Collins. Buckley had been a star of many Broadway musicals when she made this, her first feature that would be followed by "Tender Mercies." Nancy Allen plays the young socialite Chris Hargenson who hatches the plan to humiliate Carrie. Allen would later marry director DePalma. The film is also memorable because this marks the feature debut of Amy Irving. As Sue Snell, her real-life mother Priscilla Pointer plays her character's mother in the film. Pointer would later be a regular on the "Dallas" TV series.
The film is also memorable as John Travolta's second feature after a small part in another horror film "The Devil's Rain." Travolta followed this 1976 film with a string of hits from 1977 "Saturday Night Fever," 1978 "Grease" and 1980 "Urban Cowboy." In 1981, Travolta re-teamed with Brian DePalma from what has always been one of my favorite suspense films, "Blow Out." Travolta later resurrected his career with Oscar nominated performances in "Pulp Fiction" (1994) & "Get Shorty" (1995), which also won him a Golden Globe award. As Billy Nolan, Travolta is a happy-go-lucky guy who Nancy Allen leads around by his nose (or should we say pants). The scene where he kills the pig to get its blood is freaky.
William Katt played the blond curled Tommy Ross who takes Carrie to the prom. The son of Barbara Hale, known for playing Della Street on "Perry Mason," in which Katt would later star, does a good job as the handsome athlete whose poem Carrie calls "beautiful."
"Carrie" came together very well with excellent cinematography and editing. It is a classic in the horror genre, from which a TV remake has been done. It remains a benchmark film. The DVD package gives good added information and perspectives about the film. Enjoy!
on January 19, 2014
The unacceptable sound quality - we have high speed Internet and still the sound continuously kept cutting out - cost this review a star.
The high caliber acting and the subtle, rather than "in your face," horror elements nudge this film into the classics category, right alongside Rosemary's Baby. Seeing a very young John Travolta is a bonus.
Just as Hitchcock used suspense and suggestion (we never actually see Marion Crane be stabbed in the Psycho shower scene), rather than gore and gratuitous violence, this original 1976 version of Carrie also relies on steady acting, measured use of gore and violence, and subtlety.
The main plot point is a universal one: teenaged girl does not fit in at school - other students are mean to her. Who doesn't fantasize about getting even and who wouldn't love to have real power to get back at all the haters. The sub plot involving Carrie and her mother is truly chilling.
I do not like movies that put in bits solely to make the audience jump - it seems desperate as though the director does not trust his movie to be scary enough on its own merits. Unfortunately, this movie resorts to that in one scene - to tell you which one would spoil it, but you'll recognize it when you see it.
I watched this with one of my daughters - she wanted to see the original before watching the 2013 remake. So we had "Carrie" night last night. The 2013 Carrie suffers in comparison and we question the need for its existence.