Carrie (1976)

FEBRUARY 23, 2008


For some reason, even though I've never seen the sequel to Carrie, I always think of it whenever I see a veterinarian office. This is because my friend called me after he saw it (I had better things to do I guess), laughing about how the movie featured a 24 hr veterinarian place. He thought it was funny, but I think it's pretty awesome! If one of my cats eats a damn nail and begins choking or bleeding at 2 am, I would like to think that I didn't have to wait 6 hrs to get him looked at.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the first film, which doesn't even HAVE pets of any kind. I saw the film once, when I was like 16 or 17, and on TV to boot. I remember not being particularly impressed by it, though that opinion has changed. I still think it's a bit oddly structured (I've never read the book, so I'm not sure if it plays better in written form, or if it's even the same), but I can't deny that it's a solid piece of filmmaking from one of the best technically inclined directors (Brian DePalma) of all time. Back in the 70s and early 80s, DePalma was in his prime, so Carrie benefits quite a bit from his standard "gimmicks" - the long unbroken shots, use of bifocal lenses, and of course, the split screen sequence. Not to say that the film wouldn't work without them, but even if you're sort of blasé on the story, you can still admire the craft (something probably not likely with Carrie 2).

The cast in this one is pretty impressive. Most of them were no names at the time, but it's great to see future stars (or at least, 80s icons) like John Travolta, PJ Soles, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, and William Katt all in one movie. Also, the only friend Carrie has is named Collins! Yeah! Collins is a common name in real life, but not often used in films for whatever reason. Also, Pino Donaggio's score is fan-fucking-tastic (not a big surprise), and even though I knew it was coming (thanks to myriad "50 best scary moments" type TV specials, that final scare is STILL capable of providing a bit of a jolt.

The effects are minimal, but impressive (and more importantly - believable). One thing I liked about the movie (again, not sure if this is the case in the book) is that it spares us from scenes of Carrie moving shit around for no reason. The idea that it's almost out of her control entirely is much more interesting. Incidentally, the movie screened with Zapped, an 80s comedy with Scott Baio as a kid with telekinesis. That film DID suffer due to such superfluous scenes, and ironically kind of made Baio less sympathetic than Carrie. Carrie couldn't really help freaking out and breaking mirrors and shit when people insulted her, but Baio used his own free will to terrorize a total stranger (who wasn't bothering him) with a model airplane. Asshole.

The print was quite nice too, though the sound was a bit muffled. DePalma's films deserve big screen (and more importantly, widescreen) viewing, so even though it's not exactly my favorite film of the subgenre or the King adaptations, I loved seeing it "again" in this manner. There's another week to go of the Eli Roth festival, and I for one couldn't be more... well, broke. But also sad, it's been a great lineup so far. Luckily the New Bev shows good stuff more than just once or twice a month, so Roth or not I'm sure I'll be back there enough until the next festival comes along.

What say you?


  1. weird, we were just talking about this movie last night.

    this movie terrified me when iw as young. i think i was 8 when i first saw it, my DAD made me watch it with him! having gone to catholic school, her little prayer room horrified me, and the thought of being able to do that much destruction with your mind kept me up for weeks.

    i'm surprised you haven't read the book, which is actually written, if irecall correctly, sort of like newspaper articles, with actual story in between. it's pretty strange.

    fucking carrie. it scared the fuck outta me. that fucking room. shit.

  2. Spoiler alert!

    The book it´s very good too, in it Carrie did train herself little by little by levitating objects during the novel, in both the film and the book she doesn´t loose control of the power, she loses control on her temper going to a blind rage but on perfect control of her powers, she does a lot more damage in the book, (which is shown in the remake with Angela Bettis, one of the few points that saves the film)and there is explained in the novel that her powers could came from her´s father side (thing that was used for the sequel being the main girl a step sister out of wed lock)and yes,the whole tale is told in a manner of excerpts of news articles, books retelling what happened, interviews and a letter, a cool technique that somehow King used again in "Dolores Clairborne" (the whole thing it´s the recording of the interrogation recorder machine) great book and a great movie.


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