*May contain some Spoilers*
Destined for another remake later this Summer "Carrie" is a cult horror icon. Originating from the mind of the horror maestro himself Stephen King in 1976. It was his first published novel and the first to be adapted into a movie. "Carrie" was directed by Brian De Palma and King didn't have any other involvement to the film. De Palma had directed the thriller "Sisters" three years earlier and "Carrie" looked to be the perfect fit for his next film.
The role of the painfully shy and meek high school student Carrie White was played by the amazing Sissy Spacek who just a few years earlier co-starred with Martin Sheen in Terrence Malick's debut feature "
Badlands". Carrie lives in suburbia with her religious fanatic mother played to crazy perfection by Piper Laurie. Margaret White keeps a pretty tight grasp on her daughter's life, but when Carrie unknowingly has her first period after gym class and is unmercifully tormented, she begins to lose control of her now changing daughter. The only problem that I have with this is that fact that she is 17 and just now getting her period, kind of weird.
The films opening scenes of the high school girls locker room (in slow motion) feel rather gratuitous, but I believe that De Palma is an intelligent director and uses this scene to emphasize how different the "regular" girls are from the supremely innocent and naive Carrie, whose shower takes a terrifying turn. Carrie is humiliated beyond belief until she is saved by the Gym Teacher. While Carrie is in the principal's office we start to become aware of her special powers. We can also tell how dated this movie is since the principal can smoke while in his office. An ashtray is mysteriously flung off his desk and Carrie is sent home to be with her mother who has been dreading this day for years. She preaches that sex and sexuality is evil and will buy you a one-way ticket to hell and damnation. Carrie comes off as a Virgin Mary type but her mother can only keep her pure and innocent for so long. It religion versus nature.
We also get to know a bunch of Carrie's classmates like the bitchy prima donna Chris who instigates In another instance of the film being dated is when the gym teacher actually slaps her in the face for confronting her on being punished for what she did to Carrie. When none of the other kids have her back or defend her, Chris and her macho boyfriend Billy (John Travolta), who also likes to slap her around a bit, must think of a grand plan for revenge. Sue Snell is the other popular girl. She starts to feel terrible about what they did to Carrie and wants her boyfriend, the curly blonde adonis Tommy Ross, to ask Carrie to the prom instead of her. Tommy agrees but has to work on Carrie to get her to open up and let him into her world. Carrie, expecting another prank, finally gives in accepts Tommy's invitation. Her life starts to turn around and her self confidence is at an all-time high. She starts fighting back against her oppressive and prudish mother. She will not be denied this one chance of happiness and sense of belonging.
the bullying of Carrie.
Once at the prom she looks and feels like Cinderella with everything going as planned. Little does she know that Chris, Billy, and his goons have a twisted plan of their own that they're about to unleash. Just like a dream come true Carrie and Tommy are voted king and queen of the prom. This is the point where everything comes to a head, and Carrie is humiliated for the last time. Now nobody will survive Carrie's wrath as she unleashes her telekinetic powers. Like a cold and calculating modern day school shooter, she takes out all of her rage and frustration on the partygoers, the guilty and the innocent.
Carrie finds her way home and has a final showdown with her mother. The ending is kind of strange and could use a little bit more, but the final scene with Sue Snell is one for the ages. One final thought: How many homage's to Hitchcock's "Psycho" can you find while watching Carrie?