Carrie (1976)

It’s been far too long since my last post on this horror journey so I hope to make up for it with daily ones from now until the end of it. Today we have a film that is quite unlike any other horror I own, or that I have ever seen. An excellent film and the first Stephen King adaptation on this journey, it’s Brian DePalma’s 1976 film, Carrie!!

I’m sure most of you are familiar enough with the story of Carrie. A disturbed, bullied girl who happens to have telekinetic powers that get set off into full blown chaotic rage when a particular thing happens to her at prom. The true human terror of the film is that it builds Carrie’s confidence up and up and up and in a split second of bloodied glory, it’s brought further down than it ever was. For teens, that a damn scary thought.

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That Prom Scene

The performances in this one by the two leads are incredible. Sissy Spacek as Carrie is phenomenal…perfectly cast in the role of a socially unaware teen bubbling with a rage that needs a ‘helping hand’ to get out. Who steals the show though?? That would be Piper Laurie as Carrie’s mother, Margaret. A religious nut to end all religious nuts. A dangerous woman who isn’t past locking her daughter in a closet full of crucifixes should she ‘step out of line’. Margaret White is a character we despise…the most awful of cinematic mothers and yet we greatly admire Laurie’s performance…it really is stunning. Another notable performance comes from Amy Irving as Sue Snell. A perpetrator in the prank that leads Carrie to firery murder but ultimately an embarrassed one…a guilt ridden one. The final scene when she visits Carrie’s now nonexistent homesite is rather moving…and then that happens and you get a heart attack to end all heart attacks!!

Those of you who’ve seen the film surely know what I’m referring to.

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Amy Irving as the reluctant, guilt ridden, Sue Snell

This one is also notable for having an early performance from John Travolta, before his breakthrough in Grease. To be honest, he gives a horrible performance but if anything it’s just fun to see him here.

Now let’s talk about that scene. The prom scene. A scene which has gone down in movie history for damn good reason. Everything is perfect. Perfect. From the spit screen rage of Carrie to her walk out of the gym. Now for those of you who aren’t aware of the scene, basically…There are a group of students who are jealous that Carrie is becoming more confident and popular as she was always the one they made fun of…so they rig the prom king and queen votes so Carrie along with ‘the most popular guy in school’ get to go up on stage and accept their award. This is an incredible moment for Carrie who, in her life, has endured more torment than I’d wish on my worst enemy and you can see how happy she is from the main image. But, the prank was to drop a large bucket of pigs blood onto her as soon as she accepted the award and was at the top of the world…bringing her straight back down. Words don’t so the scene justice as after that, the shock that Carrie is in leads her to believe that everyone is laughing at her, when in truth, only one perpetrator is. This sends her into her famous, electrical, firery, bloody slaughter of the entire prom. Just watch it…please.

Anyway, there are of course many more brilliant scenes within the film…the opening scene, the scene when she returns home after the prom etc. etc. but that one lives in the memory for a reason.

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Piper Laurie as Margaret White…the definition of evil mother

Carrie is a creepy, mysterious, heartbreaking and compelling film that like so many others, is a damn sight better than its remake. It is way more than just the prom scene and is a film I very much like and enjoy.

Next up on our journey we have a film that also has religious elements, of a rather different sort. Where Carrie suggests that Christianity makes people evil (looking at you Margaret White), tomorrow’s film couldn’t be further from that. I believe I stated this one as a specific film that was a far better satanic horror than The Exorcist which you may know I’m not a massive fan of. Tomorrow’s film however, again from 1976, starring the legendary Gregory Peck, I really do love…just make sure Damian doesn’t look at you funny. Ah that was too easy of a hint.

Let me know your thoughts on this film in the comments and contact me at morgan@thepurpledon.com if you have any inquiries or suggestions for improvements to posts!

The Journey Continues Tomorrow

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