I can remember the first time that I saw Carrie. It was a heavily edited version on the TBS show, "Dinner and a Movie". I sat down with Dad and watched it. He kept telling me about how scary the ending was, how he nearly jumped out of his seat when he saw it in theaters. I was already on edge. Piper Laurie's portrayal of Carrie's mother is hands down one of the most disturbing things that I have ever witnessed. She plays that part too well. I also remember sympathizing with Sissy Spacek's Carrie. As someone who was constantly bullied in high school, I could definitely relate. I was Team Carrie all the way.
And then that prom scene happened.
Now, don't get me wrong. Every single one of those bastards deserved the horrible death that came upon them, but there was just something about Carrie in that particular sequence that has haunted me for all of these years. It's that look in her eye. The way that her hands are eerily frozen and twisted at her sides. The way that she casually takes out her revenge on the entire school without batting an eye in that trancelike state. That dress covered in pigs blood.
I knew that I wouldn't get much sleep that night.
And then there's the rest of the film, which gradually tears your nerves up for the rest of the running time. And that ending. Oh my, that ending. And let's not forget everything else that came before it, especially that creepy Jesus in that closet. If you've seen the film, you know all about Creepy Jesus.
Carrie is a classic, though there are many in certain critical circles who claim that it has not aged well. I beg to differ. It's not "dated" at all, but a film that exists in a certain time and place. Carrie is a jewel of seventies horror, all backed with that beautiful Pino score. Although Sissy Spacek has gone on record saying that she counts Carrie among her worst performances, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with her. She's perfect in this role. I've never been able to accept anyone else in that role. It is probably my favorite DePalma film, next to Phantom of the Paradise. I always enjoy screening it for new audiences. It has lost none of its power, and I look forward to watching it every year. The 2013 remake was absolutely unnecessary.
DePalma's Carrie is still the queen of the prom. I can't wait to watch it again!
You can find the trailer in the Screening Room.