Carrie (1976)

Carrie is a 1976 horror/supernatural movie based on the 1974 horror of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen the movie stars Cissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Piper Laurie, William Katt, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley and a young John Travolta in his first significant movie role!

Most of you know the story. Carrie White is a lonely 17 year old kid, the weirdo as labelled by the rest of her classmates at her high school. Shy and friendless she is abused by her religious Catholic fundamentalist mother Margaret White and often locked in a small closet to pray as atonement for her “sins”. The girls at Bates High School also harass Carrie about her appearance and shyness, with Chris Hargensen being especially cruel. One morning at school after a gym class while the girls are in the showers Carrie experiences her first period. Shocked and afraid, not having told or taught what to expect, she approaches her friends for help. The rest of the girls not knowing what the big deal was, start making fun of her and the reaction to her late onset of menstruation. They throw tampons and sanitary pads at her and taunt her until Miss Collins, the gym teacher, intervenes and chastises the girls. She has to slap Carrie to make the hysterical girl calm; not before her outburt makes a light bulb bursts in the gym, although it is mistaken as a broken one.

She is excused for the day and told to go home and rest as Miss Collins feels sorry for the traumatic experience Carrie has just had. At the principle’s office Miss Collins also recommends that she be excused from gym for the next week as well in order to recover. When the principal keeps referring to Carrie as Cassie, despite repeated corrections by Miss Collins, Carrie gets agitated and an ashtray on his desk flips onto the floor. It is apparent that she has telekinetic powers, probably brought forth by the onset of her late blooming. At home however Margaret, who receives a call from Miss Collins about the locker room incident, tells Carrie that the “curse of blood” was divine punishment for lustful thoughts and locks her into a prayer closet. That night, a miserable Carrie stares at her bedroom mirror until it shatters. The next day Miss Collins makes all the tormentors gather in the gym and doles out the punishment – they are to get 50 minutes of detention for a week with boot-camp style exercises. Failure to do so will get them 3 days suspension and refusal to admit them to the senior prom. Chris refuses to continue and earns a suspension and is denied her ticket to the prom. Carrie meanwhile reads up on telekenisis in the library as she suspects that it’s what causes her powers. Sue Snell, another of the students, who feels bad for the incident decides to get her boyfriend Tommy Ross to invite Carrie to the prom. Carrie seems to have a crush on Tommy and likes his poetry.

Carrie fearing that it is a trick refuses Tommy’s invitation but on Sue’s urging Tommy goes to the White’s residence and invites Carrie again and she finally agrees. However Margaret declares the prom a sinful activity and forbids her to go and Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers, upon which he mother calls her a witch. Carrie puts her foot down and says that Tommy is a good boy and says that she is going to the prom and stitches herself a nice dress. Wanting revenge for being denied the prom ticket Chris gets her delinquent boyfriend and a couple of other friends to kill a pig and drain it’s blood into a bucket.  Billy then sneaks into the school and places the bucket above the school’s stage. Carrie readies herself on the  night of the prom against her mother’s protests and is picked up at by Tommy. At the prom, the others are surprised to see Carrie and finally treat her as an equal. She has a nice time and even agrees to vote for her & Tommy in the vote for “Prom king & queen”. Sue, who was unable to attend due to lacking a date, sneaks into the prom to ensure everything goes well for Carrie. Chris’s friend Norma collects the students’ ballots for prom king and queen, but, at Chris’s request, replaces the majority with votes nominating Tommy and Carrie. The announcement is made and to Carrie’s surprised every applauds as she & Tommy are named queen & king of the prom! They to the stage and are cheered on – that’s when Chris & Billy drop the bucket full of blood on her!  Before Sue can warn Carrie, Miss Collins forces her out, believing she is there for mischief. Drenched in pig’s blood, Carrie is shocked and barely notices that Tommy is knocked unconscious as the metal bucket falls and hits him on the head.

As Carrie looks around the room she sees everyone mocking and laughing at her; it only appears to her to be so and in reality only Chris and her friends are laughing at her. She goes into a fit of rage  uses her telekinesis to seal the exits and manipulate a fire hose, which blasts the student body with water. The water makes contact with the electrical wiring and ignites a fire that consumes the gym. The students and faculty, including Miss Collins, are killed. Chris and Billy witness the carnage from a high window. Carrie leaves the gym and walks home covered in blood. Chris and Billy attempt to run Carrie over with Billy’s car, but Carrie telekinetically flips the car over and causes it to explode, killing both of them. Carrie returns home and washes herself off the blood and on seeing her mother sees solace in her arms. In the middle of the prayer, Margaret, being a fanatic and delusional, believing that Carrie is the new Satan, stabs Carrie in the back. Carrie defends herself by crucifying her mother in the kitchen doorway with numerous blades and knives into her hands, chest and abdomen. Overcome with grief, Carrie unhooks her mother just as the house begins to collapse on the two of them, before ultimately burning to the ground. In the closing minutes Sue, who was the sole survivor having been outside, has a nightmare of going to which she visits the plot where Carrie’s house stood and while placing flowers, Carrie’s bloodies hands grabs hers. As she screams in her bed, Sue’s mother tries to comfort her.

Simply tragic and made well. For 1976 it’s a great movie which stands the test of time and is favourite of horror fans and Stephen King’s fans. You can’t help but have your heart go out to Carrie and Cissy Spacek did a terrific job. 8.5 outta 10!

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