Carrie (1976)


Fan Art is The Best Art
Fan Art is The Best Art

Genre: Horror

Starring: Sissy Spacek (Badlands • In The Bedroom), Piper Laurie (The HustlerChildren of a Lesser God)

Directed By: Brian De Palma (ScarfaceThe Untouchables)

Overview: Carrie is an unpopular 17-year old girl with telekinetic powers and an overprotective, religious zealot of a mother. When Carrie is asked out to the Senior prom, she’s torn between finally being accepted by her peers, and doubting the motives of her new friends.

Some movies are work. Some movies are treasures and hidden gems, and some feel like coming home. Those ‘coming home’ movies are the sort where you decide one night, on a whim, to re-watch, especially if you have a friend with you who needs to be educated on something they haven’t seen. You may suddenly remember how much the movie meant to you once, in that way that the scent of a happy childhood is comforting. You miss it and mourn how you could have forgotten how warming it was. Ironically, the classic Horror film, Carrie, is one such film. It’s a perfect little gem that weaseled itself into my mind so quickly that on this - only my third viewing - it already lives in a special place in my heart.

Zealous Mothers are the Best Mothers

Carrie (Sissy Spacek) isn’t a popular girl. In fact, the opening scene takes what is a very natural moment and points out how completely alien Carrie White already has become amongst her peers. In the showers after gym class, she is horrified when she sees blood coming out from between her legs. She begs her classmates for help. They only laugh, throwing tampons and sanitary napkins at her until she’s a crying mess on the shower floor. Her coach helps her and punishes the entire class with hours of physical detention – with the threat of being suspended from school and banned from the Senior prom. The girls who weren’t fans of Carrie in the first place are now far less sympathetic. While some students seeth, others see that Carrie’s just a troubled girl who needs to be given a chance. The handsome, rugged and perfectly-coiffed Tommy (Willliam Katt) agrees to ask her to the Senior prom. Carrie, for her part, is having a hard time. Her mother (Piper Laurie) is insanely zealous, spreading the Good Word and punishing Carrie for things that are a normal part of growing up, like being interested in boys and having her first period. Carrie’s coming of age isn’t like most girls… especially if she can also move things with her mind.

If you asked for concrete examples of cinema that would define the word ‘classic’, I would include Carrie in my list. There’s just something about it that is perfectly crafted to appeal to the masses. The pacing is perfect. There’s never a dull moment. After 98 minutes you’ll wonder where the time went. Sissy is wonderful as Carrie, but she is phenomenally upstaged by Piper Laurie in the role of Carrie’s mother. Her character is like a dark iceberg that you only see the tip of until it’s too late. Piper manages to pull off histrionics without overacting, and her lines are consistently the best of the film. In fact, come to think of it, she may be one of my favourite characters in cinema history. But the whole cast really shines, from just-plain-nice-and-honest characters Tommy Ross (Willliam Katt) and Sue Snell (Amy Irving) to the kinda-horrible-and-mean-even-to-each-other Chris (Nancy Allen) and her boyfriend Billy (played wonderfully dimwitted with a penchant for slapping his girlfriend in the face by John Travolta). Add Brian De Palma’s attention to cinematography and imagery and it’s not surprising this is one of Hollywood’s most famous horror films.

Then, when the climactic scene finally does happen - that deliciously long and beautifully paced climactic scene - it’s incredible. You’ll actually feel your pupils dilating as a piece of essential cinema history is fed into your brain. And when it’s over, the credits do not roll, there’s more. There’s denouement that takes the cake.

Do yourself a favour. Just get this in you.

Prom Night is the Best NightProm Night is the Best Night

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 9 Script: 9 Plot: 8 Mood: 9

Overall Rating: 88% (Definitely Not A Heavy Burden)

Man I just want to see this again right now.

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