Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Unseen Halloween: Carrie (1976)

Unseen Halloween is an October feature where we watch and review older horror films that we'd never seen before. Enjoy!

Carrie is a 1976 horror film directed by Brian De Palma and adapted from the novel by Stephen King. It's about the titular Carrie (Sissy Spacek), who discovers that she has telekinetic abilities and uses them to get revenge on her classmates when they pull a cruel prank on her at prom. Meanwhile, Carrie's mom (Piper Laurie) is batshit crazy.

malikafavre via joblo

The highlight of the film for me was Spacek as Carrie. There's a theme of growth and self-discovery throughout the film and Spacek really nails it. Carrie goes from being a shy, near-mute girl to a happy person to a chilling murderer in the space of a week or so. The famous shower scene at the beginning of the movie marks Carrie's first period, and it's as awkward as it sounds. That scene also perfectly demonstrates how cruel Carrie's classmates are. Seriously, these women behave like animals.

Carrie's gym teacher Miss Collins is one of the only nice people in Carrie's life. Betty Buckley did a really great job in the role. Nancy Allen and John Travolta play a couple of assholes, one of your standard high school couples named Chris and Billy, the ones that dump all the pig's blood on Carrie at the prom. They were pretty good in their roles, although Travolta for some reason can't drink a beer to save his life - he's constantly got a beer mustache/beard on his face.

One of the more interesting parts of the film concerned the characters of Tommy (William Katt) and Sue (Amy Irving). I was never really sure what their intentions with Carrie were (although maybe I just didn't pay close enough attention). They cooked up a plan to have Tommy take Carrie to the prom (despite the fact that Tommy and Sue are dating), but I didn't know if that was part of Chris and Billy's plan to humiliate Carrie. Tommy seems to genuinely like Carrie, however. One of the movie's more memorable scenes involves Tommy and Carrie dancing. As they spin, the camera rotates around them in the opposite direction. It's all rather dizzying, and it kind of makes you feel like you're dancing with them, their giddy mood almost rubbing off on you.

In the end, it turns out that Tommy and Sue were genuinely just trying to help Carrie, so it makes it all the worse when we discover that Tommy is killed in Carrie's massacre. Sue survived however, and one of the final scenes shows Carrie reaching up from the remains of her house to grab her. Turns out this was all a dream, however.

Wait...let me back up. Carrie and her crazy mother got sucked under the Earth  - along with their entire house - after Carrie's mother tried to murder her for showing her "dirty pillows" at the prom. Carrie ended up having to kill her mother with her telekinesis, slinging a bunch of knives into her and crucifying her (the religious imagery in the film isn't very subtle). And while we're on the subject of Carrie's mother, Piper Laurie was definitely a standout. She apparently thought she was filming a "black comedy" and not a horror film. I don't really know what that says about her performance, although her "dirty pillows" and "They're all gonna laugh at you," lines are pretty funny (now I appreciate that Adam Sandler bit even more).

So as someone who has now seen Carrie, I would recommend it. It's got some great central performances and it's a pretty unique horror story to boot.

3 Out of 5 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment