Monday, 4 October 2010

Think again before you make fun of Carrie

Carrie (1976) 
3 November, 1976 

Directed by: 
Brian De Palma

Produced by:
Brian De Palma

Written by: 
Lawrence D. Cohen
(based on a novel by
Stephen King)

Sissy Spacek
Piper Laurie
Betty Buckley
Amy Irving
William Katt
Nancy Allen
John Travolta 

Summary: Carrie White is an abused and bullied schoolgirl who discovers she has physic powers. When she realises she has the ability to move objects with her mind, she begins to use this against anyone making her angry. Her insane, god-fearing mother believes that everything Carrie does is a sin. Her punishment is being locked in a cupboard (with an extremely freaky Jesus ornament) and being made to pray for forgiveness. She is mistreated by her mother, teachers and friends (worst of all Chris) and this film witnesses her final revenge. 
My Favourite Scene: I believe that the most effective scene in Carrie is at the end, where Sue (in a dream) visits the remains of Carrie’s house to lay some flowers. As she is laying the flowers on the ground, Carrie’s hand, covered in blood, reaches out and grabs Sue’s wrist. After this, Sue wakes up screaming and crying in her mother’s arms. 

I think this is very powerful because it illustrates the effect of what Carrie did. The audience expects the scene to be Sue’s peaceful goodbye to Carrie -  however the hand reaching out definitely changes that! I do not think I have ever been more scared in my life. I literally jumped out of my skin! The scene portrays that even though she is now dead, the bitterness of what Carrie did still lives on. 

My Favourite Quotes: 
Margaret White: Witch. Got Satan's power.
Carrie White: It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It's me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things.

Margaret White: These are godless times, Mrs. Snell.
Mrs. Snell: I'll drink to that.
My Thoughts: This is an interesting and weird film. When it was released, it was innovative and many films using the same ideas as Carrie, followed in its footsteps. The ‘pig blood prom scene’ was especially inventive. The combination of split screen, lighting, music and Sissy Spacek’s performance made this scene incredibly effective. 
Brian De Palma originally wanted Sissy Spacek to play Chris (Carrie’s bully) but when she arrived for the final audition unwashed, wearing a dress her mother made her in the seventh grade and with vaseline rubbed into her hair  - De Palma realised he had found his Carrie. Spacek’s performance in the film was brilliant. She really captured the confused and awkward role of Carrie. She had a unique look and, even when covered in pig’s blood, she was beautiful.   

Carrie’s mother, Mrs. White, is insane. She is enormously religious and anything Carrie does ‘wrong’, results in her being placed in the cupboard. I think five minutes alone with that Jesus ornament is enough to make anyone seriously disturbed. For a while, I believed that Mrs. White did actually love her daughter, but was just hungry for control. However what she did when Carrie returned home from her prom made me change my mind! 
An element about this film I especially liked was the theme music. Instead of being dramatic like most classic horror films, it was simple and tranquil. I think this highlights the sadness about the film. Even after everything that Carrie had done, I still pitied her. She was just a misunderstood young girl. Moreover, I felt like (towards the end of the film) Carrie had hope. She was beginning to believe in herself. Tommy was being kind to her, as was Sue. Everyone was starting to accept Carrie, and that night, she was genuinely happy. 

I think an underlying message in this film is the effect of bullying. Carrie was a sweet girl who had good intentions, but she could only take so much. The girls were horrible to her, and while most learnt their lesson, Chris did not (but she got her comeuppance in the end). I was glad that Sue survived, because it seemed that besides Miss Collins, she was the only one who cared for Carrie in the end. She sacrificed her prom date with Tommy to let Carrie be happy. 

This film has certainly left its mark on horror film history and I think anyone who has seen it will think twice before they insult someone else, just in case they happen to be like Carrie.  

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