There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.
It's nearing the end of the school year. High school senior Carrie White is a social outcast, largely due to being unwise to the ways of the world based on her upbringing. Her mother, Margaret White, is a religious fanatic, her extreme views primarily targeted against sex, which she believes is a sin. She even believes natural associated processes such as menstruation are a sin, about which she has refused to mention to Carrie. Mrs. White's beliefs were taken to that extreme largely because of her own failed marriage and her husband Ralph long ago having run off with another woman. The only adult authority figure who tries to help Carrie with her life is her phys ed teacher, Miss Collins, who is nonetheless warned not to get too close to go against how Mrs. White chooses to raise Carrie, Mrs. White whose beliefs are well known in the community. An impromptu event that happens among Carrie's phys ed classmates against her leads to her classmates being punished. One of those students, ...Written by
Watching the TV remake of Carrie last week just made me miss the original version all the more. There were so many elements that made the 1976 movie a classic, but I will try to name just a few...
First of all, the original actresses could never be replaced. Sissy Spacek as Carrie White goes without saying. Sissy gave Carrie a child-like quality that no other actress can touch. You not only root for Spacek's Carrie, but you want to reach in and hug her. Equally irreplacable was Piper Laurie who brings a manic energy to her role as the religious-wacko Mrs. White. I loved how Piper and Sissy's southern accents enhanced their characters. I don't know if it was Stephen King's intention or not, but the way Carrie said "Momma" was just so southern. It was fun seeing Piper and Sissy reunited onscreen as southern sisters in the Grass Harp.
Two supporting actresses in the film who get little credit are Amy Irving and Betty Buckley. Irving brought an intelligent, thoughtful depth to the character of Sue Snell. Buckley as the caring gym teacher stole every scene she was in. One of the most touching moments was Miss Collins taking Carrie in front of the mirror and telling her that she is a pretty girl. Then the terrible realization on her face as she wonders if it is another cruel joke. And who didn't love it when Buckley slapped Nancy Allen's face?
Maybe the single most important element in Carrie is the suspense-building music. I can't express how perfectly the music framed every scene. It should have won an oscar for the soundtrack alone. The two beautiful themes still stick in my mind, "Born To Have It All" which was playing in the shower scene and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You (Could Love Someone Like Me)" which Carrie and Tommy danced to at the prom. Even the cheesy band playing at the prom fit the mood just right with the lyrics, "The Devil's Got a Hold Of Your Soul".
Carrie is campy nostalgia. It really is a time capsule of that era in history. The polyester, the gym shorts and knee socks, the afros and farrah-hair just take you back to 1976. Where else can you see the stars of Welcome Back Kotter and Eight Is Enough in the same movie?
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