Re-Watch: Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley
[Here’s my review of the 2013 remake.]

Growing up with her ultra-religious, mentally ill mother (Piper Laurie), Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is an outcast at her school who lacks vital information. Like what a period is. So when she gets it, she’s understandably distressed, a fact her classmates use to bring the bullying to the next level. But what they don’t know is that Carrie also has strange powers that she’s slowly getting the hang of.

Carrie is just a fantastic film that has it all – great cast, great director, great camerawork, great writing. I loved it. Again.


it’s been probably over 10 years that I saw the film for the first and last time but I could still remember it quiet vividly because it is such a vibrant film. And on re-watching, it almost hasn’t paled at all. Though I do have to admit that there also a couple of things I liked better in hindsight in the new version – I actually think that the 2013 version’s “period scene” is much harder hitting. I also liked Julianne Moore better as Carrie’s mother than Piper Laurie, and the more conciliatory ending between Sue and Carrie worked for me more than the more vengeful old version.

But in all other things the old version is still the superior version* in my book. First and foremost it’s Sissy Spacek who carries (no pun intended) the film. She fits the role perfectly in Carrie’s fragility, innocence and strength. You are with Carrie every step of the way because of Sissy Spacek. [Not that the other performances weren’t good

Carrie1The film also looks great and plays a lot with (colorful) lighting. The camerawork is pretty great in general – I especially like the scenes where Carrie basically reaches out to the audience watching. That makes the watcher complicit in Carrie’s solitude, as unable to help her as Sue and Miss Collins are, despite their good intentions – and it manages to make you sympathize with all three of them at the same time.That’s quite neat. And of course the meltdown Carrie has at the prom, that is just as horrifying and disorienting as Carrie feels in that scene and where she has to scrabble for anything that gives her purchase – in this case her powers.

Brian de Palma takes all these wonderful things and makes an even better whole out of them – a film that is made with such a compassion for people at the same time as showing their horrible sides as well.

Carrie2Summarizing: Wonderful.

*Apparently there is also a 2002 version written by Bryan Fuller with Angela Bettis, Patricia Clarkson and Emilie de Ravin? WHY didn’t I know this before?

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