Monday, June 3, 2013

607. CARRIE (1976)

Running Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Brian De Palma
Written By: Lawrence D. Cohen, from the novel by Stephen King
Main Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta
Click here to view the trailer


My wife's second choice to replace the two movies from the 40s that I couldn't get a hold of, is "Carrie" - the 1976 feature directed by Brian De Palma and adapted from a Stephen King novel. This one also came off of our DVD collection and despite the fact that I bought it, I'd have to say I wasn't crazy about it this time around.

The film starts at a typical, American high school, just after a girls gym class, as the young ladies are in their locker room, showering and changing. Carrie White (Spacek) loses herself under the warm water of a shower head and as she lathers her body, she begins to have her period. You see, apparently this is Carrie's first period and having no prior knowledge that her body would begin to do this, she freaks out and thinks she's dying.  Of course, the other students laugh and throw tampons at her, urging her to "plug it up". Carrie is embarrassed to death and is only saved when the gym teacher comes to her aid. Later, we learn that Carrie's home life is a little bit odd, as her mother is a hardcore religious enthusiast, who now believes that Carrie has committed sin by beginning menstruation. Her mother, Margaret (Laurie) locks her in the closet and forces her to pray, in hopes that God will forgive her for becoming a woman. Back at school, the girls who were involved in the tampon throwing incident are being heavily punished by gym teacher, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley). They're sentenced to a week's worth of detention, with her and if they don't appear, they'll be refused tickets to their senior prom. Meanwhile, Sue Snell (Irving) one of the girls involved in the locker room incident, is starting to feel guilt for her role in the event and decides to sacrifice her date, Tommy Ross (Katt), so that Carrie can go to the prom with him and experience what it's like to be accepted at high school. Oh and Carrie is discovering something else about her body; that she has the power to move things with her mind. What will happen when Tommy escorts Carrie to the prom?


You aren't going to hear me say this often, if ever again, so listen carefully: I don't like "Carrie" because I've read the novel and am of the opinion that it is better than the film.

Whew! That was hard. I'm not much of a reader, but years ago, mainly because my brother was such a big fan of Stephen King and I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about, I picked up a copy of Carrie and read it. I had already seen the movie at that point, but was still surprised to learn that there were many differences between the film and the novel. One of the main differences and one of the reasons I just can't like this movie, is the ending, which sees Carrie White not only burn down her high school, but proceed to leave the high school, walk through town and basically burn the entire town to the ground - houses, businesses, everything. Sure, I completely understand that the year was 1976 and to undertake such a feat as to burn down an entire town on film would've cost a lot more money than this production probably had, but dammit, the heart wants what the heart wants! In 2002, they remade "Carrie" for the first time, as a television movie and at least they included a shot of a town being burned to the ground, but that was about the end of it. This fall, Hollywood will take another crack at "Carrie", when a new version comes out around Halloween. While I'm sure this new version will be shoddy at best, here's hoping they go balls to the wall and produce a more faithful adaptation.

But, it wasn't just the fact that the film wasn't as good as the book, as I had other gripes too. The ending just seems to stretch on forever and ever, as De Palma uses a slow motion effect and makes the spilled pigs blood feel like spilled molasses. That score got really old, really quick too and it just kept playing and playing and wouldn't quit. It's just not a very eventful film, as De Palma takes too much time establishing everything and not enough time focusing on what makes the book great. Piper Laurie was amazing as Margaret White, but the rest of the cast was filled out with amateur teenagers/twenty-somethings that just couldn't cut the mustard when it came time to bring the acting muscle. The film had some good to it and it had that gritty, 70s horror movie feel and in that case you want those non-experienced actors, because that goes along way in making it more fun. My wife and I had a blast making fun of the actors, their expressions and their silly wardrobes. However, "Carrie" shouldn't JUST BE your typical horror fest, because it's based on a King novel and King puts a lot more effort into his work than that and deserves a higher class of film.

RATING: 5.5/10  I was gonna' go '6', but I really don't think it's even that good. I wanted to like it, but ultimately it's flaws were too prevalent and I couldn't get past that.


June 3, 2013  11:13am

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