Review: Carrie (1976)

carrie 1976 poster

“It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It’s me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things.”
– Carrie White

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is just your typical girl at school – the one way at the bottom of the food chain, the lowest in the pecking order. After a physical education class, Carrie begins her first menstruation cycle ever. While the other girls rapidly jump onto the bandwagon of mocking her and teasing her, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) puts an end to it and helps Carrie. Sent home, Carrie confronts her mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), about not having told her it was coming, and her mother reacts in anger and locks her in her prayer closet.

carrie 1976 mom prays for her sins
“We’ll pray. We’ll pray. We’ll pray for the last time. We’ll pray.” – Margaret White

Carrie is dealing with difficult things at home. The rest of the girls are informed by Miss Collins that they are to sit detention for a week for what they did to Carrie if they still wish to attend Prom. Naturally, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) refuses point blank, which leads to terrible arguments between herself and Miss Collins. Sue Snell (Amy Irving) is being eaten by guilt over what they did to Carrie, and asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to ask Carrie to the Prom as some form of penance. Initially he refuses, but later he relents. She relinquishes and finally agrees to go, allowing herself to get a little excited.

Miss Collins is worried that Tommy is taking her as some part of a degrading joke. Chris enlists the help of her delinquent boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) to belittle Carrie with a truly awful prank. What they don’t know, however, is that Carrie White is telekinetic, and has been practising the skill to master it some way or the other. Carrie is tired of being the butt of all jokes; she is exhausted from the constant mockery. She is intent on having a night of normality, something to look forward to and remember forevermore when it is over.

carrie bloody 1976
“It was bad, Mama. They laughed at me.” – Carrie White

Will the dream night go according to plan for Carrie? Will Chris go through with her truly awful stunt to embarrass and ridicule Carrie publicly for the last time? If Chris manages to trick Carrie, what will the repercussions be for taunting a telekinetic and unstable young teenage girl?

Carrie receives a 5/10. While I am not completely sure why so much had to be altered from the book (seeing as it was so damn short), it was not a great film, it was definitely not worth the praise that it received. I was impressed in places and then others I was horrified by the blatant changes. I enjoyed John Travolta in his role as the horrible Billy Nolan, he seemed to be alright. I was not impressed with how Tommy Ross was portrayed as some popular jock that had no understanding with what happened with Carrie and upset of being asked to go with her in a sense. In the books he was far more socially conscious of other people than the movie shows. It was like they fluctuated between him being nice and the other side not, though they got him down pat at the prom. I am not sure why so much was changed at the end, and it took the whole “horror” aspect out of it a bit for me, to be honest. It was rushed. The whole story built up for terror, and it was altered and ended far too quickly, which was very much a let-down for me. Sissy Spacek was fantastically cast as Carrie, and managed to bring her character through so vividly. I felt for her, truly I did. What a sad, sweet girl. It isn’t dreadful; it is just that they seemed to miss the core point of Carrie’s story here.

Review: Carrie – Stephen King

stephen king carrie cover

Carrie White is a seventeen-year-old girl living with her religiously fanatical mother Margaret White. She is the loser at school, the odd one out, the one that just never seems to fit in. An incident in the girls’ locker room one day changes Carrie irrevocably when her menstruation cycle begins and she is mocked and teased. Carrie’s latent telekinesis comes back to her, and before she knows it the memories pour in with it, and it shocks her that it was forgotten.

Some of the students feel bad for what they put Carrie White for, and pity the cruelty that Carrie has suffered. The most notable student in this regard was Sue Snell, who decides that she needs to atone for the things that she has done. She arranges with her boyfriend, Tommy Ross , to take Carrie as his date to the Prom. He goes along with it, neither having any ill-intent at hear. However, there are other students that resent Carrie for what went down in the locker rooms, most notorious of the lot is Christine Hargensen, who is very popular and has many followers who will do her bidding gladly, including her new dodgy boyfriend, Billy Nolan.

Carrie is astounded and excited for the Prom, and even endures the terrible fights with her mother over the fact that she has decided to go. Carrie has been practising her telekinetic abilities, and is getting much more efficient about controlling them. Some of the teachers are worried that something may happen at the Prom seeing as the incident in the locker rooms with Carrie concluded with Chris being restricted from going, and her very influential lawyer father did nothing more to get her to go after a showdown between the man and Mr Grayle, the principal. Prom Night is almost upon them, and her excitement is almost palpable. It is Carrie’s one night of normality, of not being the odd one out.

Will Carrie have her glorious night out, or will something happen at the Prom as some of the teachers are dreading? If something happens, will Carrie be able to handle the final humiliation, or will she splinter and crack? What will happen at the Prom on this evening where everything is only just hanging in the balance?

GRADE 7.5The book was a fantastic read, and for a first book to be published for an author it was amazing. Knowing that this is what Stephen King started with it is little wonder that he progressed as he did, he has a brilliant mind. I really enjoyed the style of writing and layout for this book, what with the story interwoven between the “accounts” of what went down on Prom Night, the research that went into the telekinetic phenomenon, the court transcripts as well as Carrie White herself. I thought the tale that King told was an incredibly sad one, and executed brilliantly. The story is not a long one, and can be read reasonably quickly. If you are not familiar with King’s work, this is a decent place to start and decide. I thought it was very good, and it is not the first time that I am reading the story,