‘Carrie’: From 1976 until today, how has she changed?


carrie1976dvdThis classic horror movie based on Stephen King’s first novel stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a shy, diffident teenager who is the butt of practical jokes at her small-town high school. Her blind panic at her first menstruation, a result of ignorance and religious guilt drummed into her by her fanatical mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), only causes her classmates’ vicious cruelty to escalate, despite the attentions of her overly solicitous gym teacher (Betty Buckley). Finally, when the venomous Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen) engineers a reprehensible prank at the school prom, Carrie lashes out in a horrifying display of her heretofore minor telekinetic powers. Many films had featured school bullies, but Carrie was one of the first to focus on the special brand of cruelty unique to teenage girls. Carrie’s world is presented as a snake pit, where the well-to-do female students all have fangs — even the reticent Sue Snell (Amy Irving) — and all the males are blind pawns, sexually twisted around the fingers of Chris and her evil cronies. The talented supporting cast includes John Travolta, P.J. Soles, and William Katt. One of the genre’s true classics, the film was followed by a sequel in 1999, as well as by a famously unsuccessful Broadway musical adaptation that starred Betty Buckley, the movie’s gym teacher, as Margaret White. (synopsis from Fandango)


The 1976 version of Carrie was a lesson in cruelty perpetrated by other teens on one of their own. It portrayed the loneliness of those who are targeted by others for being different. To make the point even more poignant, Carrie doesn’t even have respite at home, where most of us are able to be ourselves and not be judged. Carrie’s mother is a religious fanatic who punished Carrie for every infraction, real or imaginary.

Another interesting point of the movie is the female domination of Carrie’s world. Men are nothing but unwitting pawns in an otherwise insane world. I would almost feel slighted if men weren’t such damn tools 90% of the time.

When Carrie reaches out for help, she is punished or ostracized. Once she has been humiliated by the girls in her gym class, things start taking a different turn. It seems that menstruation may have unleashed a secret power in Carrie. As the unconvincingly caring principal attempts to talk to Carrie (consistently calling her by the wrong name), an ash tray that Carrie is staring at vibrates and flies across the room, shattering upon impact.

carrie_1976_1The girls who were cruel to Carrie in the gym locker room (throwing tampons at her and calling her names) are punished. However, the popular girl Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen) decides that vengeance is the best course. Meanwhile, the good girl in the school, Sue Snell, convinces her boyfriend to ask Carrie to the prom to help her feel like she can fit in. Evil girl Chris gets her dimwitted boyfriend (John Travolta) to set up a prank. He rigs the prom court and has Carrie and Sue’s boyfriend Tommy are elected as Queen and King. A bucket of pigs blood is rigged above the area where the couple are crowned, and the expected mess causes a holy terror to be unleashed on the kids at the dance.

“They’re all going to laugh at you!”

Carrie returns home after all of the death and destruction, only to find her mom in an equally insane state. Things go even farther south at this time.

You can take a peek at the original trailer here:

So, how does it looks like the remake will compare? Let’s start out by taking a look at the film synopsis.

carrie-poster05Stephen King’s Carrie gets a new life in this remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz as a teenager who discovers that she has the extraordinary ability to move objects with the power of her mind, which eventually leads to mayhem and horror at her high-school prom. Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) directs, and Julianne Moore co-stars as Carrie’s overbearing mother. (synopsis from Fandango)

Well, for starters, we don’t seem to getting as much in the synopsis (just kidding). From all that I’ve seen in the trailers and clips, it seems that this remake will be fairly honest with the source material. I’m sure that there will be some parts of the film that swerve away from the original story, which is only to be expected. An exact duplicate will bring barely anything new to the table. Maybe a few newer special effects, but little in the way of the things that hold an audiences attention.


I am really excited to see how Julianne Moore handles the role of the batshit crazy, religiously fanatical mother in Mrs. White. From what I’ve seen so far, I think she will give Piper Laurie a race in who is the most nuts. Moore typically impresses me in almost everything she does, and I’m thinking that she might create an amazing performance.

I’m a little worried about Carrie though. Sissy Spacek was perfect as the lonely girl with the latent power. She carried a pathos to the character that made her stand out and feel realistic to the audience. I’m interested in seeing how Chloë Grace Moretz is able to compare. Plus, the opening scene is a fairly rough scene were a girl at her weakest and most confused is tormented by other girls her age. I’m curious to see if Moretz can bring the same confusion, pain, and terror to the character.

Tell me, what do you think? Do you think this is a movie that needs a remake? How do you think the remake is going to do in theaters? What scene sticks out in your head form the 1976 film? Let me know!


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