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By Jamie Suckley • June 6th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
United Artists

Original release: November 3rd, 1976
Running time: 98 minutes

Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Lawerence D.Cohen

Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, P.J Soles, William Katt

I hated school. I hated the way people were treated because they didn’t fit the gender stereotypes or didn’t have the same interests as everyone else. I often saw people being picked on because they were from a poor background, couldn’t afford designer clothes or didn’t have their hair in a certain way…

Why should they conform? I was brought up to treat everyone the way I want to be treated, and thanks to Brian De Palma’s 1976 King adaptation, Carrie, I stayed true to my word – and generally near the exit doors at my school prom.

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a shy and rather different teenager who is on the receiving end of bullying and practical jokes at her small-town high school.


Her fanatic mother, Margaret (Piper Laurie), whose religious guilt and ignorance to sexuality has caused Carrie to become the victim of vicious cruelty at the hands of Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen). Carrie’s gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) tries to fill in the gaps her mothers ignorance has left in the matters of puberty.

When Chris is banned from the school prom for the torment she has caused Carrie, she concocts the ultimate prank at the school prom with her boyfriend Billy (John Travolta) and cold-hearted friend Norma (P.J Soles) using popular students as blind pawns. But come prom night, they’ll all learn the outcome of Carries’ frustration as she fires out in a horrifying display of her – until then minor – telekinetic powers.

Penned by Lawerence D.Cohen, Carrie is not only the film that established De Palma as a director and brought him financial and critical gain, but is also started the frenzy of King adaptations which, to some extent, is still ongoing.

The film has three key scenes that instantly come to mind when I think about Carrie: The shower scene, prom night and the finale. Carrie Partly because they’re directed and executed brilliantly, and because of the significance they represent to the narrative of the film and its central theme of adolescence.

Although many people seem to watch Carrie preferably at Halloween, it’s more than just a horror film. In some ways I think it shouldn’t have been marketed as such. The film has strong themes of jealousy and underlining sexual acceptance. Carrie’s telekinetic powers manifest following her first period. From this moment the film documents her journey as a young woman.

While the other girls are more bothered about their appearance and romantic status, she’s yearning for acceptance from the other girls and the opposite sex – but maybe first of all from her mother who causes just as much damage as the Bullies. Once Margaret realises Carrie has started her menstrual cycle and she has a date for the prom, she condemns her with sin. Miss Collins, although trying to help, mirrors the pressures of having to conform to society’s expectations, and in a way is a snake in the grass. The film is full of representations which again and again reflect on these themes.


“The films most monstrous act occurs when the couple are drenched in pigs blood, which symbolizes menstrual blood- women are referred to in the film as “pigs,” women “bleed like pigs,” and the pigs blood runs down Carries body at the moment of intense pleasure, just as her own blood runs down her legs during a similar pleasurable moment when she enjoys her body in the shower, there women’s blood and pigs blood flow together, signifying horror, shame and humiliation.” ¹

B. Creed (1993) Horror and the Monsters, University of Texas Press ¹

The villains in Carrie are the bullies and her mother. Aided by Pino Donaggio’s heartfelt composition, we feel sorry for her back at her home where we fear what’s going to happen. The film’s dream-like sequences suggest happiness is a short-lived thing.

Carrie is firmly placed in my top ranking King adaptations alongside The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999). It’s the film that made King famous through an adaptation and generated his fan base readership.

Jamie Suckley

Jamie Suckley

Jamie, editor for Cult Movies at Static Mass, is a 24 year old media studies graduate from Sheffield, who likes nothing better than watching films. If he was to star in a horror film he’d like to be the first one killed (think Drew Barrymore in Scream).

He has a keen interest in horror which started when he was a child. Due to his hyperactive behaviour his cousins made him watch films they thought would calm him down- They were wrong! It was watching Hellraiser and Killer Klowns from Outer Space that his passion for horror began. Over the years this developed into a passion for zombies, madmen, mutated animals and all things gore.

When he’s not working, in his dream world, worrying about zombie epidemics or watching films, he can be found on Twitter sharing his thoughts and bringing his dream world into reality.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieSuckley.

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