Adapted from Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie made telling use of split-screen techniques to follow cause and effect as it monitored the startling telekinetic powers of Carrie White – a teenage girl passing through a traumatic puberty, in one of the most powerful and original horror movies of the decade.
The primary cause of Carrie’s trauma was the sadistic tyranny of her bigoted, sex-obsessed, religious zealot of a mother (Piper Laurie) who associates “the curse of Eve” and its attendant blood, with sin, death and crucifixion.
In sheer self-defence, her unfortunate child finally “crucifies” her with flying knives, projected by her telekinetic powers.
The movie culminates in a fiery whizz-bang of a finale in which Carrie – who has been drenched in pig’s blood at her high school prom – fries her tormentors (including John Travolta) to a crisp and the Senior Prom turns into a blazing nightmare.
Sissy Spacek was outstanding as the shy, tortured teenage girl whose burgeoning sexuality gives her a hellish time at high school.
A 2013 film remake saw Chloë Grace Moretz miscast in an almost beat-for-beat facsimile which was both pointless and bloodless. Even a bewildered Stephen King asked, “why, when the original was so good?”
The less said about the short-lived Carrie: The Musical the better!
P J Soles
Brian De Palma