carrie7617-year-old Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is abused both at school and at home by her religious fanatic of a mother (Piper Laurie), but Carrie discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Brian De Palma’s first great commercial success is a an adaptation of Stephen King’s now-classic horror novel that features a cast full of names that got a boost thanks to this film. With a seasick camera, the director underscores the twisted religious symbols of the White household and lustfully contrasts teenage bodies with blood and discomfort. Highly effective; the prom carnage, with its split screen and slo-mo tension, and the final shock, are expertly carried out. Dedicated performances by the two leads.

1976-U.S. 97 min. Color. Produced by Paul Monash. Directed by Brian De Palma. Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen. Novel: Stephen King. Music: Pino Donaggio. Cast: Sissy Spacek (Carrie White), Piper Laurie (Margaret White), William Katt (Tommy Ross), John Travolta, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen.

Trivia: Irving’s first film. Later a stage musical. Followed by The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999). Remade as Carrie (2002) and Carrie (2013).

Last word: “I felt the telekinesis was basically a device to trick, and I wanted to use it as an extension of her emotions – her feelings that were completely translated into actions, that only erupted when she got terribly excited, terribly anxious and terribly sad. It was always a little out of control, almost like ‘Forbidden Planet’ where the Id monster is an intellectual man murdering people because he subconsciously wants to. I never wanted to use it arbitrarily, floating stuff around. In a movie that’s kind of boring. Okay, she moves objects. As soon as you’ve established that, I don’t think you can do anymore with it. Just use it when it’s needed and dramatically valid. To play with it, to me, would be very boring and ultimately it has to do with credibility. If you do it too much people will say ‘Come on!’ In the cinema it’s a trick: ‘Oh yeah, they put wires on the lamp and that’s why it floats through the air!’ You never want to get the audience to be so analytical and disassemble the trick. I only ever wanted to use it as an emotional expression of her passions.” (De Palma, Cinefantastique Magazine)

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