CARRIE

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Movies Lee Cushing Review by
Lee Cushing
Carrie - 1976
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CARRIE: Special Edition - 1976
USA Release: Nov. 16, 1976
MGM Home Entertainment
Rated: Argentina, Chile, Norway, Peru, UK: 18 / Australia, USA: R / Finland: K-18 / France: -16 / Norway, Sweden: 15 / West Germany: 16

Wide lapels and Robert Plant hairdos may have gone out with the Carter administration, but CARRIE stands the test of time. Anyone doubting the relevance of the 70s tale of teen angst need only refer to the Columbine tragedy and the spate of copycat incidents over the past five years. And MGM's new CARRIE: SPECIAL EDITION DVD offers a fresh look at the film with a crisp digital image and the addition of new documentaries and other features.

CARRIE's long-lasting appeal rests in its universality. Every school in every era has had a Carrie White, the acknowledged point of reference marking absolute zero on the popularity scale. If you were fortunate enough not to be your school's Carrie you definitely knew of them (socially awkward, shabbily dressed and groomed, usually from a weird family, the butt of cruel jokes, the pariah).

Carrie discovers blood
CARRIE, LEFT IGNORANT OF EVEN THE MOST BASIC NATURAL FUNCTION OF MENSTRATION, SCREAMS IN TERROR AT THE BLOOD OF HER FIRST PERIOD.

But what if the school loser possessed (but hadn't mastered) the gift of telekinesis?

The film takes this succulent premise and executes it with a compelling combination of emotional tension and raw energy sadly missing from most genre films these days. CARRIE earned two Oscar nominations - almost unheard of for a horror film - for Sissy Spacek in the title role and Piper Laurie as Carrie's sicko fundamentalist mom. Energetic young supporting players, including a pre-leisure suit John Travolta (THE DEVIL'S RAIN, BATTLEFIELD EARTH) round out the cast.

Director Brian de Palma (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) uses special effects judiciously, as the handmaiden to good storytelling, not a replacement for it. The effects are just one course in the visual banquet. Lighting and camera angles exquisitely trace the fine line between the sensual and the horrific. Pino Donaggio's music perfectly compliments the film's visuals, and accents many of the films more memorable scenes.

The maddened eyes of Carrie
FROM HER WICKED PSYCHOTIC MOTHER TO HER VILE CLASSMATES,
EVIL BEGETS EVIL.

Lawrence D. Cohen's screenplay provides viewers with the best screen adaptation of a Stephen King novel. In CARRIE, we see the hallmarks of King at his best: realistic, complicated, human relationships challenged to respond to the paranormal. Cohen's screenplay changes the King plot slightly, but the changes only improve the story for presentation on film. In fact CARRIE may be that rarest of all species, a film actually on par with (if not surpassing) the book!

!!!RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
I don't think Carrie is supposed to take place before Brown v. Board of Education, but there aren't any minority chacters roaming Bates High School. I think I saw one young black man at the prom, but given the ending ... I think it's safe to assume he didn't make it through.

See full coverage of the RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT

To this already irresistible package MGM has added 90 minutes of new documentary footage by filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau, including interviews with DePalma, Cohen, Spacek, Irving, Laurie, and others. Anything you wanted to know about casting, effects, music, script revisions, the adaptation from the King novel...it's all there. There's even six minutes on the infamous Broadway flop, "Carrie, the musical"!

A small written section by Bouzerau reviews the genesis of the novel and provides a handy list detailing changes from the book to the film. King himself is absent from the supplemental DVD features, but somehow the product doesn't seem the less for it. This fresh version of the horror classic is a must-have to any horror fan's DVD collection, earning it a well-deserved Five Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

CARRIE
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