Watching this film made me realize one thing: Carrie White is one of the greatest tragic figures in film. She endures so much and deserves none of it. I feel that she has an incredibly kind nature but the cruel life she lives crushes it. There is a scene where a teacher compliments her on her looks and you can tell that it made Carrie's day even if she didn't outwardly show it. I'll say it again: Carrie White is one of the greatest tragic figures in film.
I did an essay on bullying for my English final for my Freshman year of college (I can post it on my blog and send it to you if you want) and I reference this film in it. I think that this film perfectly exemplifies how teens (and even kids younger than that) can be social cannibals.
Acting/characters: To start off, Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie did absolutely stunning jobs in this film. From the first time you see each character you know exactly what they are like. You immediately relate to Carrie because all of us have been bullied at some point. Spacek did an amazing job exemplifying the torment that her character constantly had to endure and how she is forced to react. Right off the bat we see what she endures. Not even the school principal bothers to remember her name after it is told to him multiple times. Later we see that her teachers treat her as poorly as her peers do.
As for Margaret White (Piper Laurie) the minute she opens her mouth the first time you see her you know she is bad news (even without the fact that the media generally, not always mind you, sees religious people as hypocritical "fire and brimstone you will go to hell" type people. As a non-religious Christian I am inclined to agree with that every so often. Aside from that, you just sense she is bad news just in the way she talks and how she interacts with different people, particularly Carrie (for a reference, see the "And the raven was called sin" scene). This woman is just evil and you see that quite clearly very early on. Would I say that she loves Carrie? Well, maybe. As much as she can love anything really. Overall I don't think so. To me their relationship is like an owner that beats his dog when he gets drunk and a loving and loyal dog. No matter how much the owner beats the dog, the dog still is loyal and loves his master. But eventually it'll go too far and I'm sure most of you know what that entailed in the film.
The rest of the cast does an excellent job as well, but it is really their show. (although, I didn't like Travolta too much in this one) The acting was pretty solid all around. 10/10
Plot: Based off of a Stephen King book, among the main themes of this film are teen angst and High School experiences (negative ones) along with a supernatural King twist to it. The plot starts off like a lot of teen angst movies: it establishes the social order by showing us who the wolves are and who is at the bottom of the social ladder. You also see that Carrie is considered unimportant by her teachers and principals as well (with one exception). Then you see that Carrie is abused by people just walking home from school. Then she gets it from her mother. The whole feel of the film, to me, reflects Carrie's feelings at the time. At the beginning it's quieter and more subdued and by the end, when Carrie is out of control the feel of the film is out of control too. It is a plot that is extremely well done. 9.5/10
Screenplay: Pretty good screenplay here. They did a good job with Margret's lines in particular. They gave her a lot of good fire and brimstone lines for Piper Laurie to work with. See, one of the main keys to stellar acting is a screenplay that is easy to work with. I enjoyed the screenplay very much. It added to the quality of the film unlike many other horror films where the screenplay detracts from it. 9/10
Likableness: This is an outstanding film that I would highly suggest to anyone. Horror fan or not. The outstanding performances (which resulted in Oscar nominations for Spacek and Laurie who both lost out to people in Network) alone make this a great film but it has more to it than that. It was highly enjoyable. If you haven't seen it, go watch it! 10/10
Final Score: 38.5/40 96% (N)
TRIVIA TIME: 1. Sissy Spacek wasn't considered for the role of Carrie until her husband, art director Jack Fisk, convinced director Brian De Palma to allow her to audition. For her screen test, Sissy Spacek rubbed Vaseline into her hair and didn't bother to wash her face. She also wore a sailor dress (which her mother had made for her when she was in the seventh grade) with the hem cut off.Until that, De Palma was wedded to the idea of Amy Irving playing Carrie; when Spacek got the part instead, De Palma gave Irving the smaller role of Sue.
2. The name of the high school is Bates High, a reference to Norman Bates from Psycho. In addition, the four note violin theme from Psycho is used over and over in the film.
3. Initially, P.J. Soles was only cast for two weeks, but after she hit Sissy Spacek over the head with her red baseball hat during the volleyball scene, Brian De Palma decided to keep her around longer.
4. The pig's blood dumped on Sissy Spacek was karo syrup and food coloring, although she was willing to have real blood dumped on her. The fake blood dropped on Sissy Spacek kept drying and adhering to her skin because of the hot lights. The only solution was to hose her down when the substance got gluey.
5. George Lucas and Brian De Palma held a joint audition for Carrie and Star Wars). There is a long-standing rumor that originally, Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie, but when Fisher refused to appear in nude scenes and Spacek was willing to do them, they switched parts. However, Fisher refuted this story in a Premiere magazine article called "The Force Wasn't With Them," about actors who auditioned unsuccessfully for Star Wars. That article quoted Fisher as saying, "Not only do I love being nude, I would've been nude then... But anyway, it's total bullshit that Fisher refused to play Carrie." Also, Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell, originally read for the part of Princess Leia, and William Katt, who played Tommy Ross, originally read for the part of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
6. Nancy Allen claims that she never realized that her character was going to be so evil until she saw the finished film, she thought that she and John Travolta were playing such self-centered, bickering morons that they were there for comic relief. Piper Laurie also thought that the character of Margaret White was so over the top that the film had to be a comedy.
7. In Carrie's house, the statue of a religious figure shot with arrows represents St. Sebastian. It is not a crucifix and does not represent Jesus Christ.
8. Stephen King based Carrie White on two girls he knew while at school, both were social outcasts from deeply religious families and both died while still in their twenties though only one of them was a classmate of his. Prior to the publication of Carrie King had been an English teacher. The second girl who inspired Carrie was one of his students.