Carrie (1976)

They don’t make movies like this anymore. That much is clear in the first five minutes.

You probably know the story of Carrie, even if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book. A girl with supernatural powers is bullied and is then pitied enough to get a date to the prom. Even that works against her, and people die. My, oh my, do people die.

As the story was adapted from a debut novel, it’s not perfect. The film, at 98 minutes, is split between the setup and the actual prom night, and so there’s really not much story being told here. You get your basic story beats, and then it’s time for prom. But it’s so gruesome—it was Stephen King‘s debut, after all. It’s delightful.

Carrie was directed by Brian De Palma, and it’s not hard to tell. There is a locker room scene with bountiful nudity, a pig slaughter scene, and the blood-soaked, burning gymnasium at the end, all of which contribute to a strangely singular filmgoing experience.

Carrie’s mother is religious to the point of insanity, arguably the cruelest character of the film, and I was so thrilled to see her really get punished at the end. Like, I wanted to roar with approval. King and De Palma relish in grisly, bitter ends.

The first half of the film is fairly average, looking and feeling like every other high school movie, but it transcends all expectations by the end. This film—and I mean this in the most sophisticated of ways—is awesome.

3

Carrie is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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