The movie Carrie (1976) is a supernatural horror film directed by Brian De Palma, adapted from Stephen King’s 1974 epistolary novel of the same name. The film stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a shy 16-year-old who is constantly mocked and bullied at school[¹]. Carrie lives with her fanatically religious and unstable mother Margaret, and is a loner, often bullied by her peers[¹].
When Carrie experiences her first period in school, she panics, having never been told about menstruation[¹]. Her classmates laugh at her, throwing tampons and sanitary pads at her, until the gym teacher, Miss Collins, intervenes¹. This event leads to her classmates being punished. One of those students, self-absorbed Chris Hargensen, vows revenge against Carrie for that punishment[²]. Another student, the popular Sue Snell, begins to feel sorry for Carrie[²].
In wanting to help her get out of her shell, Sue asks her boyfriend, the equally popular Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the senior prom instead of her. This move does not sit well with Mrs. White, who in her extreme view believes Carrie will fall prey to sin. All these competing issues lead to Carrie deciding on an impulse to use a newfound skill to free herself from the figurative chains that have long been placed around her, with tragic consequences[²].
The movie Carrie (1976) is a story of a troubled and lonely high-school girl who is mercilessly bullied to the point where she wreaks vengeance against her tormenters by using powers of telekinesis[¹][⁶].
- Sissy Spacek as Carrie White
- Amy Irving as Sue Snell
- William Katt as Tommy Ross
- Nancy Allen as Chris Hargensen
- John Travolta as Billy Nolan
- Betty Buckley as Miss Collins
- P. J. Soles as Norma
When Sissy Spacek was preparing for her character, she isolated herself from the rest of the ensemble, decorated her dressing room with heavy religious iconography and studied Gustave Doré’s illustrated Bible.
Nancy Allen claims she never realized her character was going to be so evil until she saw the finished film.
In the last scene of the film, Amy Irving’s outburst so terrified her real-life mother Priscilla Pointer, that she screamed out “Amy” instead of “Sue”.
According to a review on Ghouls Magazine, “While Carrie is memorable for its shocking moments (and the truly terrifying faces of Piper Laurie), the feeling that lingers after the film is one of utter sadness.”.
A review on Tor.com: “Part of the reason Carrie had such an impact is because of how, for all its fantastical trappings, it was rooted in things very real, mundane, and human as well—things that we could all, in one way or another, recognize as part of our own experiences.[³].
Horror Obsessive: “Carrie uses supernatural abilities to explore the timeless and relatable themes of adolescence, bullying, and being an outcast. Carrie’s telekinetic powers can be a metaphor for the anger and psychological trauma caused by abuse. “.