Sixteen year old Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a timid high school student. She lives with her obsessively religious mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). Margaret is insane. Carrie has just entered puberty and while in Gym class gets her period. Her mother never explained to her what a period was. When Carrie starts to bleed she freaks out thinking she is dying. The other girls in her class start taunting her. The gym teacher Miss Collins (Becky Buckley) sends the other girls away so she can calm Carrie down. Collins talks to the principal and Carrie is sent home. The school calls her mother to tell her about the incident. Carrie’s mother is fixated on the belief that menstruation is a sin. She locks Carrie in what she calls the prayer closet and makes her pray.
With her period comes her power. Carrie finds that if she thinks about it hard enough she can do things. Make things movie. She begins to read about telekinesis and with that power Carrie begins to shake off her shyness and starts to become a little more self assured.
At school the girls that taunted Carrie are put on detention for a week. Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) is a bully and refuses to do detention. Chris is suspended for three days and is not allowed to go to the school prom. Chris is furious and blames Carrie. She swears revenge and enlists her boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta) in her scheme.
In the meantime Sue Snell (Amy Irving) is feeling bad about laughing at Carrie and wants to make up for it. She convinces her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to ask Carrie to the prom. Carrie believes that it is a prank and refuses. Eventually Tommy talks her into it. Carrie’s mother rages on about sin and the devil. Carrie now fully aware of her powers, puts her mother in her place.
Chris has learned about Carrie going to the prom with Tommy. Her plan is to humiliate Carrie in front of everyone at the prom. Chris talks Billy into killing a pig at the nearby processing farm and harvesting its blood. They rig up a bucket of pig’s blood over the stage. Then they ensure, by stuffing the ballot box, that Tommy and Carrie are named prom king and queen. When the couple goes on stage to be crowned Chris puts her plan into action.
“Carrie” was released in 1976 and was directed by Brian De Palma. It is based on the book by Stephen King. “Carrie” was King’s first book ever published and the first movie ever done on his books. At one point King threw the manuscript in the wastebasket. His wife fished it out. The ending to King’s book differs from the film. King admits that he prefers the ending to the movie over his own book.
My only real complaint about the film was the scene at the prom where Carrie is dancing with Tommy. The shot during the prom scene was achieved by placing William Katt and Sissy Spacek on a platform that was revolving in one direction, while the camera was being dollied in the opposite direction. The resulting spinning effect was nauseating. Other than that the movie was good. Sissy did a good job of acting all the personalities that encompass the character. The shy girl, the pretty teenager at the prom and the psycho bitch that destroys an entire senior class. Well, they deserved it.
The statue with the arrows stuck in it in Carrie’s prayer closet is Saint Sebastian. Saint Sebastian was a Christian saint and martyr. Even though he was tied to a tree and shot with arrows he did not die. He was rescued and healed. After he recovered he went to the Roman emperor Diocletian and warned him of his sins. Diocletian had him clubbed to death. He is the patron saint of soldiers, athletes and those that want to die a saintly death.
Stephen King related a story about watching the film on opening night with his wife. When the final scene scare was shown King says, "In the row in front of us were these two huge African-American men, each weighing about 230 pounds. They were screaming like children, grabbing each other around the necks, and one said to the other. 'That's it, that's it, she ain't NEVER gonna be right!' I turned to my wife and said 'This is gonna be *huge*.'"