31 Favorites #25: Carrie


Carrie Carrie Carrie. When you really think about this film, it's pretty messed up. Carrie also rhymes with scary. Which totally makes sense because this is one of the first horror movies that ever scarred me in my youth.

Carrie is a 17-year old teen who is mercilessly teased and tormented by both her schoolmates and her religious zealot of a mother. She's shy, has no friends to speak of, and is overall a sad misunderstood creature. It also turns out that she has telekinetic powers!!! (Wait, what....???)

As part of an elaborate and cruel prank, a few of Carrie's classmates decide to rig the voting for prom king and queen to ensure that Carrie and her pity date, Tommy, win. What happens next is one of the most iconic moments in horror film history. As Carrie stands on the school stage, beaming from the excitement of being named queen, a bucket of pig's blood is poured down on her from the rafters above.

At that point? Carrie loses her shit.

Things catch on fire. People are pinned under object. Cars flip over and crash. And lots of people die. Lots and lots and lots. Because Carrie is tired and isn't gonna take it anymore. Do not screw with Carrie.

As triumphant as Carrie's revenge on all of her bullies seems on the surface, there's a streak of sadness and a helter skelter quality to the whole things that absolutely paralyses me in fear. This is a woman who has completely snapped, who is no longer in touch with reality, and who is completely out of control. Have you ever gotten so angry that you just react without thinking? And afterwards you barely remember how you arrived at that level of anger? Well, I feel like at that moment in the film, the same things happens to our sweet Carrie. She doesn't even seem to have a self-awareness about what she's doing - as she destroys everything around her, she appears to go into a trance-like state. There's a little bit of Carrie in all of us, and that's part of what makes the film so terrifying.

Three Things I Love About It:

  1. Some of the most chilling moments from the film have stuck with me for decades - the smile of peace, almost ecstasy, that Carrie's mom exhibits after being crucified in the doorway; Carrie's wide blue eyes staring out from beneath a wash of pig's blood, the end dream sequence...it all still manages to give me the chills when I think about it. 
  2. Sissy Spacek's transformation from meek teen to unstoppable killing force is amazing to witness. Both she and Piper Laurie (who played her mother) were nominated for an Academy Awards. 
  3. I love the questions that the film raises about the nature of evil, and what we consider monstrous.