Carrie: Once, Twice, Three Times A Lady

Well, after a long period of rest, relaxation, and recovery, Castle Blogferatu has once more lowered the drawbridge and flung wide the dungeon doors. How I’ve missed you, true believers! And how surprisingly tough it was to get out of that straitjacket!

Far be it from me, however, to continue with maudlin displays of sentiment. Let’s put it all behind us and carry on as if nothing ever happened, hmmm?

But what have I been up to, you ask. Most recently, I sat down for a comparative analysis of the relative merits of Carrie.

All. Three. Versions.

The things I do for you people.

Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)

Who can forget the wide-eyed Sissy Spacek going on her vengeful telekinetic rampage? Piper Laurie as a literal holy terror? A pre-Greatest American Hero William Katt? Nancy Allen and John Travolta roasted in a muscle car? And electrocuted Sydney Lassick (yep, Cheswick from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest gets shock treatment again. What are the odds)?

Stephen King even considered it “…a really good horror-suspense film, much better than the book.”

Ah, the classics.




Carrie (2002, for TV, David Next Gen/Deep Space Nine Carson)

This time the title role goes to Angela Bettis (yes, Lucky McKee’s May and Sick Girl Angela Bettis). She’s fascinating to watch. The pre-prom Carrie is like a skittish bird you’re trying to get to trust you: darting head movements, trembly, and easy to shoo away.

This iteration is surprisingly effective for TV and remains, for the most part, a bit more faithful to the source material. Carrie destroys much more of the town this time, as she does in the novel. One major departure is the ending, written apparently for the possibility of Carrie becoming a TV series (which never happened but I so would have watched).

A major difference is her relationship to her power. Spacek’s Carrie seems terrified and barely (though somewhat) in control. Bettis’s Carrie is overcome and doesn’t know what’s happened by the time she returns home. Still, this just might be my favorite of the three.

Carrie (2013, Kimberly Peirce)

Hilary Swank got Best Actress for Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (now there’s someone I’d love to have seen as Carrie at some point).

Sadly, I wanted to like this way more than I did. I mean, I liked it just fine, but it’s the least effective of the three. For one thing, it doesn’t break any significantly new ground.

That said, Spacek’s and Bettis’s Carries were substantially different in handling or not handling the psychic ability. Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carrie is in total control. We can see it in her facial expressions and hand gestures during her version of Carrie’s rampage. This time Carrie has reached the breaking point, and her face says, “Now it’s my turn, you fuckers!”

The face through the windshield shot is a nice touch too. Sigh…how I do love a big ol’ heapin’ heppin’ of bloody revenge.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t dig up anything Stephen King said about the other two versions. To be fair, I didn’t try all that hard.

And so, class, the moral: don’t fuck with the shy, awkward, strange kids.

We don’t like it.

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