31 Days of Horror: Carrie and its Adaptations

I guess I will take day 5.  But, the question is, what do I cover?  I didn’t plan on doing another 31 Days of Horror post until the 10th.  So, let’s talk about Carrie and its sequel and two remakes.  That sounds like a good topic to cover.

Carrie, of course was a book written by Stephen King and printed in 1974.  Of course, most of us know about Carrie, she has special telekinetic powers and gets pigs blood dropped on her at the prom by her bully.  Really, a good portion of the story is about Carrie being bullied, not only by girls at school, but her mother.  Which is the bases of the book and its movies, except the sequel, which really is a studio extension of the book.  Which is fine and it was inevitable, it took way longer than I expected, 23 years.

Carrie (1976)

The Brian DePalma directed Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie was possibly one of the more disturbing films I had seen, when I first watched it.  We’re talking 1991 and I was 11.  From the first scene of the girls in the shower to Carrie’s bloody show.  Sissy Spacek, owned the role.  I of course didn’t understand what the meant by “plug it up” and my mom tried to explain to me what was happening.   Watching the film today, it really looks old and kind of like one of those old sexual education videos you’d see in the 1980s.

For me, there are so many memorable scenes in the film, that really resonate and still have great affect.  Lets list some.

  • The kid on the bike yelling “creepy Carrie”.  The editing is wonderful and the scene itself it creepy.
  • When Carrie and her mother are on screen for the first time, after her Mom got the call from the school and she finds out Carrie had her period.  She starts reading from the good book, “The Raven was called sin”  The first sin was intercourse.
  • Tossing Carrie in the closet to pray.
  • Of course, the Prom itself and Carrie’s rage.
  • Then the very end with the for sale sign that reads “Carrie White Burns in Hell”.
  • Sue visiting the plot of Carrie’s house, and the hand emerges from the rubble.

As I said, Sissy Spacek made the role her own, she is one hell of an actress and she has a ghost like, almost skeletal look to here.  So, because of what she did, it has been hard to replace if ever a remake.  Carrie is a classic and is still very much a spooky movie.  Piper Laurie, what an amazing performance, I hope she does not get over looked in playing Carrie’s mother, so damn good.

The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)

This was exciting, when I saw the trailer I was actually excited.  To me, in 1999, Carrie was a horror classic and it was getting a sequel, that was cool.  It was different and to me an interesting look beyond Carrie White.

This one looks a bit deeper into Carrie’s father.  It stars Emily Bergl as Rachel, who is essentially Carrie’s half-sister.  They were able to bring back Amy Irving as Sue Snell.

I actually was excited to enough to buy the ticket to see this in the theater.  I like it, it is about what I’d expect as a sequel to Carrie.  But, it suffers in being the same movie, basically.  Rachel is an outcast, treated poorly at school and eventually gets humiliated at a party and kills everyone.  They change everything a little to make it different enough.  But, not enough.

It was a failure and it led to two remakes of the original/book.  But, I am cool with it, not terrible and not great, just nothing new to add to the story, just another Carrie.  This movie is very 90s!

Carrie (2002)

This…If this was the first adaptation of Carrie, it would be the last.  Boring, terrible casting and just so uninteresting.  I waited almost 17 years to watch this.  It was made for TV, as many Stephen King books are, but handled poorly.  We saw Salem’s Lot, The Shining and It, were all handled well…ok The Shining’s was, just ok.

To me, Carrie from 1976 never needed to be remade.  This movie was just…off.  The casting was not great, the plot was slow moving and anyone who watched the original movie, knew what was coming.  Although, there are things added, like, did I miss the meteor shower in the book or original movie?

One of the biggest issues, Carrie lives at the end of this movie.  She lives and all other versions, she dies at the end.

This movie was, unemotional, weak, it looks cheap and lacks the cinematic look.  It really looks like an indie horror film with a tiny budget.

I would pass on this, I more than likely will never watch this one again.  The 2013 version is miles better.

If I were to give it a rating, it would probably be less than 5.

Carrie (2013)

With the 2013 remake, they did do things a little differently and brought Carrie into the new millennium.  I think it was a success in ways.  While Sissy Spacek’s appearance cannot be matched, I don’t think Chloë Grace Moretz was the right choice.  I love Moretz and she as great in the film, but her look doesn’t exactly scream, outcast at all.  Most of the rest of the casting was not great and they are forgettable, every single student cast was just, blah and too pretty.

Other casting included Judy Greer, whom I love, she played Desjardin and as usual, she was wonderful.  One thing I wish that would have happened, Julianne Moore would have been a little more…Piper Laurie.  This seemed like a slam dunk and perfect casting and she was great.  But, it felt like something was missing.

Overall, I think 2013 was a good time to try to bring Carrie back.  It wasn’t different enough from the original and honestly, other than it being modernized, it wasn’t needed.  Even though I thought Moretz didn’t “look the part” she was very good.  No one can touch what Spacek brought to the role of Carrie.

The point of all of this is, Carrie 1976 is the best of the bunch of course and I hate to say, skip the Rage and Carrie 2002.  The 2013 remake does a fine job of bringing Carrie to modern times, even if the book takes place in 1979.

If there is a chance of a sequel to the 2013 film, please let it burn in hell.

If there ever is another remake, maybe tie it in with the new IT film, I think that could have opened up a complete Stephen King Universe, since most of his stories take place in Maine.  Yes, even Carrie takes place in Maine.  Chamberlain, Maine cannot be too far from Derry, right?  It would also take place prior to the events of IT (2017).  Yeah, bringing the Stephen King stories all into the same Universe would call for a lot of work, but it would be cool.  Castle Rock does a fine job of mentioning these stories.

Anyway, watch the original Carrie or the 2013 remake.

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)