Monday, November 5, 2012

Carrie Book/Movie Review

Rating: 4

Hi everyone!  Please start commenting at anytime prior to and after our discussion time. :)
Trying something new where I am going to post my review here and then at our discussion we can share our thoughts and questions together.

The first time I saw the 1976 film was over 20 years ago.  I only saw it in bits and pieces and it scared me!  Sissy Spacek was amazing, but I'll come back to her.
Funny thing is after I read the book, the film didn't seem quite as scary.  I'm blaming the cheesy porno music and high school locker room scene at the beginning and other parts of the score that just did not fit a "horror" film theme.  Honestly, when I watched the film last week, I was laughing through the first five minutes thinking, "How can this be a horror movie! hahaha!!!  it's a friggin' porno!"

Ok, so let's back up to the book.  Carrie is considered YA (Young Adult) and looking at the story, I can see why.  Plus it is a very short story.  There really is so much discuss so I look forward to that conversation with all of you.  :)

I think what lacked in the film was the intensity that King writes.  Also, there are POVs and personal thoughts that added so much to the story.  The book is written in flashback form.  We go in and out of Carrie's life and death with journal entries from Sue Snell, articles on telekinesis, and witness accounts. It's very well done in my opinion.  The film does a suitable job giving us some back history to Carrie, but not enough.  In the book, we see events in her childhood and given more of her experiences in high school that help you better understand why she is such an outcast and bullied person.  In the film, you get none of that.  You don't know why all the girls hate Carrie and make fun of her...they just do.

Something that bothered me, and I have commented on this elsewhere, is the distinct difference in the appearance of Carrie in the book and film.  In the film, Carrie is a thin, plain but pretty girl.  In the book she is chubby with major acne.  I don't know why they didn't stay true to the book.  And looking at the new film with Chloe Moretz, she still doesn't look like book Carrie.  Part of the reason she is picked on relentlessly is not just her extreme behavior, but her looks.

Anyway...moving on.

Things I really liked about the book:

1) Stella Horan's (neighbor) account of Carrie around age 3.  You learn about her crazy wack-a-doodle-relgious nut mother.  It also gives us the first glimpse of her telekinetic powers.  She throws a huge, solid dining room table out the window and the house is bombarded by hale and rocks.  And it's only their house, no one else's in the neighborhood.  I can't summarize it and give it justice.  it's a great flashback.  They tried to incorporate the rocks into the film, but they just couldn't afford it and get it right.

2) Carrie.  You really get to experience her sadness, lonliness, longing to be normal, and absolute murderous anger.  Bullying online, at school, work, etc...has become such an epidemic and will be addressed in our discussion.  I think of all those who are bullied or have been bullied and the thoughts that go through their heads regarding those who torment them.

3) Margaret White's death.  it's not nearly dramatic as in the film (which is pretty cool by the way) but I thought it was great.  Slow and knowing.  In the book Margaret is spouting biblical crap at her daughter while Carrie is telling her mom that she is slowing her (Margaret) heart more and more until it finally just stops.  In the film she gets attacked by knifes, carrot slicers and other utensils and ends up pinned to the door.  She ends up just like the scary Jesus on the Cross figurine in Carrie's "closet".  yeah much more drastic, but I liked the book version.

4) Carrie's destruction of the town, not just the high school.  I also thought it was terrific how she was able to get into the minds of the townsfolk.  Most who had never met her, knew it was her that was doing all the destroying and chaos.  From what I have gathered, the 2013 version will stay closer to the book in this aspect.

5) Margaret White.  That woman is bat-shit crazy.

 Pardon my s-bombs, but it's true.  That woman is a freak show and I know there are many like her out in this world.  Carrie was loosely based on a student of King's.  Her mom was a total religious nut case.  The girl ended up committing suicide later in life.  Anyhoozles, in the book King gives us another great physical description where Mrs. Straightjacket has strong, powerful arms and shoulders because she lifts heavy equipment at the laundry where she works.  Piper Laurie seemed to fit the crazed, powerful mom bit.  I'm holding out for Julianne Moore.  I think she is a terrific actress and will "nail it", but again why can't we stay closer to book descriptions when they are so apparent!!!

6) And lastly, Carrie's last moments with Sue Snell.  I really liked Sue.  She turned out to be a great person and I like that after Carrie realizes what she's done and how she has killed her mom, she has someone with her in her final moments.  Poor girl needed a friggin' break!  Carrie got into Sue's mind and showed her everything "they" had ever done to her.  It's an incredible moment for Sue and once Carrie has died in her arms, she becomes so violently ill and starts taking off running.

There is only one thing I really like about the film:

Sissy Spacek.  She did a great job.  A fantastic job as Carrie!  And wow, she really creeped me out in the prom scene.  With her fine features, wide eyes, red blood coating her and her murderous glare, I can't imagine a scarier Carrie.

Here is Chloe as Carrie.  Not as scary, but I'm hoping to be wrong. 
I'm only looking at a still, not a final product.

I also thought the gym Prom scene before all hell breaks loose was a beautiful build up.  Carrie arrives with Tommy and he treats her so well.  She looks beautiful and you can tell she is letting her guard down a bit at a time and really enjoying herself.  I think this scene was crucial and played out beautifully.  It allows Carrie to draw even further into herself and mentally snap when she gets the pig blood.  

"They're all going to laugh at you!  They're all going to laugh at you!"

p.s. Sue Snell does NOT show up at the prom in the book.

If you have not seen the 1976 version, go rent it.  It's still a great film even though I for one like the book better.  It's just creepier.  I don't know why we have to have another remake of a classic, but I have high hopes for the 2013 film.  I'm sure I have forgotten something, but that's what our discussion is for.  :)

I leave you with the teaser trailer for this spring's remake:


  1. Paris, I know you have some issues with Carrie. I was wondering if you could share what bugs and annoys you. :)

  2. Its not the storyline of the movie but the dissection of it. I can't watch Carrie anymore without dissecting the entire movie and i dislike doing that.

    1. Ok, now u have me really interested. What was it about the film you were dissecting? The characters? Transitions?

  3. From our reader Jess:

    Being a huge Stephen King fan I was thrilled to read Carrie since it was his first book. And he did not dissapoint. I give this a 4. It was a really great book. I especially loved the background about TK. How real and scientific it sounded. But most of all I loved how structured the characters were. They had very presise backgrounds. I felt so bad for Carrie though. Mainly because you know that even though the book is fiction there is somewhere out there people, kids who are going through what Carrie did. A Radical religious parent(s) who shelter their children so much that the outside world is feared to them. And they are bullied as well. But being a female who has been teased in school before I related to Carrie who didnt know what she did wrong but took it. Females imo are some of the WORST bullies because we are emotionally driven and we go for the insicurities psycaloical route. Unlike males go the physical route. And ontop of that she has the
    craziest batshit freak for a mother!

    1. Jess, you bring up some great points:

      1) Radical parents: I read about the starved adopted 8 year old. His parents seemed extremely wacko and kept the kids at home and such.
      Have you ever known someone who belonged to a group like this or acted in such a way?

      2) Bullying. Why do you think girls seem to be the worst? Why does it always seem girls are out to get one another? Were you ever bullied growing up?

  4. Jess,

    I got the feeling that Carrie was actually a very sweet girl. The kind that pushes everything down until she can't take it anymore (Prom) and it's like an out of body, cleansing of the hatred and anger experience.

    What did you think of Piper Laurie as Margaret? Did you think she gave the book mother justice?

  5. From Jess continued:

    And what kind of mother thinks your period only comes if you are a sinner! I mean REALLY? How completly confusing and messed up would you turn out? I would kill my town too! Her mother scared me. Mainley because I know there are actual people like that. Who use bogas reasons to control their children. And It works. Brainwashing is real. And religion imo is one of the GREAT reasons people use as an exscuse to control. So sadly Carrie was a innocent girl whos mother made her skiddish and so inside herself ONLY because periods are evil. SEX is evil. I mean sick but people out there believe it. The other characters were nice to read about too. Tommy was sweet. And I think he really liked Carrie. I hated Chris and Billy. How horrible Chris was I mean REALLY. What a little spoiled brat who clearly hates herself to be so terrible to others! Carrie wasnt her first. She was a Bully to others. SICK. I am glad she died. And Billy was a waist of human life. WHO kills pigs and likes it? I
    HATED that part in the movie but more in the book. AND THE way he slaps her. I mean I know it was the 70s so different but REALLY? What a dumb redneck man who gets sexual thrills by hitting his woman! Gross. Sue I came to like. But when Carrie had already blown up everyone she screamed CARRIE WHITE DID IT! Um ok no really they deserved it. The one part that scared me was when Carrie was smiling when she killed everyone. It was creepy. I mean wow. Overall I liked the book. The movie was great and better in parts but the book described it better. Her death made more sense. But again I love Stephen King.

  6. Chris was a b-yotch! But even more in the movie.

    What I liked about the book as far as prom is that you experienced towns people who were witnessing the destruction. Reading it from their perspective was great. I think even better than reading it from Carrie's.

    What do you think about the remake that's to be in theaters this spring?

  7. Jess's responses to my list of questions:

    Question 1. I have actually known parents who are so radical and overbearing to their kids. A guy I dated his parents were crazy religious. He had horrible health problems but because of his religion he wasnt aloud to take meds or help from doctors because they thought satan controlled the hospitals with money. They hated me too I was a harlot trying to take their sinless son away to the darkness! MWHAHA! Neways granted they werent as bad as Carries mom but still they told me God told them things. So take that as you will. I think people like anyone can take anything to a WHOLE notha level and make it crazy.

    Question 2. Its not that girls are the worst. I think girls and guys who bully are bad neway. But girls again are emotional creatures. We go after what WE know hurts us. Our looks. Our friends. Our emotions ect. Girls get down deep with bullying. Like use shit against us that happend like 100 years ago. Guys are physical yes make fun
    of that dude cuz he looks weird or hit him. But girls
    Their words can be worse then hitting. They go down deep with words that can legit change ur thinking. Its sick really. Yes I have been bullied. 5TH grade through 8th was horrible. I was called names by a boy who was aweful to me. Cuz I was the new kid. But I had a friend who I thought liked me. But I found out she said shit about me. And that hurt worse then what that boy said. It was stuff she used against me. I think as woman we are always comparing eachother or in compitition. We check woman out more then men. THATS a actual fact. We try to bring eachother down to make us be on top again! Brings it back to the emotional traits we have.

    Question 3. Piper WAS Carries mom so perfectly. Even better then the book. That woman scared me for years. I saw her on the Faculty the other day and she still freaks me out. AMAZING actress. Carries mom could not have been played better.

    Question 4. I am NOT a remake person. I find people who remake SOME classics
    horrible. So thats another movie I wont be seeing.

  8. Great review. I love this movie, but for a good part of it, I was plain bored. It didn't seem particularly exciting. But once that scene came, the rampage, I was hooked. Carrie creates one of the creepiest/eeriest scene ever.

    I actually talk about that scene in depth in my review. I would love it if you had the time to check it out and give me some feedback.

    1. HMM!

      Thank you for your comment! I will check out your review! What do you think about the newest version coming out?