Who does remember the classic prom scene in this masterpiece directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay written by Lawrence D. Cohen, adapted from Stephen King in 1976? By the mid-1970s, Brian De Palma had already spent over a decade refining his diverse influences, including Alfred Hitchcock, rock music and political satire, but “Carrie” marked his breakthrough. “Carrie” is a horror melodrama film adapted from Stephen King‘s 1974 epistolary novel of the same name, that mixes the family gothic, supernaturalism, and teen movie. 

 The film stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a shy and unpopular 16-year-old who is consistently mocked and bullied at school and lives with her religious fanatic mother Margaret. She decides to vengeance after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom and starts using her telekinetic powers. The film also features Piper LaurieAmy IrvingNancy AllenWilliam KattP. J. SolesBetty Buckley, and John Travolta in supporting roles. 

The film inaugurated De Palma’s penchant for surprise switches between fantasy and reality, as in the opening, which segues from a soft-core porn fantasia of girls showering to the fact of Carrie’s menstruation – that will set her apart as a monster from her small-minded community.

Sissy Spacek is outstanding! She has done a great job with Carrie’s performance. Her face and her body contort like a living special effect to express the unbearable contradictions of Carrie’s experience. 

All the oppression that Carrie suffers both at home (with her religious fanatic mother) and at school creates a smouldering tension that takes the form of telekinetic power. We watch with ambivalence Carrie’s revenge fantasies cross the line into uncontrolled mass murder in the classic and climactic prom scene. 

“Carrie” became critically and commercially successful, grossing over $33.8 million against its $1.8 million budget. It received two nominations at the 49th Academy Awards: Best Actress (for Spacek) and Best Supporting Actress (for Laurie). Critics and audience members alike widely cite it as the best adaptation of the novel amongst the numerous films and television shows based on the character, as well as one of the best films based on King’s publications.

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