We're well into October now and I'm sticking with the theme. There's no better way to celebrate the closing of homecoming season than with the prom-centric 1976 supernatural horror film Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma. The water you're drinking from this spoiler well is 40 years old.
Where I'm Coming From & What I Expect
Surprise! The last movie I saw was The Exorcist, so just click to the previous entry to find out how that went. My bar for 70s horror has been raised a lot since that experience so I'm expecting to be impressed again. Both movies are from around the same time, so I imagine if Blockbuster was still around they'd be sitting within an arm's length of each other on those crappy wire shelves. You know, the shelves you could probably buy when your local Blockbuster was being stripped so bare it's a wonder you couldn't also walk out of there with the carpet.
The idea room deep inside the gold lined halls of Hollywood must just be full of tubs from those library book drives because I am batting 1.000 on the book source material scale. Household name Stephen King provides the much needed inspiration for Carrie (the movie) with the aptly titled Carrie (the 1974 novel).
Based on the cover I'm expecting blood. Lots of blood. There Will Be Blood? John Travolta is the only name I recognize but I have no idea how he fits in. Other than that, I know we're dealing with a severely sheltered girl, some bullying, and a prom where alcohol poisoning probably won't be taking the body count high score.
What I'm Bringing
Some kind of vodka/sparkling wine/lemonade mixture is making it's way to the viewing arena. Also joining is some mini zucchini loaf cake. (Note: I completely failed to dig into the loaf before the movie was over, but I would highly recommend that drink)
Well this is an unnecessary locker room intro. Apparently I forgot there was a time when no one would think twice about doing a long scene consisting mostly of slow pans across nude high school girls. Someone is taking show, don't tell, very seriously. At least there are credits to read in case anyone feels uncomfortable. Don't worry, the credits won't distract you while you watch Carrie experience her first period!
Mean Girls has nothing on these monsters, and yet I would trust every single one of these girls in a locker room setting over a certain presidential hopeful. Ah, the 70s, when you could slap a student to calm them down.
I swear I don't pay attention to smoking as much as it seems from reading these, but the principal has a fucking ashtray in his office and it looks well used. We all know you can't smoke in school anymore, but I feel like we traded faculty assisted lung disease for an equally destructive gauntlet of standardized tests.
I respect that the ultra-Christian family lives in a run down looking house. A dark and moody interior really emphases the punishment aspect of religion though. They might benefit from a bright accent wall to bring out that warm and fuzzy Jesus feeling. Also, hitting your child with a religious text either is or isn't the most Christian thing you could do, depending on who you ask. I wonder if JK Rowling was influenced at all by the works of King. Harry Potter would have been more intense if she had given him a disturbing Jesus figurine.
As cool as every kid would think it is to have the attic level as their bedroom, these living conditions fall short. It's like little house on the prairie during the red scare, except you wouldn't be too disappointed if nukes started dropping.
This gym teacher deserves a golden apple award - yelling at mean girls, punishing mean girls, smacking head mean girl. Another pan across the high school girls. At least this time they're clothed, so yay progress?. Super weird music choices going on everywhere. I feel like Twin Peaks took every scene/music mismatch cue from this movie.
I shouldn't be surprised Carrie didn't know what telekinesis is; she's 17 and didn't know about periods. The body function, not the punctuation. Her lack of knowledge appears to be selective since she knows to use the Dewey Decimal System, which might even be a stretch for many students today.
We meet Travolta and he's a dick. I keep trying to see if he's at least wearing a seat belt while chugging that beer behind the wheel. Safety first right? I thought smacking students was the most 70s part of the movie. I now know that title goes to him being able to hit his girlfriend multiple times and her making it up to him with head and garbage ADR.
Gym teacher is now losing all her empowerment points by telling Carrie she should fem it up. When your peers bully you relentlessly and you don't respect yourself the solution can usually be found in mascara and a sexier hairdo.
It's a sure sign you live in a small town when anyone from your school can figure out where you live. I'd like to think I grew up in a small community and even I didn't know where anyone lived.
The transition from this sunny day to monsoon night is just as uncomfortable as every single music choice. I guess it just conveniently provides some good cover for Travolta's crew to slaughter a pig as a hilarious prank. Not every 'prank' is a good idea (I'm not linking to any of the myriad of prank fail videos because they don't need extra views). I would suggest these hooligans learn about the classic farm town activity called cow tipping.
Carrie's house is seriously depressing. It's 1976 (or somewhere thereabouts, I would assume) and they're eating by candlelight. I don't think Jesus will cry if you flip the lights on, unless the reason for constant darkness around the White household is a concern about the electric bill. Even in this low light the darkest thing in the room is her mom's soul. It's not healthy to get this worked up and prayer crazy over your teenage daughter going to prom. Many other students have made it through this dangerous and rebellious school sponsored activity by this point. The telekinetic powers on the other hand - feel free to go nuts about that.
There is no conceivable way you can walk into a tux shop the day of prom and expect to be a happy customer. Even more insane is that they can grab a tux for $10. I can't imagine trying to snag that deal today, even adjusting for inflation.
The band motions and the dubbed in music are not a match. I get the impression the sound engineering for this entire movie was done by drug fueled college student as a class project. All of this, by the way, is less uncomfortable than her date making a lesbian joke about Carrie and gym teacher. To live in simpler times, when women just laugh off inappropriate jokes. More importantly, the male singer of this band is not matching up to the clearly female vocals I'm hearing.
It's incredibly painful to watch what seems like an eternal slow motion sequence of the long walk to the stage and applause, knowing the pig blood prank is about to come full circle. The blood drop is like a way less fun version of the Nickelodeon slime, with less prizes and more chance of blood borne infection. The most disappointing thing is the cover art gave me the impression we'd be dealing with lots of people blood, not animal blood.
All of the fun of this movie has been squashed into Carrie's five minute murder spree, and she's using every tool possible to demolish the gym, and ends up just locking everyone in to burn to death anyways. She's walking home covered in blood and it doesn't seem like anyone is passing by or noticing. I can't imagine this is a normal thing, even for a small town. The undercranked swerve the car does when mean girl and Travolta try to run her down is so awkward, like something 60s Bond movies used a lot. Exactly like that actually, since the car explosion is insane and unnecessarily huge.
Classic mom tries to stab daughter scenario, now with 100% more candle. The music is so overbearing it's really hard to pay attention or care about what's happening. At least mom's motives are pure, she's really just trying to rid the world of evil, for Jesus! Telekinetic knife throwing is kind of silly to watch now after brutally murdering a gym full of students. The blood looks like off brand kool aid and it's almost as low budget as mom's death acting.
Not sure why the house is disintegrating around them, but I know the fire is most likely from one of the five hundred candles that are lit. I didn't expect Carrie to die, and I really feel like the evil looking Jesus statue is to blame for all of this. Am I watching the house burn down, fall down, or get swallowed into the ground? Whatever it was, it left a very clean spot where the house once stood.
After seeing what The Exorcist brought for the 70s I was really expecting better than this. Slow pacing killed this movie faster than Carrie routed the whole senior class. If you haven't seen it, there's no need. Seriously, this movie sucked.