Friday, April 26, 2013

A Tribute to Great Film: Carrie (1976)

I have to start by saying I am not a huge fan of the horror genre, but the original Carrie is not a horror film, but rather more of a thriller.  The film centers around Carrie White an outcast in high school, who is not only abused by her peers, but her mother is abusive as well.  Throughout the film Carrie discovers she has telekinesis, and with determination she can move things with her mind.  After a prank gone wrong Carrie's peers are punished, but they decide to get back at her, but Carrie's powers take things to a different level.

Carrie the film is a blending of two great minds, the author of the book Stephen King, and the director of the film Brian DePalma.  While versions are similar King's book deals more with the telekinesis as it relates to the horror genre, there are a few more survivors, and the aftermath is major part of the book warning against bullying.  In today's society more children should read this book, as a testament to the power of their actions.

DePalma's film version is one of those classic under rated films.  In a time and place and genre which can be sorely overlooked.  Horror/thrillers often are not taken seriously enough.  DePalma's work is a stroke of the visual manipulating the situation to be a simple story, that becomes so much more.  DePalma knows how to bring the visuals and technical aspects of his films to life, but Carrie may be his crowning achievement.  The cinematography and score always stand out.  Mario Tosi's cinematography captures color, and shading brilliantly highlighting the dark, and shadows well.  From the moment the pigs blood is dropped and the screen splits in that concluding scene the power of the cinematography takes over.  The cinematography is not the only thing, but the score from Pino Donnagio sets one of the haunting and ominous tones.  In a thriller the score is one of the most important elements, and Donnagio lets gives this film one creepy vibe.

Two of the other important pieces of this film are Carrie played superbly by Sissy Spacek and her mother Margaret White the genius Piper Laurie.  In lesser hands Carrie could have been this angst ridden teenager, but Spacek is so subtle and brilliant, while also being frightening that she nails ever level of this performance.  Laurie Margaret who was a religious zealot is scary on a different level; she terrifies you, yet makes you feel sad for her and her past.  Laurie is a talented actress, and while there are times I think the performance is a little over dramatic, but then I see people like her in the news, and realize she hit this character out of the park.  Carrie only had two Oscar nominations, for both tese ladies, but Spacek actually won the Best Actress prize at the National Society of Film Critics.

Carrie has had a lasting impact, the film was made into a Broadway musical in 1989, there was a sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 (only Amy Irving returned), and now there is a remake on its way this year with Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) and Julianne Moore, the respective mother daughter roles.  While the film release this year has potential nothing can ever reach the quality of the original, or be as lasting of an image in the thriller genre as this film.

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