Running Time: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English); Dolby Digital Mono (French)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French
Region: 1
MSRP: $19.99

Own It!
Carrie (1976)

Carrie White is perhaps one of the loneliest characters in American cinema. Constantly flinching and painfully shy, Carrie has been sheltered all of her life by an unstable mother (Piper Laurie) who twists religion to enable her own self-loathing, something she tries to instill in her daughter. Carrie begins with the famous "Carrie gets her period" locker room scene. Her classmates pelt her with tampons and chant "plug it up." Frighteningly ignorant, Carrie thinks she's dying and works herself into a frenzy. A light bulb bursts, signaling Carrie's first unintentional foray into telekinesis. The entire movie encompasses the repercussions of this scene. Not only does the onset of Carrie's menstruation release her powers and lead to rebellion against her mother's yoke, it also makes Carrie both the pet project of another girl and the gym teacher, and the target of the local Cruel Kids (tm), essential to any teenage underdog story. The infamous prom revenge scheme, in which John Travolta helps his girlfriend dump a bucket-o-blood on prom queen Carrie, is the straw that breaks Carrie's back. Surprisingly tame carnage ensues.

It's really easy to dismiss Carrie as a cheesy horror film. The image of Sissy Spacek, covered in pig's blood, telekinetically wreaking havoc at the prom is, like Freddy's knives or Jason's mask, iconic. What I had forgotten, and what is so deceptive about relegating it to cult horror status, is that it's a truly heartbreaking story, thanks largely to Sissy Spacek's painful vulnerability and chameleon-like beauty.

The sound is excellent. The effect used when Carrie throws her mother on the bed seems to come from inside your own head. Although the titles are a bit pixelated, the print itself is excellent. External day shots of the White home are overlit and washed out, but it seems intentional (blinding purity on the outside, dark oppression on the inside). The colors are crisp and the print itself is like new.

The only extras are the lame theatrical trailer and a trivia booklet. Considering who was involved with this picture (Brian DePalma, Stephen King, Sissy Spacek, William Katt, Amy Irving, P.J. Soles, John Travolta), interviews, bios, and behind the scenes footage would have been nice. With the upcoming price break on the DVD, I'm guessing they'll do a 25th anniversary special edition next year.

Lisa McInnis, 6/6/2000