CARRIE (1976) Reviews and overview

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Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Brian DePalma (SistersThe FuryDressed to Kill) from a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King. It stars Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and Amy Irving.

It was the first of several Stephen King novels to be made into movies for screen and TV: it also introduced young stars who would later be famous, except for Piper Laurie, who had already made several films.

The movie was a major success for United Artists, grossing $33.8 million at the US box office, on a budget of $1.8 million. It received a mostly positive response from critics.

The film spawned a failed sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 and a fairly well-received made for television film, released in 2002, neither of which involved De Palma. A remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie White was released in October 2013.

On 11 December 2017, Arrow Video released Carrie in the UK as a Limited Edition Blu-ray.

Buy Blu-ray:

  • 4K restoration from the original negative
  • High Definition (1080p) presentation
  • DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and uncompressed 1.0 mono soundtracks
  • Optional subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Commentary by Lee Gambin, author of Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo, and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Cultographies: Ms. 45 and Devil s Advocates: Suspiria, recorded exclusively for this release
  • Brand-new visual essay comparing the various versions and adaptations of Carrie across the years
  • Alternate title sequence created for network television screenings
  • Acting Carrie, archive featurette containing interviews with director Brian De Palma, actors Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt and others
  • More Acting Carrie, additional cast interviews with Laurie, Katt, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, Edie McClurg and P.J. Soles
  • Visualising Carrie: From Words to Images, archive featurette containing interviews with De Palma, writer Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch and art director Jack Fisk
  • Singing Carrie: Carrie the Musical, archive featurette on the stage musical adaptation of King s novel
  • Writing Carrie, an interview with writer Lawrence D. Cohen
  • Shooting Carrie, an interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi
  • Cutting Carrie, an interview with editor Paul Hirsch
  • Casting Carrie, an interview with casting director Harriet B. Helberg
  • Bucket of Blood, an interview with composer Pino Donaggio
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, a look back at the locations of Carrie
  • Gallery
  • Trailer
  • TV spots
  • Radio spots


Buy Blu-ray:

On October 11, 2016 Scream Factory released a Blu-ray with the following features:

  • 4K Scan Of The Original Negative
  • Interviews With Writer Lawrence D. Cohen, Editor Paul Hirsch, Actors Piper Laurie, P.J. Soles, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Edie McClurg, Casting Director Harriet B. Helberg And Director Of Photography Mario Tosi
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Film’s Original Locations
  • Acting Carrie – Interviews With Actors Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Priscilla Pointer and P.J. Soles And Art Director Jack Fisk And Director Brian De Palma
  • Visualizing Carrie – Interviews With Brian De Palma, Jack Fisk, Lawrence D. Cohen, Paul Hirsch
  • A Look At “Carrie: The Musical”
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Carrie Franchise Trailer Gallery
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery – Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos
  • Stephen King And The Evolution Of Carrie Text Gallery

Socially outcast teenage girl Carrie White discovers she possesses latent psionic power which seems to flare up when she becomes angry or otherwise distressed. Carrie’s powers become apparent after her humiliation by her peers, teachers, and abusive mother, eventually resulting in tragedy…


Carrie is the film that launched a thousand Stephen King movies (well, it feels like a thousand), made Sissy Spacek into a film star, dragged Brian De Palma (briefly) into the Hollywood elite and gave John Travolta his first break. It’s a bona fide horror classic that takes King’s story of a bullied, telekinetic misfit and polishes it – King’s book has a generally unattractive and somewhat central character, but De Palma, once again following in the footsteps of Hitchcock (who had changed the fat, middle-aged Norman Bates of Robert Bloch’s Psycho into Anthony Perkins), offers us the fragile, tragic Spacek as his title character, immediately making her awful life something that we can sympathise with. Bullied at school, abused by a religiously fanatical mother (a fantastic performance from Piper Laurie), Carrie is possessed of powers that she barely understands, but increasingly learns to use against her oppressors – when she finally seems to have found acceptance, one final act of bullying pushes her over the edge and leads to a bloody, apocalyptic finale.

It’s hard to pick holes in this film: De Palma is at his best creatively, bringing a visual slickness to the film but sensibly allowing the story to take centre stage until the explosive climax; the performances are uniformly excellent; Pino Donaggio’s score is perfect. Despite my personal aversion to stories that feature bullies prominently (unfortunately Carrie’s final revenge comes too late), there is no denying the quality of this movie, or the potency of it. It’s a film that has been imitated many times (and had unfortunate remakes and sequels, none of which are worth a damn), yet it still stands out as one of the horror greats of the 1970s. If, for some reason, you haven’t seen it, check it out post-haste.carrie-sissy-spacek

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

Carrie is a classic worthy of a place in the library of any film fan (and not just horror aficionados). Arrow’s set is absolutely gorgeous and impressively exhaustive. Another must-buy from the company.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema


“Sissy Spacek’s performance is so believably vulnerable and winning that it makes up for a lot later when the action shifts weakly to her fellow students’ machinations […] The famous pig blood scene is an extended (but mechanical) Hitchcock moment…” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide


Buy Blu-ray:

“The style and imagery are strictly primary in the Freudian sense: menstrual blood and spotless ball dresses, Cinderella dressed up for the abbatoir. But the fierce sympathy it extends to its unfashionable central character puts the film a million miles above the contemporary line in sick exploitation.” David Pirie, The Time Out Film Guide

Buy Blu-ray:

Cast and characters:

  • Sissy Spacek as Carrie White
  • Piper Laurie as Margaret White
  • Amy Irving as Sue Snell
  • William Katt as Tommy Ross
  • Betty Buckley as Miss Collins
  • Nancy Allen as Chris Hargensen
  • John Travolta as Billy Nolan
  • P. J. Soles as Norma Watson
  • Sydney Lassick as Mr. Fromm
  • Stefan Gierasch as Principal Morton
  • Priscilla Pointer as Mrs. Snell
  • Harry Gold as George Dawson
  • Doug Cox as The Beak
  • Noelle North as Frieda Jason
  • Michael Talbott as Freddy DeLois
  • Edie McClurg as Helen Shyres


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