SCREENING IN NEW YORK THIS WEEKEND, TOP HORROR FILMS, ETC., ETC.
Brian De Palma's Carrie will screen Saturday night as part of the Film Society Of Lincoln Center's "Scary Movies 4" series in New York this weekend. In the meantime, the film has been mentioned in numerous top horror lists the past couple of weeks, so here is a rundown:
As part of its Film Season 2010, The Guardian has chosen Carrie as the 24th best horror film of all time. The paper's Phelim O'Neill states, "Thanks to [Sissy] Spacek and De Palma, this is one horror film that's as likely to make you cry as it is to make you scream (and it will definitely make you jump, no matter how many times you rewatch that scene)." Wired asked the gang from Fangoria to name the 25 best horror films of all time, and of course Carrie made the un-numbered list. Here is what they said about De Palma's film:
Chris Alexander: Sad, stylish and shocking Brian De Palma-directed melodrama improves upon Stephen King's novel and offers a revelatory performance by Sissy Spacek as a tormented teen cursed with telekinesis. Moving Pino Donnagio score and a head-spinning last reel (and final shot!).
Michael Gingold: Thanks to King and De Palma, countless people don't feel so bad about how their own proms went.
Bekah McKendry: This movie offered a shockingly real depiction of what it is like for girls to come of age in sexually repressive environments ... minus the telekinesis, which, if I had possessed it during my teen years, I would have used to mentally smack up bitches left and right.
Sam Zimmerman: I've always been oddly attracted and emotionally drawn to tales of damaged female protagonists, and that can probably be traced back to my extreme love of this film. (P.S. You should see its contemporary spiritual soul mate, May, starring Angela Bettis and directed by Lucky McKee. It's marvelous.)
Greatbong includes Carrie on his list of top 10 horror movies, opining, "What makes Carrie for me a cut above the more famous Exorcist is that while the latter’s shock value lies in its depiction of religious blasphemy (personally which left me cold), Carrie is unique in the way it brings out the horror of school life, the relentless cruelty shown by the cool kids to those socially awkward, a reflection of the essential sadism of human nature." And finally, Obsessed With Film's Dan Owen places Carrie at number 8 in his top 10 horror movies list, stating that "Brian De Palma’s seminal horror is a brilliant piece of work, probably because it takes its time getting you into the mindset of the bullied Carrie."
SPLIT SCREEN AS "CINEMATIC MEAT GRINDER"
One of the best of the recent essays about Carrie was posted by Bryce Wilson at Things That Don't Suck. Wilson writes, "One of the things that has always set De Palma aside from his New Wave contemporaries like Scorsese, Coppolla, Friedkin and even Altman, is here is a man with absolutely no love nor nostalgia for the Catholic Church. It’s not the last bastion of moral clarity; it’s a breeding ground for lunatics." Wilson adds that "never before or since has De Palma’s virtuosity blended so unobtrusively with his subject matter," and uses the split screen sequence as an example:
Take the infamous split screen finale. What has to be the best use of split screen in De Palma’s career (and thus by extrapolation, maybe the best use of the split screen ever). Here he turns it into a kind of cinematic meat grinder. A meat grinder that runs on for a subjective eternity before it finally ends. Perhaps the finest thing I can say about it, is that I always forget that it is inter cut with non split screen shots until I actually watch it.
Daniel Montgomery, apparently viewing the film for the first time, states, "At the outset I expected a revenge fantasy, but the film surprises by how sad it is. There is no vicarious thrill in watching Carrie take her revenge after being humiliated at the prom, because wee see that not all of her victims are guilty. Some were trying to help her. Two classmates seem to have been involved in the plot all along but are revealed to have been sincere, which compounds the tragedy. Their act of kindness was one act too late."
THE LOVED ONES DIRECTOR DIRECTLY INFLUENCED BY CARRIE
Clint Morris at Australia's What's Playing interviewed Sean Byrne, the writer/director of The Loved Ones, who says he was inspired by De Palma's film, among others (including Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre). "The horror films from the 70’s and 80’s are just balls to the wall fun," Byrne told Morris, "and I just wanted to recreate that experience. I was especially inspired by Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and Brian De Palma’s Carrie, as well as Misery and Tarantino and Lynch." Discussing the Australian humor of his new horror film, Byrne told Morris, "I think it’s got its own distinctly wild Australian sense of humour," but then added that "its roots definitely lay with the classic American Cabin in the Woods and Prom movies."