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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"There's some shocking things in [the episode], that's for sure," Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the showrunner in charge of tonight's "Carrie, The Musical" episode of Riverdale, tells Entertainment Weekly. As The Nerdist posted earlier today, you can now watch two of tonight's musical numbers on YouTube. The episode will air tonight on the CW at 8pm eastern, and a soundtrack will be available immediately afterward.

There are a lot of articles popping up today about the episode-- here are some links:

Variety - ‘Riverdale’ Boss Breaks Down the Making of Their Musical EpisodeVulture - Why Riverdale Chose to Stage Carrie for Its Musical Episode
Entertainment Weekly review of the "note-perfect" episode
SyFyWire - Riverdale's Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says the show's musical episode was a "rite of passage"
Elite Daily - What's 'Carrie' About? 'Riverdale' Is Getting Seriously Musical With The Show
Den Of Geek! - Riverdale and The Mind-Blowing History of Carrie: The Musical
Bustle - Is 'Carrie' A Musical? 'Riverdale' Took Inspiration From An Infamous Theater Flop

Posted by Geoff at 4:15 PM CDT
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A new video posted by Think Story yesterday on its YouTube channel examines how Brian De Palma and screenwriter Lawrence D Cohen build tension within (and building up to) the prom sequence of Carrie. Breaking the sequence into three segments (Heaven, Purgatory, Hell), the video pays close attention to the characters, as well as other details in the film, and how they all build toward the tension at the heart of it.

Posted by Geoff at 11:42 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 11:32 PM CDT
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Friday, January 26, 2018
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/riverdalecarrie.jpgThe CW announced this week that the April 18th episode of its series Riverdale will feature its characters involved in a production of Carrie: The Musical. Here's how Variety's Matt Fernandez reported it a couple of days ago:
The episode will feature 11 songs and be framed as a documentary about the high school theater production filmed by Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). Entitled “A Night to Remember,” the episode will air on April 18 at 8 p.m. on the CW.

The Riverdale High Drama Department’s production of “Carrie: The Musical” is described as a “dark-yet-catchy cautionary tale exploring the gritty realities of small-town high school life.” The character of Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) serves as the show-within-the-show’s director, mixing elements from the 1974 King novel with Brian De Palma’s 1976 film adaptation, the 1988 Broadway production, the 2012 Off-Broadway revival and Kimberly Peirce’s 2013 film remake.

Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) leads the cast of the musical as Carrie White in this avant-garde production, while Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) portrays mean-girl antagonist Chris Hargensen and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) play golden-couple Sue Snell and Tommy Ross. There will also be special appearances by Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) as the gym teacher and Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) as Carrie’s mother.

Riverdale Episode 3 is called "Body Double"

Posted by Geoff at 8:18 AM CST
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Monday, October 2, 2017
Charlotte Gainsbourg's upcoming album, Rest, will be released November 17th. According to Under The Radar's Christopher Roberts, while the title track was produced by Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the rest of the album was produced by SebastiAn. Roberts writes, "A press release says Gainsbourg and SebastiAn were inspired by the music of Giorgio Moroder, as well as various movie soundtracks, 'particularly Pino Donaggio's score for Brian De Palma's '70s horror classic Carrie, Georges Delerue's music for Jean-Luc Godard's nouvelle vague masterpiece Le Mépris, as well as the unsettling ambience of films like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and Hitchcock's Rebecca.'"

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 12:49 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

In her Scores On Screen column for MUBI last week, Clare Nina Norelli examined Pino Donaggio's score for Brian De Palma's Carrie. Here's an excerpt:
It was Donaggio’s feeling that Carrie was a film concerned more with the tragedy and drama of Carrie’s existence than horror, and this sentiment is reflected in the romantic Italiana of his locker room music. Instead of commenting on Carrie’s violent trajectory in his opening theme, which many other horror composers would feel obliged to do to immediately establish an atmosphere of dread, Donaggio’s unassuming theme instead implores us to feel empathy for the lonely Carrie. The opening theme, which really is Carrie’s theme, returns throughout the film in fragments and in variation, and is heard predominantly in moments where compassion is being shown towards Carrie. In one of the film’s most tender moments, for example, Carrie’s gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) takes Carrie aside and gives her a pep talk in a bid to help build her self-esteem. In this scene, the theme is stripped down and orchestrated using instruments with a warmer tone. Carrie’s flute melody is heard once again, but instead of strings and piano being in support, the accompaniment is performed by acoustic guitar and a resonant Rhodes keyboard. Such tender orchestration allows for Miss Collins' kindness and the intimacy of the moment to be greater realized.

As well as scoring that reflects Carrie’s innocence, Donaggio’s score also highlights Carrie’s violent tendencies and supernatural abilities. In an obvious homage to Bernard Herrmann and his score for Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), Donaggio uses “stabby” string stingers whenever Carrie feels threatened and utilizes her telekinetic abilities. When she knocks the school principal’s ashtray of his desk; forces an annoying boy off his bike; throws her Mother on to the bed, a high-register string motif is heard that resembles Herrmann’s string writing in the infamous shower murder scene in Psycho. Elsewhere, the strings are used for atmospheric effect, their dissonant, sustained harmonies creating a disturbed ambience, particularly in scenes within Carrie’s home where her puritanical mother, Mrs. White (Piper Laurie), seeks to control and punish Carrie. The destructive nature of Mrs. White’s religious fundamentalism is also commented upon in Donaggio’s score. When Carrie is locked in a closet and ordered to pray for her sins after Mrs. White learns that Carrie has menstruated for the first time (the beginning of the end, in Mrs. White’s view), a church organ erupts on the soundtrack accompanied by unsettling low register, tremolo strings, implying a direct connection between Mrs. White’s fanaticism and Carrie’s telekinesis.

In the film’s climactic prom scene, Donaggio’s romantic music and dark scoring play off each other to indicate the fragmentation and eventual coalescence of the two aspects of Carrie’s psyche. Sentimental love ballads are heard (sung by Amy Irving, who plays “Sue” in the film) [ala-mod editor's note: the songs are actually sung by Katie Irving, not Amy Irving] that underscore the burgeoning love affair between Carrie and her date Tommy (William Katt). One of the songs is a version of the film’s main theme, entitled “Born to Have It All” on the film’s soundtrack release, with lyrics given to Carrie’s flute melody that convey both the romantic longing Carrie is experiencing as well as the horror that is about to take place:
You were born to touch
To want too much
Let the bodies fall
You were born to have it all

Whilst Carrie and Tommy bond, several of Carrie’s classmates are conspiring to rig the vote for prom queen and king at the school dance in order to exact a horrible prank upon her. We hear atonal disjointed strings as Norma (P.J. Soles) goes from table to table collecting votes from the prom-goers. The camera tracks her movement around the auditorium until she arrives at the stage, where Chris (Nancy Allen) and Billy (John Travolta) are waiting underneath to pull the string on a bucket of blood hanging above the stage that is intended for Carrie. As the camera moves up to reveal the bucket, we hear a fragment of Carrie’s flute melody on a sparkling glockenspiel, as if the melody was suddenly electrified, and it is cut off abruptly on a dissonant chord. It’s a warning of what is to come, that the last vestiges of Carrie’s innocence are slowly being eroded. And as Carrie and her date Tommy walk to the stage when they are announced as prom queen and king, the same interchanging of Carrie’s theme and the menacing strings occurs on the soundtrack before all hell breaks loose and Carrie can no longer remain the cowering girl she once was.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017 12:30 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Last Friday, Arrow Films announced it will release a limited edition Region B Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Carrie December 11, 2017. This comes after last year's Scream Factory edition of Carrie. New to this edition will be a commentary track 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. Gambin also recently interviewed Sissy Spacek about the film. Also new to this limited edition is a 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell, author of Devil’s Advocates: Carrie, and numerous reprints and interviews. There will also be a brand-new visual essay comparing the various versions and adaptations of Carrie across the years. The new cover art is by Laz Marquez.

Posted by Geoff at 2:31 AM CDT
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Posted by Geoff at 2:04 AM CDT
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Nate Lam, Before The Cyborgs
Brian De Palma’s Carrie Remains a Horror Classic

Where more traditional horrors films will frame the villain as monsters out to cause destruction or fulfill some psychopathic urge, Carrie sees the villain as human with redeemable qualities. As the film progresses and Carrie's telekinetic powers become increasingly violent she adopts more of an anti-hero persona than one of an actual monster. In essence you almost want her to exact her revenge on her bullies. Selling this capacity to cheer for Carrie is essential to how well the film plays out; a trait that is not as well conveyed in the 2013 remake resulting in an inferior film.

Watching this film in 2017 (40+ years after its initial 1976 release), many of the Carrie’s more graphic scenes will seem tame by today’s standards (just compare the prom scenes) but it is not the graphic horror that makes Carrie a cultural touchstone rather it is a product of its progressiveness and De Palma’s sheer brilliance behind the camera. For one, Carrie puts female characters at the forefront - something today’s films still struggle with in their representation of women - and two - Carrie addresses adolescent issues in regards to bullying and identity long before John Hughes would popularize the teen genre in the 80s.

Stephen King would go on to write many more stories after Carrie, many of which would also be adapted for the screen to varying results. He would even return to explore themes of growing up and the challenges associated with that process in works like It and The Body (the basis for Stand By Me) but Carrie stands alone as the work that showcased the beginnings of a world renowned author and what a Stephen King movie could be.

Scott Beggs, Nerdist
Every Stephen King Film Ranked

3. Carrie (1976)
The world’s introduction to King as a writer became the world’s introduction to his stories as films. Before he was a brand, he was an author with a hit, and the success of Brian De Palma’s almost surely set the blood-covered stage for King’s long career in cinema. As the castigated girl with telepathic powers, Sissy Spacek plays Carrie to squirrelly perfection, and Piper Laurie embodies irrational fury as a mother who instills a terror of natural things into the heart of her supernatural daughter. Every scene is mined for discomfort and thematic exploration, finding the nooks and crannies of a girl offered no safe haven from her life. The prom gives us the memes, but the confrontation with her mother afterward is the scene of the film, exorcising all the tiny and gargantuan demons whispered into this young woman’s soul since she had her first period in the locker room showers. That’s two riveting, appalling finales for the price of one.

Parker Bowman, Visalia Times-Delta
Ranking the best and worst Stephen King movies

“Carrie” (1976) — Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar for her titular role in this film about an awkward teen tormented by schoolmates by day and by her religious zealot mother by night. She realizes she can use her psychic powers for revenge, resulting in the split-screen prom climax scene that is synonymous with the film and is one of director Brian De Palma’s finest moments.

Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly
How Stephen King scared a generation of storytellers into existence

There were legitimately great films made from King’s novels in the early days. Brian De Palma’s sleek and stylish 1976 adaptation of King’s first novel, Carrie, helped boost the author’s profile; David Cronenberg blended his brand of psychological dread with King’s in 1983’s The Dead Zone; and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is arguably one of the finest horror films in history. (Arguing against that claim is King himself, who strongly dislikes the movie.)

Kubrick was dismissive of King in return, telling an interviewer shortly after the movie debuted that he found the novel’s ending “a bit hackneyed,” although earlier in the same conversation he had called the book “one of the most ingenious and exciting stories of the genre.”

This seemed to be the attitude of most sophisticated filmmakers toward King’s early works. There was a stiff-armed approach, an acknowledgment that something meaningful was there, but a crippling condescension toward the horror or supernatural elements, as if the directors were slumming it with material undeserving of serious thought, unless, perhaps, they could elevate it.

King’s work literally scared many good directors away. Those who fully embraced his horror tales, like the makers of TV movies and some of the schlockier pictures, often responded to King’s visceral properties but missed the cerebral.

Manuela Lazic, little white lies
Every Stephen King film adaptation, ranked

1. Carrie (1976)
It seems inevitable that De Palma and King would work together. While King the writer tends to express overblown anxieties about more or less mundane problems through grotesquely exaggerated stories, DePalma the director employs cinematic language to evoke the visceral intensity of such fears, however absurd they may seem.

When adapting Carrie, De Palma understood that King’s far fetched story of periods paranoia needed to be translated into simple yet striking images of pure horror in order to bypass ridicule. Using visual style, performance, editing, and a gorgeous soundtrack by regular collaborator Pino Donaggio, De Palma managed to introduce Carrie’s untamed magical powers into the tacky, often amusing but cruel world of high school rivalries, with shocking vigour. Carrie’s outburst is made not only terrifying, but also heartbreaking by the fact that the director let his audience get attached to her suffering at the hands of her classmates, her mother, and her puberty, before unleashing her revenge in a wordless sequence of unforgettable bloodshed.

Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Matthew Chernov, Variety
The Best and Worst Stephen King Adaptations Ranked

1. Carrie (1976)
Like a fairytale passed down for countless generations, King’s deceptively simple story about a lonely, mistreated teenage girl who unleashes her inner rage during the senior prom is so elemental and universal, it feels as though it’s been part of our collective consciousness forever. Miraculously, Brian De Palma’s dazzling film version only heightened the novel’s inherent strength. In the very first Stephen King adaptation, Oscar nominees Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie capture every tragic nuance of Carrie and Margaret White, while up-and-comers like John Travolta, Amy Irving and Nancy Allen shine in colorful supporting roles. But it’s De Palma’s unsurpassed mastery of the medium that pushes “Carrie” to the top of the list. From the languidly erotic locker room title sequence to the electrifying final jolt, “Carrie” is in a class by itself.

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
30 Minutes on: "It" (2017)

The sense of the creature's being intimately connected to the history of Derry doesn't come through as strongly as it might, though. That tends to sever the main characters from their town, minimizing the sense that an entire community has a stake in the outcome of the tale and turning it into more of a small-scaled, personal story about individuals conquering their demons by conquering an actual demon. The film treads lightly over his role in a racially motivated incident of arson in Derry's past—the burning of The Black Spot, a club frequented by black soldiers, by The Maine Legion of White Decency—and the gang of white bullies that regularly terrorizes our heroes never uses any slurs when harassing the lone black member of the Loser's Club (Mike Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs), leaving racial animosity more implied than stated. The movie also fails to connect particular horrific visions to the characters that inspired them in ways that would might them truly pop, as great setpieces in the Stephen King filmography do (the only girl in the group, Sophia Lillis' Bev Marsh, gets drowned in blood a la "The Shining" elevator not long after buying tampons in a drugstore, a vision worthy of Brian De Palma's original "Carrie," but there's little sense of the incidents being symbolically connected, a conspicuous failure for a horror movie of this type). At two hours and fifteen minutes, the movie also starts to develop a monotonous rhythm, serving up regular jolts at the ends of scenes where characters have a freaky/mysterious experience, almost always ending with Pennywise getting up in their faces or chasing them out of the room, his body shimmering and spazzing like a ghost in a Japanese horror movie.

Jordan Raup, The Film Stage
Review of It

With a more ceremonious unveiling than the other Hollywood adaptation of a Stephen King property this year, It is slickly calibrated to please its spook-hungry audience. Functioning more as a roller coaster ride of frights and humor than a dread-inducing exercise in terror, Andy Muschietti’s Mama follow-up doesn’t have the inspired vision or thematic complexity to join Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick in the pantheon of the (very few) masterful cinematic retellings of the celebrated author. However, for a Halloween precursor, there is a respectable amount of carnivalesque mischief to be found in this cinematic equivalent of a deranged jack-in-the-box.

Henry Bevan, The Flickering Myth
Remembering Carrie, the best Stephen King adaptation

The camera glides through the girls’ locker room. The girls are in various states of undress; steam from the shower creates a dreamlike quality, shrouding the scene, fogging up the lens. The camera pushes in on Carrie (Sissy Spacek) as she rubs herself with soap. It focuses on various parts of her naked body, before settling on a close up of her thighs. It lingers for longer than is comfortable as water trickles between her legs. Then, the water turns to blood.

Pino Donaggio’s sensual score starts screeching as Brian De Palma perverts the male gaze, slashing the male fantasy of female representation by showing them something they will never fully understand: menstruation. The scene becomes horrific and is indicative of Carrie, Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s debut novel, a film whose horror lies in the director’s repeated attempts of rupturing film fantasy.

With It seemingly scaring up a massive opening weekend, it is an ideal time for articles on Stephen King adaptations (timeliness equals hits, normally) and Carrie remains one of the best adaptations because of how it grounds fantasy in reality. We are not scared of Carrie because of what she can do. We are scared of Carrie because we could be her. Everyone fears being picked on, being ridiculed, and everyone dreams they’d hit back at their bullies. Carrie, with her telekinetic powers, has the power to fight back, but she chooses not to. She massacres the student body only when the bullying gets too much.

At the Prom De Palma interrupts Carrie’s, and our, dreams. The soft lighting when she becomes Prom Queen turns sharp as she kills everyone in her path, even the “nice” gym teacher gets chopped in two. The murderous rampage shies away from gratuity, and, whether or not this is because of the limitations of the time, it helps makes the film feel real. The car crash looks like something you’d see on the news, it looks mundane.

While comparing films is a cheap form of criticism, Kimberly Peirce’s adequate 2013 re-imagining leans heavily into fantasy. Her car crash is a drawn out experience, captured in slow motion with more blood, and that’s saying something. It’s overt popcorn horror actually makes the film less scary, and even though 2013 Carrie’s powers are more empowering as she actively hones them and enjoys her revenge, it lacks the emotional resonance of someone exploding when they’ve been pushed too far. Peirce’s third-act horrors are how we think we would act in her situation. De Palma’s restrained third-act horrors are how we would act.

Carrie is as grounded in reality as a film featuring telekinesis can be. Carrie’s telekinetic bursts are surprising because they are not the story, they are the fantastical punctuation marks in her toxic reality. The story is concerned with bullying, sex education (lack of), and patriarchal domination; timeless themes and problems we still haven’t solved in the 41 years since the film entered cinemas. De Palma shows a filmmaking intelligence missing from most horror movies. He creates a terrifying film from skipping blood and jump scares, instead focusing on twisting fantasy moments and film language. The male gaze, a staple of most movies, is amped up to softcore porn levels before reality interrupts the fantasy with a trickle of blood.

Posted by Geoff at 8:05 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 3, 2017
With a new adaptation of Stephen King's It opening this Friday, there have been many articles of late discussing the many adaptations of King's works. A couple of days ago, Scott Tobias posted an article at the Washington Post with the headline, "The secrets to making great Stephen King movies"...
Some have stuck to the page, letter by letter, and others have only a casual relationship to the text — neither approach is a guaranteed winner.

But there are some connections to be made among the strongest King adaptations. The first is counterintuitive: King characters are best understood from the inside out. That goes against conventional wisdom, because the most adaptable books tend to be short on interior monologue and long on external action, which is why a sledgehammer narrative such as James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” has been adapted multiple times in English, in Italian (“Obsessione”), in German (“Jerichow”) and in Chinese (“Ju Dou”), and the novel’s murderous love triangle has been resonant every single time. Finding some visual analog for a character’s thoughts is a trickier proposition.

Yet the true horror of films such as “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Dead Zone” and “Christine” has to do with transformation, of ordinary stresses escalating into supernatural possession. In Brian De Palma’s hands, “Carrie” turns a teenage girl’s coming of age into a tale of profound isolation and sexual repression, with her desire for womanhood thwarted by her cackling peers on one side and the shame of her fanatically religious mother on the other. Even when her extrasensory powers torch the high school and beyond on prom night, it’s as heartbreaking as it is horrific, a manifestation of pain she can no longer manage.

In Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and John Carpenter’s “Christine,” there’s a chicken-and-the-egg quality to the relationship between the lead character and the sinister object of their obsession. Perhaps the Overlook Hotel or that snarling 1958 Plymouth Fury would wreak havoc without them, but human weakness and temptation are animating forces in both films, to the point where a symbiosis develops between those forces. We might fear the goings-on in Room 237 or the animal roar of a sentient muscle car, but the source of each fear is so deeply connected to one man’s ravaged psyche, we can’t get a distance from it. David Cronenberg’s “The Dead Zone” makes a curse out of a gift, martyring a man who can see the future at the price of his life.

The other common thread is filmmakers who refuse to act as stenographers and invent or embellish beyond the page. Despite all the misbegotten adaptations of his works, King is most famous for detesting what Kubrick did with “The Shining,” a film many would rank among the scariest of all time. But at the center of that animus is King’s perception of creative disrespect: He wrote a deeply personal horror novel about alcoholism and authorship, only to have Kubrick strip it for parts with the ruthlessness of a chop-shop mechanic. Yet it was Kubrick’s prerogative as an artist to reimagine the novel and make the film a separate entity.

Although other filmmakers haven’t been as dismissive of the source material, they’ve benefited from their own invention. Frank Darabont had to expand on novellas to turn “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Mist” into full-bodied features, but the former now trades places with “The Godfather” as the top user-rated movie on IMDb, and the latter concocts an ending of astonishing darkness. A little creativity was also necessary to turn King’s novella “The Body” into “Stand By Me,” but director Rob Reiner honors the nostalgia and ache at the heart of King’s coming-of-age story, even as it was impossible to write to the letter. When Reiner later took on King’s “Misery,” about an author held captive by his biggest fan, he favored psychological violence over the physical brutality of the novel, but he makes one thwack to the ankles count.

Carrie will be screened at midnight showings this Friday and Saturday at Gardena Cinema in California, as the first of "two of the best Stephen King feature film adaptations," according to the flyer partially seen above. The other film is Cronenberg's The Dead Zone, which will play Fri/Sat midnight the following weekend.

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 4, 2017 12:11 AM CDT
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