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Tuesday, November 8, 2016
BBC DOC 'HYPERNORMALISATION' BY ADAM CURTIS
EFFECTIVELY USES CLIPS FROM 'CARRIE' TO ILLUSTRATE SHOCK/UNCERTAINTY/CONFUSION IN OUR CURRENT TIMES

The above BBC movie by Adam Curtis, HyperNormalisation, uses news and documentary footage from the BBC's archives, as well as clips from films and other sources, to tell "the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion," according to Curtis' own description, "where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed - and have no idea what to do." Included in the climactic few minutes is the key scene from Brian De Palma's Carrie in which the blood is dumped on Carrie, and the gymnasium full of onlookers stands in shock, unsure of how to react. The clip is used effectively in Curtis' movie to illustrate the shock, uncertainty, and confusion of our recent times. Shortly after the Carrie clip, the movie moves into a concluding montage which uses some of the split-screen sequence from De Palma's film to further illustrate (again, rather effectively) the use and state of confusion, which can come from any side. "And," Curtis' description of his movie continues, "where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control - from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening - but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them."

Note: the above version of the movie on YouTube is missing a minute or two (you'll notice an obvious edit around the 9:15 mark). Curtis' posted the unedited version on his YouTube page, but that version is in a smaller frame within the video. So I suggest watching the bulk of it in the above version, but catch those two minutes in Curtis' smaller version.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 12:27 AM CST
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Friday, November 4, 2016
'CARRIE' - ORAL HISTORY OF THE PROM SEQUENCE
AT BIRTH. MOVIES. DEATH. UPON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Yesterday, Birth. Movies. Death.'s Chris Eggersten posted part one of a terrific "Oral History" of the prom scene in Brian De Palma's Carrie, which was released in theaters 40 years ago today. Part two of the oral history was posted today.

"On the occasion of Carrie’s 40th anniversary," Eggersten writes in the intro to part one, "I spoke with close to a dozen individuals who helped bring the sequence to life, including cinematographer Mario Tosi, art director Jack Fisk, screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, associate producer Louis A. Stroller and stars Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles. De Palma, ever the elusive figure, was not made available for an interview despite multiple attempts, but if you care to know his thoughts on prom night, remembrances from the director are widely available elsewhere, including in the excellent Noah Baumbach/Jake Paltrow documentary De Palma released earlier this year.

"Here, I’ve pulled from a range of sources both above and below the line. Some, like stuntwoman Mary Peters and camera operator Joel King – who both risked and even sustained physical harm to fulfill De Palma’s vision – have rarely if ever been heard from before. Their participation is a direct testament to the collaborative nature of filmmaking itself, whose disparate elements rarely come together with such combustible force and synchronicity as they did in Carrie."


Posted by Geoff at 8:27 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 10:28 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 23, 2016
VIDEO - 'CARRIE' 40TH ON-STAGE DISCUSSION
PAUL HIRSCH: "FIRST TIME I'VE SEEN THE FILM IN 40 YEARS"

Thanks to Alex for sending along the link to the above video, which shows the on-stage discussion that took place following the 40th anniversary screening of Carrie two weeks ago. The Q&A was moderated by Bryan Fuller, on stage with Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, Doug Cox, Terry Bolo, and Paul Hirsch. Below are some transcripted moments from the video:

PAUL HIRSCH: "I WAS STRUCK BY HOW INTERESTINGLY EVERY SCENE WAS SHOT"

Hirsch: Honestly, Brian would bring me his storyboards that he had drawn himself. They’re not like storyboards as we know them today. So then he would show me these drawings he’d made, and I couldn’t make head or tail of them. [laughter] And I said [nodding], “That looks great, Brian. That looks great.” [more laughter] And then, I would just react to the footage. But, you know, watching the film tonight, the first time I’ve seen it in 40 years [“wow” reaction from the audience]… ‘cause, you know, when you get to the end of a film, and you’ve seen it so many times, you never want to see it again [laughter], which is the Faustian bargain that editors make. But watching it tonight, I was struck by how interestingly every scene was shot: the angles, the lighting. And nothing was done conventionally. Every choice was very interesting, with a point, and an attitude. And I thought the scenes between Nancy and John were so rich in chemistry, and you could really feel the feeling between them—the dance of the eyes, as they say. And then the scenes between Piper and Sissy were like operatic duets. They were just fabulous. I just had a great time watching the picture tonight.

NANCY ALLEN ON THE FILM'S STRANGE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIS & BILLY

Fuller: Speaking of Nancy and John Travolta, you have such a strange relationship with him in this film, as in other films, and it has this BDSM sort of quality to it. So, you were kind of John Travolta’s first cinematic dom.

Allen: And I’m proud of it. [laughter]

Fuller: Can you talk a little bit about filming that scene? Because it’s interesting to watch it with a modern audience, where he’s slapping you, you slap him, you have this very physically-abusive relationship, and on screen, then you look at your chemistry in Blow Out, which is so dynamic… What was it like, doing those two different [audience applauding] – Blow Out, people, I mean, let’s come on. [applause] Also edited by Paul Hirsch.

Allen: Well, first of all, John and I had a ball in the movie, and we really did have tremendous chemistry together. He’s a lot of fun to work with. He’s a very funny guy. But, the scene in the car, as you know, I was slapped earlier by Betty Buckley, and she was really slapping me, a lot, and John was so sweet. I mean, he would [touching her hand to her face repeatedly] barely touch me with his hands. And the fact that I was so bitchy with him—in the original storyboards, when Brian showed me, before we shot the film, he was supposed to rip my shirt off in the scene in the car. And he said, [waving her hand] “Yeah, that would not work with her. We’re not going to shoot that. She’ll kill him if he does that.” So, you know, we also thought that we were the comic relief in the movie. We had no idea everyone was going to hate us, because the crew laughed at us so much. So, we had a great time on that, and when we came together in Blow Out, it was so very different. He had had tremendous success in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, and I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I had no idea if he had changed, or what he was going to be like. But when he walked in for rehearsals, he said, “Hey, let’s order a pizza.” We ordered pizza, we started working, and started to do some improvisation together to make the script work for us, because it was very, very different. And to me it was always magical working with him, because you never knew what he was going to do.

PAUL HIRSCH DISCUSSES THE FAST-FORWARD USED IN THE TUXEDO SHOP SCENE

Fuller: Now, Mr. Hirsch, in the middle of that tuxedo shop scene, you just fast-forwarded for a while. Were you just like, “Let’s get this moving along,” or… what sort of choice was that?

Hirsch: Well, it was an interesting problem, because the scene was constructed on jump cuts, and the middle segment was too long. And I didn’t want to throw in another jump cut, because the jump cuts were… I was saving them for more significant moments.

Fuller: Like when you blow up a car…

Hirsch: No, no, no, I mean like in that scene, there were two very definite time cuts. I didn’t want to throw another one in the middle of one of the scenes. The three little scenes. So I had seen this film directed by Agnès Varda, and edited by a friend of mine, Robert Dalva. [note: Dalva also later worked on editing De Palma’s Raising Cain, as did Hirsch.] And he had done that. They had this long scene, I remember two characters on the bed, and they just sped-up—like the boring parts—they just sped-up. And I thought, well, that’s a great way to shorten the scene, so I thought I’d try it. And then, I think Pauline Kael called it “a stupid editor trick,” or something, you know. [laughter]

Fuller: Oh, Pauline.

Hirsch: You win some, you lose some. But it worked to preserve the pace of the scene, and not have to throw in a jump cut where I didn’t want one.

P.J. SOLES ASKS PAUL HIRSCH ABOUT THE USE OF SPLIT SCREEN IN 'CARRIE'

Later on, P.J. Soles asks Hirsch how the split screen was decided on for Carrie’s rage at the prom. Hirsch explains that split screen is “a passion of Brian’s,” and how he had used it initially for Dionysus In ’69. “And he was always fascinated by split screen,” Hirsch explains, “because he thought, well, it expands your perception of what’s going on.”

Hirsch then continues, “There are certain situations where it works very well. It’s not ideally suited for an action sequence because the fact that you’re looking at a split screen is a distancing device that keeps you from identifying with the characters the way you would when the image is full screen. It’s an intellectual fascination as opposed to an emotional connection.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 20, 2016
BEV. HILLS 'CARRIE' 40TH SCREENING - NOV. 9
WITH PIPER LAURIE, NANCY ALLEN, WILLIAM KATT, PJ SOLES, PAUL HIRSCH - TRAILER BELOW

Another 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Carrie will take place November 9th at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Critic Stephen Farber will host a panel discussion after the screening, with Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, William Katt, P.J.Soles, and Paul Hirsch.

In his review of Carrie for New West magazine, Farber wrote, "Carrie has the same diabolical power as Psycho, and the same unsettling black humor."

(Thanks to Chuck!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016 6:49 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
LAST WEEKEND'S 'CARRIE' 40TH SCREENING EVENT
SCREAM FACTORY TURNED UP THE RED LIGHTS DURING PROM RAGE; DREAD CENTRAL INTV'D PIPER, NANCY, AND P.J.

In the video above, from last weekend's 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Carrie, hosted by Scream Factory, the enthusuastic audience applauds when the red lights are turned up to match the film, as Carrie begins to unleash her powers. According to Dread Central's Staci Layne Wilson, there was a Q&A after the screening, moderated by Bryan Fuller. On hand to talk about the film on stage afterward was Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles (who wore the exact same cap she had on in the movie), Doug Cox, Terry Bolo, and Paul Hirsch. William Katt also provided a video hello for the event.

Wilson was able to ask Laurie, Allen, and Soles some additional questions (and the picture of the three actresses also comes from the Dread Central post)-- here are some excerpted quotes:

Piper Laurie: I think I’ve been blessed. I feel fortunate I was invited to be in the movie. It’s amazing and big surprise it’s remained so popular.

Brian De Palma’s energy and imagination and the music and cinematography – the DP, Mario Tosi, made us look beautiful even when we’re not supposed to be, And it’s fun. Brian didn’t take it all that seriously, which I think that was a smart move. I did everything I could to play against everything that was in the original story, because it would have been dangerous to take my character that seriously. It works for the movie.

Nancy Allen: Brian De Palma brought a lot to the story that no other director could have. One thing he did was cast well and find really good chemistry with the actors, and he rehearsed us all – so by the time we got to set we felt like we’d known each other for years. Except Sissy – she wanted to stay apart, and that was good too. Then, on a small budget, cinematically, he shot it beautifully. He really brought out the sense of humor in the characters. It could have been humorless, which wouldn’t have been the same. And course, Sissy and Piper at the core of the film, that relationship is [great] – and they were both nominated for Oscars. Also, Brian changed the ending of the movie and that was much better.

P.J. Soles: The most obvious thing that still resonates today would be the bullying aspect, but to us then, it was more of a horror and sci-fi thing, obviously, with the telekinetic thing. In today’s climate it may be a little strange, with us picking on her like that and it being [entertaining] but back then it was a horror movie and a fantasy film. It’s a time capsule of movies from the 70s. So this is based on Stephen King’s book, this is what he wrote about – and so, without the telekinetic powers, I don’t know how the movie would have ended.

There is a loyal original fan bases, but there are new fans to Carrie. I do a lot of horror conventions and I meet them all the time. Having worked with Brian De Palma on Carrie and John Carpenter on Halloween, I’m often asked what it was like to work with two masters of horror at the time. Neither one of them was really on the map at the time, but the staying power is incredible. I have young fans, even 20-year-old guys, come and weep at my table [at conventions] saying, ‘I loved you in Carrie! You were so bad!’ So as long as people know it’s entertainment, it will live on forever. Because, it’s the performances – I mean, both Sissy and Laurie were nominated for Academy Awards. For that genre, it’s unheard of. It really speaks highly of the film.


Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2016 2:20 PM CDT
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Monday, October 17, 2016
NY TIMES - DE PALMA, KING, COHEN TALK 'CARRIE'
PLUS MORE LINKS TO REVIEWS UPON ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
The New York Times ran a Sunday feature yesterday written by Gilbert Cruz, with the headline, "‘Carrie’ Is Back. Like a Bloody Hand From the Grave." The article includes quotes from Brian De Palma, Stephen King, and Lawrence D. Cohen.

"I never really approached it as a horror movie," De Palma tells Cruz. "It’s more of a character piece. She does go berserk after she gets hit with the bucket of blood, but until then, not really. What made this really good — both the book and the film — is that it capsulized everyone’s high school experience of being an outsider."

Later, De Palma is quoted about Sissy Spacek: "The studio didn’t even want me to test Sissy. It’s probably the part she’ll be best remembered for even though she won an Oscar for another role."

Here are a couple of other passages from Cruz' article:

“It’s really a simple story,” Mr. King said. “And people saw Carrie as an extreme case of what they went through in high school.” Fresh out of college when he started the book, teaching high school English by day, Mr. King said he understood “it from both sides of the desk. There was a visceral sense that I was writing about something that I understood and felt deeply at the time.”

In the mid-1970s, few had heard of Mr. King, a teacher who had mainly published short stories in men’s magazines. Lawrence D. Cohen, then working for a movie producer in New York, had certainly never heard of him when he plucked “Carrie” from a slush pile. He eventually wrote the screenplay. “I understood why critics were perplexed as to what genre ‘Carrie’ belonged to,” Mr. Cohen said. “Was it a high school movie, a sci-fi novel, a horror piece, a psychological thriller?”

...

United Artists considered marketing it as a B-movie. “They wanted to change the title to ‘Pray for Carrie,’ which is a very exploitation-movie title,” Mr. Cohen said. “And they ended up taking out an ad that was a poster of Carrie covered in blood, which was a spoiler before that word was used, but a clear way of selling the movie. I remember looking at it going, ‘They’ve lost their minds; they’re giving away the whole movie.’” In retrospect, the poster is a superb example of Alfred Hitchcock’s explanation of the difference between suspense and surprise — knowing a bomb will explode and tensing for it, versus having it blow up with no warning. Bloody Carrie is the bomb the audience saw before the movie even started.

One reason “Carrie” is considered such an effective horror movie is its final two minutes, in which Ms. Irving’s good girl, Sue Snell, visits a grave and a hand shoots from the ground, sending audiences from the theater with one more scare. It was the last thing they remembered about the movie and the first thing they told friends.

“What the ending did was establish Stephen King as a brand name for horror,” said Mr. Cohen, who also wrote a “Carrie” stage musical and the screenplay for the 2013 movie remake. The success of the original film boosted sales for the novel, and Mr. King’s next novel after the movie, “The Shining,” became his first hardcover best seller, and he was off.

But Mr. King has never lost his view of high school as a place like the island in “Lord of the Flies.” Those locker-filled hallways are the true dark corridors, and you don’t need to add too much to make it scarier than it already is. “I tell people, ‘If you look back on high school as the high point of your life,’” you’re one messed-up American, Mr. King said, using rougher language. “Most of us look at high school as something we escaped.”


MORE LINKS - REVIEWS OF 'CARRIE' ON BLU-RAY

Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

"Then there is De Palma, who conducts the proceedings with the kind of self-confidence in his artistic gifts that few filmmakers manage to achieve in their entire careers. Over the years, he has proven to be one of the most divisive of American filmmakers but this is perhaps the one film of his that everyone, regardless of where they stand on his career as a whole, seems to admire. Even though he obviously didn’t come up with the story himself, he has such a handle on what he wants to say with it and how to say it that Carrie feels just as personal as any of his self-generated projects. He effortlessly taps into our collective memories of the actual high school experience—oftentimes far removed from the version put forth in the kind of dumb movies that he definitively rebukes here—and uses them to both inform the story and help us embrace Carrie in a way that not even King was able to completely pull off in the book. At the same time, he again demonstrates his mastery of audience manipulation by first getting viewers completely on Carrie’s side and then eventually putting them in the discomfiting positions of A.) anticipating the sight of her prom night humiliation and B.) watching the person they have grown to like slaughtering all her classmates afterwards, even though many of them have themselves done nothing to deserve such retribution. (In fact, the grisliest death in the sequence is the one suffered by the gym teacher, who had done nothing except try to help Carrie out, even though her actions would play an inadvertent part in the horrors to come.) He is so much at the top of his game here that even if you have seen the film a number of times before, he still manages to suck you into the story to such a degree that you can still be caught off-guard by the proceedings. Then, just when you think that it is over, he comes up with one final shock (one not in the book) that not only supplies one of the great jump scares in film history but brilliantly subverts the hoary cliche that everything can go back to normal once the monster is defeated—here, even if you manage to survive everything, you still don’t get out of it completely unscarred."

Donald A. Guarisco, Schlockmania

"That said, an effective tale of supernatural revenge needs a master manipulator at its helm – and DePalma does a brilliant, thoroughly inspired job here. There’s a long time before the big horrors kick in so the film relies on his ability to stylize the melodrama in a way that makes it feel suspenseful and laden with atmosphere. He pulls this off, using sleek photography by Mario Tosi and a melodic, emotionally charged score from Pino Donaggio to comment on the big emotional stakes of Carrie emerging from her shell as she is plotted against. DePalma’s underrated skill for directing actors gets a great venue during this section of the film.

"Once it’s time for the prom, the director gets to dig deep into his bag of tricks and the resulting display of cinematic pyrotechnics is awe-inspiring: he gets to deploy slow motion, split-diopter shots, elaborate tracking shots and what might be the finest use of split screen in any movie. From there to the coda, he finds an ideal balance between the visceral and the stylistically graceful that few filmmakers are capable of achieving. Without giving too much away, he also summons up a shock coda for the ages.

"In short, Carrie ranks with The Dead Zone and Stand By Me as the best films to emerge from the ever-growing ranks of Stephen King adaptations. It’s also a must-see for anyone interested in DePalma’s career or great horror films from the ’70s. Commercial horror fare doesn’t get better or more artful than this."

Bruce Westbrook, Tripping the Light

"Yet Carrie was a tough sell to studios, only getting greenlit when a new female exec championed its female-focused story (and wasn’t put off by an early scene involving Carrie’s horrified first menstruation in the girl’s locker room at school, leading to abuse from her classmates).

"Cohen also notes the film’s 'illusion of fidelity' to its source. He notes the many new scenes which were written strictly for the screen — a different medium which needs different approaches — and says King was grateful for the changes."

Jeremy Carr, cutprintfilm

"Pop culture may have worn away some of Carrie’s concluding shock, but the realization of its stylized, tragic, and destructive final sequence remains effectively engaging. Once Carrie steps foot in that school, the viewer is overcome with a visceral frustration and anger, knowing what awaits this temporarily joyous young girl. Carrie is a teenager after all, so there is an appropriately glamorous depiction of the star-spangled dance, courtesy art direction by Jack Fisk (Spacek’s husband). The vivid set-piece, as with those idyllic moments mentioned earlier, has a blissful, romanticized sheen, one that will similarly get undercut by blossoming horror. Once soaked in pig’s blood, Carrie drifts through the carnage as a woman possessed, a rigid red figure moving against the fiery blaze, enacting a murderous rampage that, at this point, seems beyond her control. Choreographed like a musical number, De Palma’s virtuoso integration of elaborate camera movement, traumatic slow-motion, and piercing split-screen (a tools-of-the-trade mastery for which he is now finally lauded) results in a visually and emotionally powerful finale, culminating with the fantastically evocative death of Carrie’s mother."


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:55 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2016
HIGH-DEF DIGEST ON SCREAM'S NEW 'CARRIE' BLU
"A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER ANY PREVIOUS HOME VIDEO FORMAT"
Shout!/Scream Factory officially releases its new Collector's Edition Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Carrie this Tuesday (those who pre-ordered weeks ago should already have their copies). According to High-Def Digest's Matthew Hartman, this is the best the film has ever looked in any home video format. The comparison frames at left come from Hartman's High-Def review.

"Going into this new 40th-anniversary release of Carrie," Hartman states, "I didn't have a lot of hope for the transfer. Even with a fresh 4K scan, I just never thought the appearance of the film would ever be drastically improved. Apparently, that 4K scan went a long way! While the film still has the dream-like contrast blooms and some softness, this new scan is a vast improvement over any previous home video format. For starters, fans of the film will notice a far more stable grain field. My first worry was that it was scrubbed clean with some DNR, but closer inspection shows that the grain is alive and well, just far more subtle. Detail levels are also given an impressive boost allowing hair, makeup, and some impressive prom dresses to show their finer points. It also appears that the previous transfer's use of edge enhancement hasn't been replicated as there aren't any notable instances of banding, haloing, or other compression artifacts. Colors are also timed a bit better now, reds appear a true red without the orange-pink tinge the previous release had. Primaries are natural with plenty of pop and flesh tones have a nice healthy look to them. Black levels can still be a bit crushed here and there, but when it counts most there is an improved sense of depth to the image. Brightness also looks like it has also been pulled back allowing for some deeper blacks and more natural color saturation. Damage appears to have also been cleaned up a bit, there are a few moments of speckling and some very fine scratches that have always been apparent in virtually every previous release, but now they're not nearly as intrusive or distracting. Some may find a few things to nitpick about this presentation, but in all honesty the benefits of this new scan should outweigh any perceived negatives. This is honestly the best I've ever seen this film in any home video format, it may not seem like much of a difference from the screen captures, but it's very noticeable in motion."

Below are Hartman's notes about this edition's new bonus features:

- Writing Carrie: (HD 29:07) This is a fascinating and interesting interview with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen. He covers a lot of ground here from receiving the initial manuscript from a new unknown writer named Stephen King. It's interesting to hear his reaction to the book but then also his approach to adapting it for the screen.

- Shooting Carrie: (HD 15:22) An interview with Director of Photography Mario Tosi, this is a great interview, a little difficult to understand in places because of his limitations with English but he offers a lot of insight into the dream-like qualities of the visuals and De Palma's approach to the film.

- Cutting Carrie: (HD 25:09) Editor Paul Hirsch offers up a lot of terrific details about how the film came together in the editing room, finding the tone, pace, as well as cutting together the climax of the movie.

- Casting Carrie: (HD 16:03) Casting director Harriet B. Helberg talks about what it took to get the film cast and finding Sissy Spacek for the lead.

- More Acting Carrie: (HD 20:19) This is comprised of new, but sadly short interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg, and P.J. Soles. While this is sadly short, it's fascinating. The best tidbit of note is George Lucas was casting 'Star Wars' and De Palma was casting 'Carrie' at the same time in the same room! So both films could have been completely different depending on what actor impressed either George or Brian at any given moment!

- Bucket of Blood: (HD 23:53) This is a very interesting interview with composer Pino Donaggio. He discusses his approach with De Palma, how they keyed in on that dreamy flute theme, as well as the four string progression that seems almost lifted from Hitchcock's 'Psycho.'

New Horror's Hallowed Grounds: (HD 11:25) Fans of Sean Clark's little segments will get a kick out of this. It's always cool to see familiar locations from movies and it's cool seeing that a lot of these places are still around.


Posted by Geoff at 7:36 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016
ALICE LOWE ON TRACES OF 'CARRIE' IN 'PREVENGE'
SAYS THAT WHAT MAKES DE PALMA'S FILM REWATCHABLE IS YOU KEEP HOPING FOR A DIFFERENT ENDING
Alice Lowe's directorial debut, Prevenge, is, according to Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collis, about a "pregnant woman who exacts revenge on the people she believes were responsible for the death of her baby’s father." The film, in which Lowe stars as the pregnant woman, played at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. Lowe talked to Collis about how Brian De Palma's Carrie may have influenced certain aspects of her film:
Lowe is a huge horror movie fan, who is drawn to family-oriented terror tales with female protagonists, like Rosemary’s Baby or Brian De Palma’s 1976 Stephen King adaptation, Carrie, which stars Sissy Spacek as an unpopular high school student who develops telekinetic powers.

“I think everyone identifies with her character,” says the actress. “I really like the idea of an underdog character going through this transformation where they take power. I also think the reason it’s so rewatchable is, every time you watch it, you are hoping there’s a different ending, you’re really hoping that she just kisses the boy, and is the pageant queen, or whatever. It just doesn’t work that way. I think it’s unique. She is the killer but she has our sympathy. She is also a victim to her mother’s insanity. It’s like a female Psycho in some ways. I love Brian De Palma, I love color in film. That was one of the things that I really wanted to do with Prevenge, was make sure it was an assault of the sense, that it’s about color and vividness — rather than the passion at the moment for sort of grey-blue-black horror. That was, for me, the experience of pregnancy, that it’s kind of a vivid experience. It’s not at all about pastel pinks. It’s all about bright, intense experiences, and revulsions, and strange shifts in your emotions.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 25, 2016
PANEL DISCUSSES 'CARRIE' IN LONDON
FINAL GIRLS U.K. EVENT AT SCALARAMA; ALSO, REVIEW FROM BLOGGER WHO JUST WATCHED 'CARRIE'
The Final Girls (Anna Bogutskaya and Olivia Howe) hosted a screening last night of Brian De Palma's Carrie at the ICA in London. The screening, which was part of Scalarama film month, was followed by a panel discussion made up of Michael Blyth (BFI Festivals Programmer), Catherine Bray (Film4 Editorial Director and Producer) and Dr. Alison Pierse (Lecturer at York University). The discussion is summarized by Smoke Screen's Owen Van Spall:
Brian de Palma's films and his own statements have been controversial to say the least, something the Carrie panel tackled right from the start of their conversation. This is a film that begins with a tracking shot that has become somewhat notorious; the camera journeys through a steamy changing room as Carrie’s high school gym class are seen in various stages of nudity. This is far from the last time in the movie de Palma’s camera will linger on female flesh either: with female cheerleaders on the pitch and high school bad girl Chris’s bra-less torso getting plenty of screen time. This is also one of many de Palma films that put their female characters through the wringer, to put it politely.

Thus the panel agreed that at some point they had all been driven to ask themselves: “Is it cool to like Carrie [and de Palma]?” But the consensus was that, after repeat viewings and after taking a few steps back to reconsider de Palma’s career as a whole, rejecting Carrie entirely as mysoginistic felt too much like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Alison Pierce for example praised the way the film - largely through Sissy Spacek’s intense performance - effectively transmitted the desperate sadness of the plight of this hapless but incredibly powerful young woman. You empathise with Carrie as almost a Frankenstein-like figure, a victim created by monstrosity. The panel also noted how both De Palma and King explored her victimhood in interesting ways - with the narrative and characterisation of Carrie seeming at times to provoke the viewer to almost want this pathetic figure to get tormented. De Palma arguably manipulates viewers to effectively swing between delighting in seeing Carrie suffer, and yearning to see her inflict terrible vengeance on her tormentors turn. The bucket of blood sequence, with its long, almost gleeful build up in slow motion, was much discussed as an example of this. Viewers might want to ask themselves; do you maybe sneakily want that rope to be pulled, and the bucket to fall, knowing both what the immediate humiliating result will be, and what will happen next?

Author Stephen King and de Palma also have an interesting kingship, as Catherine Bray noted: they are good at “serious fun” - taking a ludicrous concept and imbuing it with genuine terror and emotional weight. Of course, Carrie can simply be enjoyed as campy, shlockly fun, with Michael Blyth half-joking if you could convert this film easily into a musical given its tone and setting. Regardless, the panel noted that the film remains very striking from a cinematographic perspective, with a visual approach that teeters on the deliciously overblown at times. De Palma throws in a tonne of tricks that he would become well known for, including diopter lens shots, and the use of montage which really works well in the prom terror sequence, as Carrie starts to come apart, her attention and powers jumping to various points as she singles out her enemies for destruction. The Smoke Screen in particular was struck by the deliriously bold lighting throughout the film too. Much of the film’s early sequences seem drenched in a warm, apple pie glow, but in the prom night sequence sees de Palma start us off with a dreamy kaleidoscopic mix of purples and yellows that highlight how carried away Carrie is by her one moment of bliss, only to drench the entire affair in an insanely deep red shade once the psychic assault starts.


HARRY FAINT JUST WATCHED 'CARRIE' (SEEMINGLY FOR THE FIRST TIME?)

Meanwhile, blogger Harry Faint posted a brief review after watching Carrie, seemingly for the first time:

Even though I knew the plot and knew the rampage that was about to ensue when the bucket finally dropped, I was still in shock. The build up of this film is masterful, with the final slow motion sequence becoming a sickly sweet fantasy. The narrative is relatively simple and the pace is snappy, which makes the final sequence all the more painful to watch as carnage unravels as quickly as Carrie’s happiness. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. There is an interesting use of De Palma blurring two images into a shot and I came away feeling that every visual was vital to the story – the prom sequence is such a great accomplishment in filmmaking. It felt real, Carrie’s telekinesis is never questioned or explained as the supernatural. In fact, nothing is over explained, or if things are explained it is through use of visuals and absence of voice. However, one thing I disliked is the reuse of Herrman’s 4 notes from Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960), but it still works.

Hearing the bucket swing back and forth and nothing else is as clever as it is haunting. You know you like a film when you wake up the next morning still thinking about it.


Posted by Geoff at 4:30 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 8, 2016
'CARRIE' CAST & CREW FOR 40TH IN L.A. OCT 14
NANCY ALLEN, PIPER LAURIE, WILLIAM KATT, PJ SOLES, PAUL HIRSCH, MORE, w/BRYAN FULLER MODERATING
Nancy Allen is Executive Director of weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which, along with Ace Hotel and Scream Factory, will present a special 40th anniversary presentation of Brian De Palma's Carrie in Los Angeles on October 14, with Allen and several others involved with the film on hand for an on-stage discussion. And the discussion will be moderated by none other than Bryan Fuller! Below is the press release, courtesy of Dread Central:
Forty years ago, visionary filmmaker Brian De Palma helmed the ultimate coming-of-age horror film with Stephen King’s CARRIE, a story both celebrated and revered by cinephiles and ultimate horror fans alike. To celebrate this landmark anniversary of the movie, non-profit cancer support center weSPARK and Theatre at The Ace Hotel, along with home entertainment brand SCREAM FACTORY, will mount a once-in-a-lifetime cast and crew reunion and screening of the brand-new restoration of the film, paired with a 1970s prom-themed party, at the historic Ace Theater in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, October 14, 2016.

The star-studded cast and crew reunion is set to include Carrie stars Academy Award-nominated Piper Laurie (The Hustler), Nancy Allen (Dressed to Kill, RoboCop), William Katt (“The Greatest American Hero”), P.J. Soles (Halloween), Academy Award-winning editor Paul Hirsch (Star Wars: Episode IV), and casting director Harriett B. Helberg (The Jazz Singer). The cast will participate in a live Q&A moderated by Bryan Fuller (the creative genius behind NBC’s “Hannibal,” ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” and the upcoming Starz series “American Gods”).

In an effort to raise critical funds for weSPARK Cancer Support Center, of which Carrie’s Nancy Allen is Executive Director, the event will see the Ace Theater transformed with prom-themed decor, during which attendees are encouraged to dress in their best 1970s formal attire or favorite character from the film for an opportunity to pose for a photo in a special photo booth and win a Best Dressed “Carrie” character costume contest.

“I want a recount! I can’t believe Carrie is celebrating its 40th Anniversary! This movie changed my career much like weSPARK has changed my life, and to bring these two worlds together for good only adds to the specialness of this celebration.” – Nancy Allen, Carrie’s Chris Hargensen

Tickets to the star-studded screening and Q&A will start at $25, with higher ticket tiers to include Scream Factory’s brand new 2-disc Carrie (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray release with nearly 3 hours of bonus material, a specially commissioned original poster from a local artist, access to a private VIP pre-reception, and opportunities for photos with cast and crew.

Ticket Tiers:

$25 – General Admission including Prom-Themed After Party

$75 – Preferred Seating + Exclusive Carrie Poster + New Scream Factory Blu Ray + Photo Op including Prom Themed After-Party (Limited availability)

$125 –VIP seating + Exclusive Carrie Poster & Blu-ray + Photo Op with cast/crew including After-Party + Private Pre-Party (Limited availability)

All proceeds will directly benefit weSPARK’s cancer support programs.


Posted by Geoff at 7:06 PM CDT
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