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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
'CARRIE' MIDNIGHTS THIS WEEKEND IN ST. LOUIS
FRIDAY & SATURDAY, w/PSYCHOTRONIC PRE-SHOW AT 11:30, HORROR PROM PHOTO BOOTH


Brian De Palma's Carrie will be the Late Night Grindhouse feature this Friday and Saturday (April 28 and 29) at the Moolah Theatre & Lounge in St. Louis. The film will begin at midnight both nights, with a Psychotronic Pre-Show at 11:30, including a "Horror Prom Photo Booth." Tickets are $7.

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CDT
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Saturday, February 4, 2017
ALL-CAT REMAKE OF 'CARRIE' IS DREAM PROJECT
FOR MAIN CHARACTER OF BIZARRE 'SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS', NOW PLAYING SF INDIE FEST


In Michael Reich's autobiographical She's Allergic To Cats, Mike Pinkney plays a character whose dream project is a remake of his favorite horror film, Carrie, done with live-action cats. The film also stars Sonja Kinski, the daughter of Nastassja Kinski and granddaughter of Klauss Kinski. It is by most accounts a bizarre, surreal, and yet warm experience. It is playing tonight (February 4th) and February 9th at the SF Indie Fest, having played the Fantasia Fest last summer (watch the trailer on Vimeo). "Simultaneously bizarre and conventional," wrote Birth. Movies. Death.'s Andrew Todd last summer, "She’s Allergic is a paradox and a miracle: a film informed by (and part of) a dirty VHS aesthetic, without being subsumed by it, filled with surreal humour that’s not there by accident." Here's a bit more from Todd's Fantasia review:
The performances are aided by a directorial eye that lasers in on things most directors would gloss over. Mike’s job as a dog groomer is explored in lurid detail, his boss waxing poetic over lathering techniques and engaging in a lengthy diversion into the need for expressing dogs’ anal glands. A significant portion of the film’s running time is made up of investigations into the logistics of Mike’s Cat Carrie production. Another lengthy sequence involves the dissection of a stranger’s DVD collection, with prominent shout-outs to Congo and Howard the Duck that ride waves of audience laughter with ease. Even ordinary dialogue exchanges are frequently given subtle, unexpected twists that push them into the realm of the absurd.

Shot in 4K on Red cameras and downgraded through DVD players, MiniDV, and VHS tapes, She’s Allergic To Cats is a lo-fi fever dream that is at once grungy and conventionally well-shot, with a warmth to the image you don't see often in digital indie features. But while the film’s full of tracking errors and abstract video art, Reich doesn’t use VHS artifacts as an affectation, as many of his contemporaries do. Instead, it’s expressive, appearing at times of high emotion, representing Mike’s increasingly inner turmoil over his decidedly low-stakes situation. Scenes become degraded to varying degrees because of what the scenes need, not to satisfy some desire for retro-aesthetic wankery. Reich’s background in video art lends him a smart sense of when to use it and why.


(Thanks to Chris!)

Posted by Geoff at 2:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2017 7:40 PM CST
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Thursday, January 12, 2017
PIPER LAURIE w/'CARRIE' & 'HUSTLER' SATURDAY
IN ORINDA, CA; AND ARMOND WHITE LINKS 'BROKEN BLOSSOMS' WITH 'CARRIE'
Piper Laurie will be on hand at the Orinda Theatre in Orinda, California this Saturday, January 14th, for a double feature of two of her greatest films, Brian De Palma's Carrie (5pm), and Robert Rossen's The Hustler (8pm). According to Diablo Magazine's Pete Crooks, Laurie will appear for a Q&A with the audience following each film.

Meanwhile, the other day, Armond White mused on D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms for Out, and mentioned De Palma's Carrie:
Film buffs esteem Broken Blossoms for its artiness — dreamlike, fuzzy images project us into the exoticism of other states of being. It heightens our response to effeminacy while critiquing Battling Burrows’s masculine threat. Crisp’s macho sneer is on a behavioral continuum with Gish’s fragility (her fright hiding in a closet was repeated in Brian DePalma’s modern sexual gothic Carrie) and Barthelmess’s ethereal, idealized compassion. The man and girl’s idyll is crushed (“The spirit of beauty breaks her blossoms all about his chamber”), and no contemporary gay-bashing would be more heartrending.

Posted by Geoff at 8:01 PM CST
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Thursday, December 15, 2016
CARRIE FISHER BOOK EXCERPT @ io9
'THE PRINCESS DIARIST' ON HER AUDITION FOR 'CARRIE'/'STAR WARS'
io9's Katharine Trendacosta posted an excerpt today from Carrie Fisher's new book, The Princess Diarist, in which she writes about her experience making Star Wars. The excerpt is about the dual auditions for Star Wars and Carrie, including a few exchanges between Fisher and Brian De Palma, as well as George Lucas, of course:
George Lucas held his auditions for Star Wars in an office on a lot in Hollywood. It was in one of those faux-Spanish cream-colored buildings from the thirties with dark orange-tiled roofs and black-iron-grated windows, lined with sidewalks in turn lined with trees—pine trees, I think they were, the sort that shed their needles generously onto the street below—and interrupted by parched patches of once-green lawns.

Everything was a little worse for the wear, but good things would happen in these buildings. Lives would be led, businesses would prosper, and men would attend meetings—hopeful meetings, meetings where big plans were made and ideas were proposed. But of all the meetings that had ever been held in that particular office, none of them could compare in world impact with the casting calls for the Star Wars movie.

A plaque could be placed on the outside of this building that states, “On this spot the Star Wars films conducted their casting sessions. In this building the actors and actresses entered and exited until only three remained. These three were the actors who ultimately played the lead parts of Han, Luke, and Leia.”

I’ve told the story of getting cast as Princess Leia many times before—in interviews, on horseback, and in cardiac units—so if you’ve previously heard this story before, I apologize for requiring some of your coveted store of patience. I know how closely most of us tend to hold on to whatever cache of patience we’ve managed to amass over a lifetime and I appreciate your squandering some of your cherished stash here.

George gave me the impression of being smaller than he was because he spoke so infrequently. I first encountered his all-but-silent presence at these auditions—the first of which he held with the director Brian De Palma. Brian was casting his horror film Carrie, and they both required an actress between the age of eighteen and twenty-two. I was the right age at the right time, so I read for both George and Brian.

George had directed two other feature films up till then, THX 1138, starring Robert Duvall, and American Graffiti, starring Ron Howard and Cindy Williams. The roles I met with the two directors for that first day were Princess Leia in Star Wars and Carrie in Carrie. I thought that last role would be a funny casting coup if I got it: Carrie as Carrie in Carrie. I doubt that that was why I never made it to the next level with Carrie—but it didn’t help as far as I was concerned that there would have to be a goofy film poster advertising a serious horror film.

I sat down before the two directors behind their respective desks. Mr. Lucas was all but mute. He nodded when I entered the room, and Mr. De Palma took over from there. He was a big man, and not merely because he spoke more— or spoke, period. Brian sat on the left and George on the right, both bearded. As if you had two choices in director sizes. Only I didn’t have the choice—they did. Brian cleared his bigger throat of bigger things and said, “So I see here you’ve been in the film Shampoo?”

I knew this, so I simply nodded, my face in a tight white-toothed smile. Maybe they would ask me something requiring more than a nod.

“Did you enjoy working with Warren?”

“Yes, I did!”

That was easy! I had enjoyed working with him, but Brian’s look told me that wasn’t enough of an answer.

“He was . . .”

What was he? They needed to know! “He helped me work . . . a lot. I mean, he and the other screenwriter . . . they worked with me.” Oh my God, this wasn’t going well. Mr. De Palma waited for more, and when more wasn’t forthcoming, he attempted to help me.

“How did they work with you?”

Oh, that’s what they wanted to know! “They had me do the scene over and over, and with food. There was eating in the scene. I had to offer Warren a baked apple and then I ask him if he’s making it with my mother—sleeping with her—you know.”

George almost smiled; Brian actually did. “Yes, I know what ‘making it’ means.”

I flushed. I considered stopping this interview then and there. But I soldiered on.

“No, no, that’s the dialogue. ‘Are you making it with my mother?’ I asked him that because I hate my mother. Not in real life, I hate my mother in the movie, partly because she is sleeping with Warren who’s the hairdresser. Lee Grant played my mom, but I didn’t really have any scenes with her, which is too bad because she’s a great actress. And Warren is a great actor and he also wrote the movie, with Robert Towne, which is why they both worked with me. With food. It sounded a lot more natural when you talk with food in your mouth. Not that you do that in your movies. Maybe in the scary movie, but I don’t know the food situation in space.” The meeting seemed to be going better.

“What have you done since Shampoo?” George asked.

I repressed the urge to say I had written three symphonies and learned how to perform dental surgery on monkeys, and instead told the truth.

“I went to school in England. Drama school. I went to the Central School of Speech and Drama.” I was breathless with information. “I mean I didn’t just go, I’m still going. I’m home on Christmas vacation.”

I stopped abruptly to breathe. Brian was nodding, his eyebrows headed off to his hair in something like surprise. He asked me politely about my experience at school, and I responded politely as George watched impassively. (I would come to discover that George’s expression wasn’t indifferent or anything like it. It was shy and discerning, among many other things, including intelligent, studious, and— and a word like “darling.” Only not that word, because it’s too young and androgynous, and besides which, and most important, George would hate it.)

“What do you plan on doing if you get one of these jobs you’re meeting on?” continued Brian.

“I mean, it really would depend on the part, but . . . I guess I’d leave. I mean I know I would. Because I mean—”

“I know what you mean,” Brian interrupted. The meeting continued but I was no longer fully present—utterly convinced that I’d screwed up by revealing myself to be so disloyal. Leave my school right in the middle for the first job that came along?

Soon after, we were done. I shook each man’s hand as I moved to the door, leading off to the gallows of obscurity. George’s hand was firm and cool. I returned to the outer office knowing full well that I would be going back to school.

“Miss Fisher,” a casting assistant said.

I froze, or would have, if we weren’t in sunny Los Angeles. “Here are your sides. Two doors down. You’ll read on video.” My heart pounded everywhere a pulse can get to.

The scene from Carrie involved the mother (who would be memorably played by Piper Laurie). A dark scene, where the people are not okay. But the scene in Star Wars—there were no mothers there! There was authority and confidence and command in the weird language that was used. Was I like this? Hopefully George would think so, and I could pretend I thought so, too. I could pretend I was a princess whose life went from chaos to crisis without looking down between chaoses to find, to her relief, that her dress wasn’t torn.


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Friday, December 16, 2016 12:26 AM CST
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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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