AND OTHER 'CARRIE' TIDBITS - A T-SHIRT, A SUB-GENRE, & SOME NEW MUTANTS
The T-Shirt above (1976 Horror Prom Queen 70s Ringer Tee) was designed by Elaine Christina. It's available at her PopCoven Etsy shop.
Some other Carrie tidbits:
Last week at Pop Geeks, Sandy Helberg, who was one of the original sketch comedy players at The Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles, told Johnny Caps a little story about how he helped get his wife, Harriet B. Helberg, a job as casting director for Carrie:
Johnny: The 70s was a pretty big decade for comedy anthology films. Why do you think that was?
Sandy: Well, I think it was sort of a new format. There was a movie that came out at the beginning of the 70s called TunnelVision, which Chevy Chase was involved with. They used a lot of comedic actors in one scene after another, and then Kentucky Fried Theater, the people who did Airplane!, came out with their own version of it, which was called Kentucky Fried Movie. Again, they had some terrific comedic actors. It was an easy and cheap way to do a film because you didn’t need anybody for more than a couple of days. Loose Shoes was, I think, Bill Murray’s first movie. I knew the directors, and I knew the casting director. She was my wife, so we worked together. I’d help her get jobs and she’d get me jobs, and I helped her get her first movie, which was Carrie.
I had gone in for a meeting with George Lucas and Brian DePalma. They were each doing new movies, and they were seeing people together. George Lucas starts to explain Star Wars to me, and he lost me. I thought, “They’re not going to hire a Jew in space. Let me hear the Italian guy”. He talked about Carrie and high school, and I thought, “That’s more my speed”, so I asked Brian DePalma who was casting it. He said, “Well, we lost our person”. I went home and told my wife. She called Brian DePalma that evening, and he invited her to have dinner with him, Martin Scorcese and a writer, and the next day, she had the job. She used a lot of Groundlings in Carrie. She had a great resource in The Groundlings because they had to get unknown people, and people that looked young and would work for a little money, and she was an expert at that.
Today at Screen Rant, Elizabeth Lerman looks at how De Palma's Stephen King adaptation "created a horror sub-genre" --
The coming-of-age sub-genre weaves growing pains and internal terror with a very literal type of horror. The horror genre in general relies on subconscious fears, dragging out society's deepest dread and projecting it onto the big screen. There is an odd, undeniable comfort in seeing nightmares brought out into the open for all to confront. Fears are unifying, and even the most blatant horror dwells on an underlying relation to the panic of everyday life. The coming-of-age horror sub-genre hones in on a specific moment in time when bodies begin to feel foreign. Faced by everyone growing up, puberty is a universal experience, one that morphs the mind and body, leaving adolescents feeling confused and out of control—an ideal time for horror to infiltrate.
Stephen King's Carrie, much like coming-of-age movies to follow, focuses on the type of disconnect from one's own body that occurs during puberty. Both King's Carrie and Brian De Palma's adaptation kicks off with the shy, ostracized titular character experiencing a traumatizing first period. She is ruthlessly mocked in the girl's locker room and receives no advice or support from her heavily religious mother, Margaret. As Carrie's body develops, so does her power; her telekinetic abilities grow as she matures. Her stress and confusion pertaining to both the physical and mental changes she is facing sparks sympathy from audiences who may recall their own fear during their formative years. It is this sort of human connection that makes it difficult to villainize Carrie, despite the tragic havoc she wreaks on her classmates.
At the core, Carrie is still a child, scared and perpetually uncared for; her naivety, innocence, and anger hardens into a dangerous misuse of power. This trope is present in many coming-of-age horror movies: a young woman's development coinciding with a harnessing of powers. While the occurrences vary in outcome, the heroine is usually faced with a decision as to how she will use her power, the forces of good versus evil weighing heavy on her shoulders. Part of the terror associated with coming-of-age horror films is the unknowable ability of the protagonist, as neither they nor the audience understand the full extent of their powers.
And to close, Peter Debruge's Variety review of Josh Boone's finally-just-released New Mutants mentions "an overt homage to Brian De Palma’s Carrie" --
Like “The Breakfast Club” on steroids, these five misfits slowly overcome their differences, bonding and becoming friends by the time Boone reveals a twist he must have thought would blow the minds of those second-guessing how the movie relates to all the old mutants from the “X-Men” comics. Whereas all the films in that franchise have run with the brilliantly relatable allegory introduced by Bryan Singer’s original “X-Men” movie — in which mutants are seen as freaks by their peers much as LGBTQ teens are ostracized and feared by a homophobic society at large — Boone isn’t as clear about how to treat his characters’ so-called gifts. (That said, this is the first Marvel movie to depict an openly queer relationship, giving Dani a lesbian love interest.)
Here, these traumatized young people fear themselves, the way some adolescents freak out over physical changes brought on by puberty. This metaphor feels literal in one scene — an overt homage to Brian De Palma’s “Carrie” — when Dani finds herself drenched in blood whose origins she can’t explain. Boone, who’s clearly a pulp/horror/classic-movie savant, repeatedly lifts shots and ideas directly from other sources, as in a “Psycho”-inspired shower scream later in the film. But instead of creating a new-and-improved experience for audiences, à la such magpie directors as Quentin Tarantino, he serves up something so familiar as to be clichéd.