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Carrie on DVD

Teen Angst?

Brian DePalma and Stephen King both made their names from this title, and it’s easy to see why.

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a misfit kid, outcast in her class. She’s such a "loser" she doesn’t even know anything about the facts of life, so when she gets her first period while showering after her high school gym class she’s mightily freaked out. The other girls, being the worldly sophisticates that high school girls are, make horrible fun of her and generally exacerbate the situation until kindly gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) gets involved.

The reason Carrie is such a misfit is because she has a mother who’s an all out whacko. As marvelously portrayed by Piper Laurie, she’s a totally demented Christian kook who believes that everything is a sin including her own life and, therefore Carrie's as well. This woman is dangerous, and she has ruined Carrie’s life up to that point.

Fortunately, not all the high school kids are totally self absorbed, and two of them (Amy Irving and William Katt) conspire to help Carrie out by inviting her to the senior prom. Over her mother’s highly vociferous objections (which are only silenced by force: Carrie has telekinetic ability and uses it to make her  mother to back off), Carrie goes to the prom, the most exciting and happy moment of her miserable life so far.

Unfortunately, one of the leading high school girls (deliciously played by Nancy Allen) wants to ensure Carrie’s coming out will also be her “going back in again,” and she enlists the help of her boyfriend (a young John Travolta) to make it happen.

And boy does it happen! Carrie is totally humiliated and, at the end of her rope, unleashes her extra abilities. Havoc is wreaked on the school and on the people inside it as the movie suddenly shifts into high gear and races to its violent and gory conclusion.

DePalma sticks to building suspense during most of the film, but when he decides to bring out the buckets of blood he unleashes them unabashedly. Spacek’s performance as Carrie is wonderful, totally believable, and Laurie’s demented mother is positively frightening.

Better have lots of popcorn around!

The special edition DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible), with very well re-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Picture and sound quality are excellent.

Extras include “Acting Carrie,” a documentary with Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley and other cast members, and a “Visualizing Carrie” feature with director DePalma and others. There’s also a featurette on the short-lived “Carrie” Broadway musical production, an animated photo gallery, and a print outline of Stephen King’s genesis of the original story. Oh, you also get the original trailer.

In all, while Carrie may never be known as a horror masterpiece, it has definitely earned its place in history, and the DVD does it justice.

Carrie, from MGM Home Video
98 min, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, and Piper Laurie
Produced by Paul Monash
Written by Lawrence D. Cohen, Directed by Brian DePalma.


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Updated May 13, 2006