It has been a very long time since I’ve actually seen the film Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma in 1976. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever seen a non-edited version of Carrie. I do not remember seeing the opening of Carrie with so many boobies and merkins in the locker room scene and let me tell you, it is a very nice thing to see Nancy Allen nude.
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Carrie, Scream Factory has released a 2-disc special edition of Carrie on Blu-ray under their Collector’s Edition branding. The first disc features the film and some trailers and the second disc houses all the special features. The first disc’s highlight is the new 4K transfer and the second disc has a lot of good interviews with the cast and crew. Sadly, there are no new interviews with Sissy Spacek or director Brian De Palma. If you’ve never owned Carrie on Blu-ray or even if you have owned it before on Blu-ray, you need to buy this one. The transfer has been improved immensely. There is no longer a pink hue throughout the film. This is definitely the Blu-ray you need to get. However, before getting into the Blu-ray specifics, let’s get into the actual movie review.
RUN-TIME: 98 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1976
RELEASE DATE: Oct 11, 2016
Based on the best-selling Stephen King novel, this “absolutely spellbinding horror movie” (Roger Ebert) has become a pervasive, pop-culture touchstone for anyone who’s ever wanted to get even. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie deliver Oscar®-nominated* performances and John Travolta and Amy Irving are terrific in this ultimate revenge fantasy that has become one of the all-time great horror classics, and is now, finally, offered as a definitive, two-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray!
At the center of the terror is Carrie (Spacek), a high school loner with no confidence, no friends… and no idea about the extent of her secret powers of telekinesis. But when her psychotic mother and sadistic classmates finally go too far, the once-shy teen becomes an unrestrained, vengeance-seeking powerhouse who, with the help of her “special gift,” causes all hell to break loose in a famed cinematic frenzy of blood, fire and brimstone!
I’m pretty sure we all know the story of Carrie. I don’t think we can really spoil anything. Everybody already knows that Carrie has abilities to move stuff, she goes to the prom and BOOM, pig blood lands on her and she ends up going crazy and kills everyone. Not really much we can spoil with it, as the story has been around for 40 years, with unnecessary remakes and sequels.
Nevertheless, if you’re interested in the gist of the story here it is. Carrie White is a shy, awkward girl played by Sissy Spacek. Everyone in the school makes fun of her. Even the gym teacher who has her back most of the time still talks about her. One scene in particular, where a certain guy asks Carrie to go to the prom, the gym teachers asks him point blank, what do you think people are going to think when they see you with Carrie White? That to me is a very cruel thing to say because there is nothing wrong with Carrie White. She’s awkward, so what? That doesn’t mean there should be anything wrong with being seen with her. I thought that was a neat way to show that even people who are friends with her are still looking down on her.
Not only is Carrie being picked on at school all the time, but at home as well. Her mother is a fanatic religious bigot, played amazingly well by Piper Laurie. When her mother finds out that Carrie had her first period–unfortunately for Carrie it happens during a shower in the locker room–at the age of 18, she flips. She believes that her having her period is a sign of sin. (Not sure what bible she is reading.)
Once Carrie discovers she can move things with her mind, the film doesn’t actually focus on her being able to do this crazy stuff, it’s more used as a precursor to the events that will unfold later on.
The reason for Carrie ending up at the prom is because of Sue Snell, who made fun of Carrie at the beginning of the film and now feels awful. She asks her boyfriend Tommy (played dreamily by William Katt) to take Carrie to the prom. He agrees and Carrie is a little reluctant at first, but she does decide to go, going against her mother’s best judgement, who fears they are all going to laugh at her.
Once at the prom, Carrie is looking beautiful and Tommy is starting to fall head over heels for her and everything is going great. However, Nancy Allen’s character Chris is not having any of this. Due to her making fun of Carrie and disobeying the gym teacher, Chris isn’t allowed to go to the prom, so she convinces her boyfriend Billy (John Travolta in his film debut) to get back at Carrie. They slaughter a pig, rig the Prom King and Queen ballet and before we know it, blood hits the fan or in this case, the telekinetic prom queen.
I don’t really need to tell you any more about what happens, as most everyone knows already. What I do want to tell you is how amazing this film looks, sounds and runs. The pacing of this film is marvellous. There is no slacking and everything flows. The music is sublime. There are hints of Psycho’s stinger, as musician Pino Donaggio does an homage to Bernard Herrmann. Originally, it would have been Herrmann doing the music, but sadly he passed away. Donaggio, however, does an amazing job. Carrie’s theme is a beautiful melody, but there are some many bits of music that stand the test of musical time.
As for the way the movie looks, it’s just incredible. Brian De Palma is known for shooting some amazing looking scenes (Raising Cain tracking shot anyone?) and Carrie also has a fantastic one-take-shot where Carrie is on stage and we know the blood will drop at any moment. The combination of fluid camera movements with suspenseful music has the viewer on edge.
Perfection comes full term during the prom. The split screen view combined with low-key music and tons of carnage. Carrie covered in blood, everyone is screaming and the fire is raging. It’s all pure perfection.
There is no reason to not watch Carrie. However, there are many reasons to not watch the remakes or the sequel (although, I do enjoy The Rage: Carrie 2 for some odd reason). All you really need to do is watch this version. Screw everything else!
As for the Scream Factory Blu-ray, the video is astounding. The reds of the blood and the orange of the fire pops in this transfer. The aforementioned pink tone issue of previous releases has been completely rectified. As for sound, there is a DTS 5.1 soundtrack and a 2.0. I listened to the 5.1 and everything was fine. Good use of soundscape, with no hissing or distortion.
The first disc special features has a trailer for the film and trailers for the other Carrie films (Rage 2, remakes). There is no commentary, though.
Now on to the second disc, you have several new interviews with cast and crew. You have interviews with the editor, photography, writer (Lawrence Cohen, not Stephen King). They are all highly informative and most land over the 20-minute mark. You also have a lot of features included on previous releases. Another new feature is the Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, visiting the shooting locations with Sean Clark. Rounding everything out is numerous galleries, trailers and TV spots. This is definitely the version you want to own. You can dump everything else.
- NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Negative
- Original Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Carrie Franchise Trailer Gallery
- NEW More Acting Carrie – featuring interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg and P.J. Soles (20 minutes)
- NEW Writing Carrie – an interview with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen (29 minutes)
- NEW Cutting Carrie – an interview with editor Paul Hirsch (25 minutes)
- NEW Shooting Carrie – an interview with director of photography Mario Tosi (15 minutes)
- NEW Casting Carrie –an interview with casting director Harriet B. Helberg (16 minutes)
- NEW Bucket of Blood – a new interview with composer Pino Donaggio (24 minutes)
- NEW Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Film’s Original Locations (11 minutes)
- Acting Carrie – Interviews With Actors Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Priscilla Pointer and P.J. Soles And Art Director Jack Fisk And Director Brian De Palma (43 minutes)
- Visualizing Carrie – Interviews With Brian De Palma, Jack Fisk, Lawrence D. Cohen, Paul Hirsch (41 minutes)
- A Look At “Carrie: The Musical” (6 minutes)
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots
- Still Gallery – Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters And Lobby Cards
- Stephen King And The Evolution Of Carrie Text Gallery
Carrie is a masterpiece. The music, the look, the story; everything just clicks. The other thing that clicked, is how almost perfect this Blu-ray is. Sadly, there are no interviews with certain key members and no commentary. However, basing it on the transfer along, this is definitely version you want to have. What better way to experience the wonderful Carrie then with this release. Pick it up for sure.