There is little dispute that the 1976 film adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie is considered a horror classic, but the tale of a misfit telekinetic teen lashing back against her oppressors desperately needed the makeover treatment. Nothing against Brian De Palma and his beloved split diopter techniques, but some horrible 70's porn musical cues, a cast of "teens" who were almost in their thirties, and the lack of technology to properly showcase the wrath of Carrie's power bring my enjoyment level down a bit these days. Even though Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie are still rock solid as the dysfunctional mother daughter duo, Carrie is so very....dated.
The split diopter and deep focus still impress...
....but is that a teacher on Carrie's left or classmate? It's often hard to tell with a 20-something cast
While bullies have been around for ages, today's technological advances make them able to strike their victims beyond the reach of the schoolyard. Cyber bullying has now become a popular torture technique, and CNN recently reported that two Florida teens stand accused harassing a classmate online until she committed suicide. This is a subject I'd like to see explored more on film, and the cruelty of Carrie's peers in the King story make it a perfect opportunity for contemporary reflection.
But what about that ultimate prom-gone-wrong? This is where the remake could really shine. In Carrie 76, Spacek's vengeful gaze and some creative editing were enough to sell the audience into thinking they are seeing more carnage than they are. But the only thing she really does is slam some doors, levitate a hose, and cause electrical fire hazards. They likely just didn't have the FX budget or technology to give this key moment in the story the treatment it properly deserves. Carrie's bullies must be punished, and it must be epic in every sense of the word. Today's FX artists should be able to provide the fix.
Spacek's presence still makes her an appealing queen during the 76 prom debacle
...but modern FX should make Carrie 2013 THE new queen of telekinetic wrath
De Palma's film still sits proudly in my movie collection, and I don't feel the new version of Carrie will necessarily be better than the original. I'm even a bit skeptical because the review embargo has not yet been lifted so close to release, and that typically spells bad news. But the themes for Carrie resonate as powerfully now as they did when King wrote his book almost 40 years ago. Hollywood is creatively bankrupt, but this is a redo I can get behind. Let's hope they're not all going to laugh at you Carrie 13!