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Carrie

Fatal Femmes

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Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s debut novel marks a highpoint in both De Palma’s directorial career and the long list of King’s works adapted for the screen. The film was an instant critical and commercial hit and its climactic prom scene remains one of the most iconic sequences in horror film and wider pop culture history to this day.

“…its climactic prom scene remains one of the most iconic sequences in horror”

Sissy Spacek was Oscar-nominated for her performance as shy, tortured teenager Carrie White, relentlessly tormented by her peers at school and abused by her religious fanatic mother (an Oscar-nominated turn by Piper Laurie) at home. Spacek utterly convinces as Carrie, all painful nervous energy and wide-eyed intensity until the character finally snaps, where her physicality practically transforms in front of our eyes and she becomes one of cinema's most enduring female horror icons. Despite capturing the cruelty of American high school life in excruciating detail, it’s to De Palma’s credit that the film never feels like it’s revelling in its title character’s misery, instead making Carrie a figure of sympathy and empathy, and in the process creating one of cinema’s most compelling and disruptive coming-of-age tales; it’s no accident that the film’s very first scene sees Carrie experiencing her first period while at school, a sequence that immediately skewers the inherent misogyny that persists throughout many of its horror contemporaries.