Oct 22 2013
Nothing compares the novel’s insight into the iconic telekinetic’s mind, but I actually enjoyed all three film versions of Carrie. Yes, that’s three – many forget or never heard of the 2002 television movie remake, which actually incorporated things from the book that DePalma’s original cut out. Here I rank all three films based on direction, promotion, cast and terror level. And no, we’re not dignifying The Rage: Carrie 2 with any further nod to its horrible attempt at a sequel. Absolutely abysmal – Jason London, FOR SHAME.
Posters/Slogans and More
My, how the times have changed. Take a look at the poster from 1976, featuring both prom-queen Carrie and pig-blood possessed Carrie. “If only they knew she had the power” makes me think of She-Ra and He-Man. Although a made-for-TV movie, 2002’s poster combines both into one, and marketing materials for the film featured a similar tagline of “For a night you won’t forget…. Join Carrie at the prom.” Blah and boring. This year’s poster and slogan feature a Wayne’s World worthy extreme close-up, superimposed with the foreboding message “You Will Know Her Name.” Simple, subtle and sublimely spooky – I like the understated mystery conveyed here. This poster is practically interchangeable with Moretz’s other creeptastic role as the vampire Abby from Let Me In, but the formula works. And of course, there was the viral marketing.
Carrie 2013. Because I would seriously need a change of pants if I saw anything resembling this in a Starbucks.
The “classic” was directed by Brian De Palma, director of little known films such as Scarface and Carlito’s Way. No stranger to nudity or controversy, De Palma cemented his fame with Carrie, developing his trademark split-screen technique and helping to launch the careers of Sissy Spacek and John Travolta, who played Chris Hargensen’s “stupid” boyfriend Billy Nolan.
By comparison, 2002’s remake was directed by David Carson (who looks thoroughly confused in the above picture) of Star Trek:Generations. Yeah, let that one sink in a bit. Kimberly Pierce directed this year’s reboot, to mixed reviews. Her short resume includes the critically acclaimed and controversial Boys Don’t Cry.
This one’s a no-brainer
Despite prolonged build-ups and spinning dance shots that made me nauseated, De Palma wins.
If its blood and visible body count you’re seeking, the original is for you. If you’re the type who likes widespread destruction and adjoining county decimation, stick with the more recent versions. While the first film shows little mercy towards the students inside the gymnasium, both Bettis and Moretz continue their reign of terror on the surrounding township, blowing up gas stations and sending manhole covers skyrocketing through the air like huge, fiery Pogs.
Three actresses have embodied King’s creepiest teen since the original film: Sissy Spacek (1976), Angela Bettis (2002) and now Chloë Moretz (2013). Spacek’s career has spanned decades and includes an Oscar win for her portrayal of country music star Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which she also portrayed a young teenager very convincingly. Fans of Girl, Interrupted may recognize Angela Bettis as the anorexic ballerina, and she portrays a very convincing Carrie in the tv version that was surprisingly not terrible.
So who’s the bloodiest queen of all?
Spacek, hands down. In this case, nothing compares to the original, wide-eyed, terrified vibe she gave off, often without saying a word. Bettis and Moretz were good, but Sissy Spacek is Carrie.
Forget wire hangers. This momma’s on a mission from God, and we ain’t talkin “it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses” kind. This fundamentalist would make Westboro Baptist rethink its stance on a few things. Stephen King has a way of putting the “holy shit” in dysfunctional families, and Margaret White tops the list of mortifying mothers. From Piper Lauri’s wild-haired martyrdom to Patricia Clarkson’s understated portrayal, to Julianne Moore’s creepy caricature, the mother of mayhem casts a mighty tall shadow across each film’s protagonist.
Who wins this round?
Mama number three, Julianne Moore. Piper Lauri’s Mother White was deranged and spastic, and Clarkson’s went out with a whimper, but I cringed when Moore covertly plunged a seam-ripper into her thigh in silent, masochistic penance, and then later clawed her way out of the kitchen closet. It’s the quiet, unassuming ones you have to watch out for.
Oh, Chris Hargensen – the quintessential bitch we all love to hate. Her arrogance is palpable. Nancy Allen originated the stone-cold senior who wasn’t afraid to seek revenge. Lost’s Emilie de Ravin and an oddly brunette Portia Doubleday reprise the roles in 2002 and 2013, respectively.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest bitch of all?
That’d be the original. The other two were too wishy-washy for my tastes – backing out at the last second, having moments of remorse, letting Billy order them around. The real Chris Hargensen wasn’t afraid to slap him back and call him a stupid shit, even if it was Travolta. And none of this pussying out stuff, either – Nancy Allen’s Chris was out for revenge and blood, and received both in abundance.
Pretty perfect Sue Snell. The duality of this character always intrigues. A spontaneous change of heart causes this “ultra” to regret tormenting Carrie White alongside her clique, and attempt to make amends by insisting her popular boyfriend take the social outcast to prom. Amy Irving in the original seemed a bit distracted, and this seemed to be re-channeled by 2013’s Gabrielle Wilde. It was a “blank slate” role that could have been filled by any rising Hollywood starlet – no real bark or bite.
Who really does the best 180?
BSG alum Kandyse McClure plays a snarky Sue Snell in the television version, one who steps up in more ways than one and stays true to the book (aside from the ridiculous new ending). She keeps you guessing as to her true motives, and becomes the only friend Carrie White ever had.
The original still remains the bloody belle of the ball. Each interpretation has its pros and cons – I loved the action scenes in the original, but the oft-lauded build up felt forced and unnecessary to me. The second film incorporated more of the novel’s original material, including flashbacks to Carrie’s youth (portrayed by a young Jodelle Ferland of Silent Hill fame) and her original means of dispatching Mama White (telekinetically stopping her heart, not stabbing her with kitchen utensils). With the newer versions, I appreciated the relevancy; 2002 Carrie looks up telekinesis on the Internet, in 2013 the popular girls take smartphone video of Carrie’s shower meltdown and broadcast it shortly after the prom pig-blood dumping. The improved special effects are a bonus, too. If I could take elements from each and combine them, I’d have a helluva mashed-up movie.
More Unreal Posts