Fem Goddesses of Horror: Carrie (Sissy Spacek)

CARRIE (1976) is one of my all-time favorite classics. I’ve always looked at the film as a love letter to the ostracized outcasts and the bullied loners that sat alone at home awaiting invitations to parties that never came.

As a child who adored horror films, I related to this quite a bit. At 12 years old, my friends included the video rental store clerks in town and a 30 something homeless dude that I collected cigarette butts for. Other than them, I had no one to talk to. I did, however, have a lot of time to daydream. I would sit at recess all alone as visions of Carrie White at prom danced in my head. Oh, how I wished I had her abilities.

Giving credit where its due, both Brian De Palma’s direction and Stephen King’s written word came together marvelously and the end result is a brilliant film. That said, the key component that made this work where the 1999 sequel, 2013 remake and 2002 TV pilot failed was Sissy Spacek’s perfect performance. She’s a goddess.

Spacek is a one-of-a-kind actress. If her name is on a production, I always watch and am never disappointed. She is unaffected in every role and can portray just about anything. In a movie that is close to both my and my boyfriend’s heart, BADLANDS (1973), Spacek shines as a young, in love and on the run girl who gets caught up in a crime spree.

As the titular character in KATHERINE (1975) we see her evolve from white collar, upper-class comfort to a radical activist in the Weather Underground. If that weren’t enough of an early resume, she also brought the great Loretta Lynn’s life to the screen in the fabulous biopic, COAL MINER’S DAUGTHER (1980).

In-between those brilliant films, sits CARRIE, which is just as magnificent. From the first moments, Sissy Spacek pulls the viewers in. She makes them sympathize with her character immediately. Carrie is bullied at gym class and then starts her period for the first time in the school shower. Her psycho, super-religious mom, Margaret (Piper Laurie) never had the talk with her. Carrie panics and the complete fear on her face when she sees the blood says it all. All I want to do is wrap a towel around her and say, “It’s all good. You’re going to be okay.”

Instead, the shitheads surround her and throw tampons chanting “plug it up” until the gym teacher finds her, in the corner of the shower in hysterics. Even the teach could be a little nicer. She shows a little empathy, but I still want to knock her out. Anyone with eyes can see Carrie’s trauma and pain, and nobody reaches out in any significant way to make a difference.

Oh, I want to kill all those motherfuckers. Everyone else may say that Carrie overreacted at prom. Fuck that noise! They deserved what they got!

Now, most of you cats will already know that Carrie isn’t the average bullied teen. Nope. This chick has telekinesis and can move things with her mind. She’s a badass and the move into puberty has made her powers stronger. When she becomes emotional, she tunes in completely.

Unfortunately, her shitty-ass mother doesn’t appreciate Carrie’s powers for what they are. Margaret thinks that Carrie got her period because she was thinking sexy thoughts, slaps her around and locks her in a closet. I hate Margaret so much. Here she is raising this rock-solid fem goddess who could easily wipe the floor with anyone that so much as looked at her cross-eyed, but Mommy fucking Dearest is stopping it with her batshit condemnation. She gaslights Carrie into being an insecure mouse afraid of her own shadow. I often wonder if Carrie had been raised by another dame, how her telekinesis would have been impacted or modified in strength.

The next day at school, the dipshit patrol gets their panties in a bunch for receiving a week-long detention after the tampon debacle. Head twat Chris (Nancy Allen) refuses the detention and instead is suspended from school and forbidden to go to prom. Of course, the bitch doesn’t think she deserves it. No. She blames Carrie. God, this movie makes me hate high-school all over again.

Chris enlists her boyfriend Billy Nolan who is portrayed by John Travolta. Travolta’s hair is banana-pants crazy in this movie. It’s somewhere between David Cassidy and Farrah Fawcett. I love the 70s, and I adore 70s hair, but not this. Never like this. His hair is just weird – very weird.

Anyways, together the horrid couple decide to screw over Carrie at prom. They concoct a plan to torture the poor girl, because apparently, she hasn’t been hurt enough. I hate those scumbags!

Meanwhile, Sue (Amy Irving) is another jackass wench who can go fuck herself. She feels bad about the shower incident, but I don’t care. She sucks and I hate her! She knew what she did was a completely cunty move, and did it anyways. I don’t care that she’s remorseful or that peer pressure was involved. Have a goddamn backbone, Sue, you frizzy-haired weirdo!

Sorry guys, I know Sue gets a whole lotta love, but not from me. I have no time for her epiphany that being a cruel dickwad is wrong. She can bite me.

Sue tries to play nice and has her boyfriend Tommy (William Katt) take Carrie to the prom. Tommy is actually a cool dude. He’s popular and fairly decent. William Katt also played The Greatest American Hero so I’m not allowed to hate him in anything. Those are the rules. Also, he didn’t really do anything wrong. He actually ends up kind of digging Carrie and is enjoying the dance.

When Carrie goes redhead, Tommy boy is just collateral damage. It isn’t Carrie’s fault! All those other motherfuckers caused it to go down the way it did. All Carrie wanted was to go to the dance, laugh and have a good time. Chris and Billy had to ruin everything by pouring pig’s blood on her.

Carrie’s evolution began with menstrual blood and these pricks made it go down a dark road when they let the Porky’s blood fall all over her pretty homemade dress. Yeah, Carrie made that gorgeous number, herself! There was just no going back, after that bullshit.

It is at that moment that we see Carrie in all of her Fem Goddess glory. She’s unafraid. She’s empowered. She’s free. No longer is she scared of defying God, her mother, teachers or her classmates. Nothing matters anymore! She doesn’t want to fit in or abide by their rules. She tried. She tried to do the right thing, over and over again, and every time she got screwed, so with that she lets her freak fly, and it is beautiful!

She stands above everyone on the stage, locks the doors, sprays everyone with a fire hose on full-blast and electrocutes any moron close enough to the mic and lights.

Then, slowly and methodically she walks while flames follow her engulfing the building. That’s my favorite scene. It’s like the fire and she are one. Don’t mess with a fem who can control fire or you’re going to get burned….and probably die. Yeah, those dummies all died.

Chris and Billy try to escape, and Chris is actually nuts enough to try and run over the blood-spattered prom queen. What a dumbass! That wretched bimbo is no match for Carrie Fucking White! Carrie just makes the vehicle spin over and erupt in flames. Boom! Bye-bye, jagoffs.

In the end, she returns home to Margaret for a little comfort. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go well.

I truly wish Carrie had lived. I don’t care about all those other bastards, but Carrie had a good heart and nothing that happened was her fault. She only was truly able come out of her shell once and it was in an insane way where a bunch of lame assholes had to die because they sucked super hard.

Had Carrie truly been able to master her powers and emotions, she would have owned the world. Still, at least she got to own prom.

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