Saturday, October 19, 2013
Day Two Hundred and Ninety-two - Carrie, "They're all going to laugh at you~"
The film itself has this weird "after school special vibe." It vilifies teenage sex even while it revels in sexual imagery for the first half of the film. It's villains are openly sadistic and avid alcohol drinkers, and sloppily so. Watching John Travolta dribble Pabst Blue Ribbon while driving is more comical than cautionary. It's hard to imagine how his character has the brain power to operate a vehicle if he cannot master the rudimentary motions of drinking from a can.
Still, it's a brave film... simulating oral sex during the necking scene and, perhaps most importantly, that opening locker room sequence that is replete with full frontal nudity, however brief. It's an odd kind of saturnalia, that scene, which follows up with Sissy Spacek almost masturbating to the camera in the prologue to the infamous and traumatizing "plug it up" bit. I can't quite tell if De Palma was going for titillation or artistry... either way, it's suitably disturbing, if only from a social aspect.
The horror elements, though, are actually really, really tame. Carrie's powers are simple parlor tricks, even when she goes on her telekinetic rampage. And whether it's corn syrup or electrocution or death by car accident, there's nothing groundbreaking about the effects. In fact, when Travolta and Nancy Allen buy it in the rollover trying to mow Carrie down, the spinning camera trick is completely comical.
I think the only redeeming moment in that regard was when Piper Laurie (whom Couchbound readers will recognize from Twin Peaks where she plays Catherine) recreates the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian in her kitchen thanks to Carrie and quite a few knives and other sharp objects.
In regards to that death, she did kind of deserve it... even if she seemed orgasmic and rapturous as she died. Maybe she thought she was righteous enough, trying to kill her daughter, that she'd get into heaven.
Honestly, the only thing that creeped me out in the entire movie was that little Saint Sebastian figure with the glowing eyes in Carrie's prayer closet. I don't know if it was electric or if those eyes were the Devil's Hellfire themselves, I just know that I wouldn't want that thing anywhere near me.
Quick shout out to P.J.Soles who, for the life of me, looked like Carrie Fischer in this film. Bugged the heck out of me.
On the whole, Carrie feels more like a cautionary tale on bullying and fundamentalism than anything, a "worst of both worlds" message that evil comes in many guises. You can't help but feel sympathy for Carrie as she's damned if she does, damned if she doesn't with a mother and classmates like hers.
It's funny, I'll be watching the 2013 remake this weekend for A Review Too Far/The Void Zone. I wonder what the update is going to do to raise the stakes?
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~