Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Carrie (1976)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Carrie (1976)

In Brian De Palma's psychological horror tale, it told about extreme sexual repression for a gawky, awkward 'ugly duckling' teenaged girl who had been subjected to religious indoctrination by her ignorant, psychotic and fanatical mother; the classic horror film was adapted from a Stephen King novel (it was the first of King's published works to be adapted into a feature film); See Sex in Films for uncensored version

  • in the voyeuristic opening sequence (a slow-motion credits sequence set in a locker-shower room full of naked high school girls), terrified and lonely Carrie (Sissy Spacek) enjoyed the warm flow of a steamy shower - until she experienced the shock of her first menstruation (late-coming at age 17); naively thinking she was dying when she saw blood coming out of her, she cried out "Help me!"
  • Carrie endured cruel teasing by other insensitive classmates; popular yet abusive 'bad' girl Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) led the taunting and ridiculing of Carrie - a thoroughly humiliated, picked-upon menstruating teen. The jeering girls tossed tampons and sanitary napkins at her while they yelled: "Plug it up!"

Carrie: "Help me!"

Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) to Carrie: "Plug it up!"
  • suddenly, there was the first instance of Carrie's telekinetic power - one of the light bulbs in the ceiling burst. Carrie was protected and comforted by the PE instructor Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) from the taunting and ridiculing
  • Chris and some of the other girls were punished with a one week's detention, to perform exercises on the athletic field with Miss Collins; Chris defiantly forfeited her ticket to the prom when she told Miss Collins before stomping off: "THIS ISN'T OVER, THIS ISN'T OVER BY A LONG SHOT!" Chris (and some of her friends) spent the rest of the film setting in motion the plot to get revenge - to again humiliate Carrie at the HS prom, by dumping pig's blood on her
  • Carrie's obsessed, religiously-fanatical and stern mother Mrs. Margaret White (Piper Laurie) interpreted tormented Carrie's onset of menstruation as a sign of her oncoming impurity and had been subjecting her, throughout her entire life, to shame-inducing words ("Help the sinning woman see the sin of her days and ways. Show her that if she had remained sinless, the curse of blood would not be on her"). She described how Carrie's period was ordained by God: "God visited Eve with the curse. And the curse was the curse of blood....And he visited Eve with the second curse. And this was the curse of childbearing"
  • Mrs. White further warned Carrie about boys and prohibited her from going to her prom: ("Boys. Yes, boys come next. After the blood, the boys come. Like sniffing dogs...grinning and slobbering, trying to find out where the smell comes from, where the smell is. That smell!")
  • in the much-celebrated, exhilarating prom finale sequence, the camera circled counterclockwise around Carrie and dream date Tommy (William Katt) as they moved in the opposite direction; after Carrie was set up to be crowned the high-school's prom queen, she was cruelly doused by pig's blood in a bucket from above. In her mind, she heard tauntings: "They're gonna laugh at you," and "Plug it up!", and in her view (spinning around), she imagined the prom-goers laughing and jeering at her.
Carrie at the School Prom: The Blood Dousing Before Murderous Revenge
  • feeling humiliated, she sought psycho-kinetic, murderous revenge against the prom-goers (shown in split-screen); following her cruel teasing, she enacted a fatal and bloody aftermath of retribution with her telekinetic powers - an example of sublimated sexual rage; she massacred prom-attendees (by incineration, crushing, and electrocution)
  • seeking retribution, she caused the prom's exit doors to slam shut, and the lights to pop. An emergency fire hose snaked into mid-air and doused the party-goers, causing chaos, confusion, and bodies careening around the dance floor. Some were electrocuted (Mr. Fromm (Sydney Lassick)), crushed by falling rafters (Miss Collins (Betty Buckley)), trampled, or burned to death in the resulting fire
Carrie's Lethal Psychokinetic Powers
  • outside the school gym as Carrie walked home, she overturned a car attempting to hit her, driven by mean Billy Nolan (John Travolta) and Chris Hargensen, and she caused the flipped, rolled-over car to burst into flames
  • upon returning home in her blood-soaked prom dress, Carrie removed her blood-stained clothes, cleansed herself in the bathtub, and then wished for comfort from her mother (who appeared from behind the bathroom door). She asked to be hugged: "It was bad, Momma. They laughed at me...Hold me, Momma. Please hold me"
  • instead, as they knelt together, the ultra-religious, psychotic mother Mrs. White was self-critical about when she had conceived Carrie in a moment of sinful weakness and mistakenly carried her to term: " I should have killed myself when he put it in me. After the first time before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised and I believed him. The sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first it was alright. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him lookin' down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath, and he took me. He took me! With the stink of roadhouse whiskey on his breath. And I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touchin' of his hands upon me, all over me. I should have given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backsliding. And now, the devil has come home. Oh. We'll pray....We'll pray. We'll pray. We'll pray, for the last time, we'll pray"
  • suddenly, as she was reciting the Lord's Prayer, Mrs. White reached for a gleaming butcher knife and stabbed Carrie in the back as she was hugging her. The struggle traveled to the first floor, where Carrie had tumbled. Cornered in the locked kitchen, a fatal blow was about to be delivered by the raised knife; to stop the assault, Carrie used her telekinetic powers to send a projectile of another sharp knife to pin her mother's right hand against a wooden kitchen door pillar. Other kitchen objects (a peeler, another knife, and other cutlery and utensils) further pinned her mother's left hand (on the other side of the entryway) and also wounded her in the chest. One final knife spun into her mother's heart as the ultimate death blow
  • as the camera slowly pulled back, the image was of her suffering mother literally being crucified with her hands pinned to the sides by flying cutlery and kitchenware. She gasped in almost ecstatic religious pain and ecstasy, and then her head flopped to the side, with a slight martyred smile
  • Carrie pulled her mother off the kitchen door-frame, causing the house to creak and crumble, and the two were in the prayer closet as the house burned down around them. It literally sank and was swallowed into the ground. The Jesus effigy image in the closet had arrows in its chest, duplicating the position of the sharp objects embedded in Mrs. White body. Both perished in the blaze
Shock-Scare Ending
  • in the film's shock second ending - actually a recurring nightmare - Carrie's classmate Sue Snell (Amy Irving) (wearing all white with a bouquet of red flowers) went to put the flowers on Carrie's makeshift grave - on the site where the house had burned down. The FOR SALE sign had been converted into a cross, but had been vandalized with the words: 'Carrie White Burns in Hell!' Suddenly Carrie's bloody hand burst out of the ground at her from beyond the grave and grabbed her arm to pull her down into hell with her - the white-clad young girl screamed and suddenly woke up while recuperating in her bed at home, still screaming hysterically and being grabbed and held by her reassuring mother (Priscilla Pointer) ("It's all right, I'm here") as she experienced more nightmares [Note: The effective jump-scare moment was inspired by the concluding image in Deliverance (1972).]

Carrie's Shocking Menstruation in the High School Gym Shower

PE Teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) Comforting Carrie

Chris to Miss Collins: "This isn't over!"

Carrie with Crazed Mother Mrs. Margaret White (Piper Laurie)

At Prom, Rotating Camera Around Carrie with Dream Date Tommy

Upon Carrie's Return Home, She Was Stabbed in the Back By Her Mother

Carrie's Crucified Punished Mother by Knives Telekinetically Thrown at Her

Carrie In the Closet With a Jesus Effigy - Perishing in Blaze and Collapsing House


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