Carrie is out now in a special Limited Edition Blu-ray release, and opens with a particular scene in a girl’s locker room which you definitely wouldn’t see today (which wasn’t in that form for the remakes, but check out the extras about that), but life’s bad enough when you’re the classmate no-one wants to be friends with, and then you hit upon an emergency which causes all them just to poke fun like bullies, who are very pig-unfriendly.
However, she soon discovers she has specific powers, leading to a lot of supernatural stuff kicking off, early on, which might just help her score a win over the others in the end. Meanwhile, her God-fearing mother, played by Piper Laurie, really can’t understand why her daughter has apparently sinned, but then that’s because her mother is heavily into religion and completely around the bloody bend! I mean, what do you expect from a women who refers to her daughter’s breasts as “dirty pillows”?!
It’s safe to say that the prom night doesn’t go as expected for Carrie (Sissy Spacek) – and she really doesn’t take it too well, but if you haven’t seen it, then I’ll give no spoilers. However, it is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema of all time. If you’re watching this Blu-ray, then it’s unlikely you’ll have bought it whilst knowing nothing about what happens, but if that’s the case, then try and skip the menu, as there are elements of that as part of the scenes.
There’s also occasional use of Brian De Palma‘s signature technique of splitting a frame in half, with one person in the foreground and one in the background, and both in focus (see the second picture), which is naturally impossible. I do love this feature, however.
A couple of other observations: I was also reminded of the Psycho theme-refrain in the shower scene, too, which was a nice touch from De Palma. Plus, Carrie doesn’t shock as much when you’re rewatching this, but there were some incredibly shocking scenes the first time round.
Oh, and there’s also early roles for Edie McClurg (Grace in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, plus the car rental lady in Planes, Traines And Automobiles) and it’s also the first major role for Nancy Travis, who starred alongside Peter Weller in the brilliant Robocop… and the not-so-brilliant Robocop 2. Yes, she was in Robocop 3, but as filming for that was done in 1991 (and the film not released until 1993 due to the collapse of Orion Films), Weller was unavailable by that time as he was making Naked Lunch. Hence, Robert John Burke stepped in.
And if you never knew before, Sissy Spacek’s name is pronounced “shPAH-chek,” which means “Starling”.
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and the picture is a little bit soft and grainy, although you rarely notice the latter too much, but then it’s a 40-year-old movie shot on 35mm, so it’s rare that it would look perfect. Okay, so it’s 41 years old, but all the new extras were put together last year, so I presume they’re on the US 2016 Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.
The audio options include a new DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack, but for the most part, I struggled to tell any difference from a basic stereo soundtrack, apart from a bit of use of DTS 5.1 in Carrie’s final scene.
There’s a bucketload of extras (Boom! Boom!) on this disc. I haven’t watched them all in full, but they are as follows, and anything longer than a few minutes is usually split into two chapters, although I’d have liked more on the long ones:
- Acting Carrie (42:42): A 2001 featurette with more cast members (including all the main ones) than you can shake a stick at, plus Brian De Palma.
- More Acting Carrie (20:19): A 2016 return in a new featurette with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg and PJ Soles. A shame Sissy Spacek isn’t in this, or any of the other new pieces, although she is in the above 2001 featurette.
- Visualising Carrie: From Words To Images (41:33): Bringing Carrie to the big screen, with De Palma, plus screenwriter Lawrence D Cohen, with editor Paul Hirsch and art director Jack Fisk. This featurette dates back to 2001.
- Singing Carrie: Carrie The Musical (6:24): A musical? I really didn’t expect that! We don’t see any singing, but with this piece being shot in 2001, it was made at the same time as the others from that time.
- Writing Carrie (29:07): A 2016 interview with Lawrence D Cohen, where he talks about his impressions on the original novel when he first read it.
- Shooting Carrie (15:22): A 2016 interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi.
- Cutting Carrie (25:09): A 2016 interview with editor Paul Hirsch, who talks about how the auditions for this were held at the same time as Star Wars, since both directors were looking for actors in the same age range, plus how it took TWO WEEKS to shoot the prom scene.
- Casting Carrie (16:03): A 2016 interview with casting director Harriet B Helberg, who talks of how many of the actresses in the film were considered for swapping roles around, including Amy Irving as Carrie.
- Bucket of Blood (23:53): A 2016 interview with composer Pino Donaggio, who’s Italian, so naturally, there are English subtitles for this piece.
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (11:25): A featurette about the film’s original locations. Even from the start, I knew this piece was a new one – not only is it shot in 16:9, but presenter Sean Clark has a ton of tattoos. Remember when being heavily tattooed was not a ‘thing’?
However, my hate of major tattoos aside, this is actually a brilliant extra, as I love it when you see locations then and now – The school netball court, the field, the gym, and so on – and see how the passing of time has changed things.
- Comparing Carrie (0:00): A new visual essay by Jonathan Bygraves, comparing the three screen versions of Carrie. Hang on… THREE?!! I knew there was this one, the 2013 remake with Chloe Grace Moretz, but I see… there’s a 2002 TV movie, with Angela Bettis as Carrie, and Six Feet Under‘s Patricia Clarkson as her mother.
I iniitally thought that the really good thing about this piece is that it saves you having to watch either of the other two versions… but then, the more I watched this, the more I’m intrigued to check them out.
- Alternate TV Opening (3:31): In the opening credits, the girls in the locker room ain’t naked, basically…
- Gallery: 44 on-set images.
- Trailer (2:06): In the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. It gives away a ton of spoilers, but it does say that it’s “introducing John Travolta” in his first motion picture role.
- TV Spots (3:11): 5 trailers for TV, which all have to tone things down, given the era.
- Radio Spots (1:29): Two radio trailers. Damn, you never see these on modern releases! There must be some, although I must admit I haven’t listened to a radio station for quite some time.
- Carrie Trailer Reel (6:09): Three trailers: Carrie (2002), The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) and the 2013 Carrie remake.
- Audio commentary: with Australian film critic and author of a number of movie-related book Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, and writer and film critic Lee Gambin.
Even on the check disc alone which I received, the extras are a definite 10/10, but the boxset also includes a reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Laz Marquez, and a Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell, author of Devil’s Advocates: Carrie, a reprint of the Final Girls 40th Anniversary Carrie-zine, and an archive interview with Brian De Palma.
The main menu features a short piece of the score set to clips from the film, there’s a bog-standard 12 chapters and subtitles are in English.
And now my SEO checker is about to explode because the focus keyword is “Carrie” and I’ve said that way too many times…
Carrie: Limited Edition is out now on Blu-ray and one of the most well-packed releases this year so is a must for any fan, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 98 mins
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: December 11th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35 mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Brian De Palma
Producers: Paul Monash and Brian De Palma (uncredited)
Screenplay: Lawrence D Cohen (based on the novel by Stephen King)
Music: Pino Donaggio
Carrie White: Sissy Spacek
Margaret White: Piper Laurie
Sue Snell: Amy Irving
Tommy Ross: William Katt
Chris Hargensen: Nancy Allen
Billy Nolan: John Travolta
Miss Collins: Betty Buckley
Norma: PJ Soles
Mrs. Snell: Priscilla Pointer
Mr. Fromm: Sydney Lassick
Mr. Morton: Stefan Gierasch
Freddy: Michael Talbott
The Beak: Doug Cox
George: Harry Gold
Frieda: Noelle North
Cora: Cindy Daly
Rhonda: Deirdre Berthrong
Ernest: Anson Downes
Kenny: Rory Stevens
Helen: Edie McClurg
Boy on Bicycle: Cameron De Palma
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.