Growing up, some girls had movies like Foxes and Little Darlings that they loved, and I did too, when I was finally deemed old enough to watch them. I didn’t get to see these movies until later because I was 11-years-old when they were released, but what I did get to see was another heartwarming coming of age movie that I absolutely adored, entitled Carrie. My parents had trepidation about slightly raunchy teen sex comedies, but they had no issue with me seeing horror movies, and Carrie terrified and captivated me when I was a little kid.
The movie, as most of you know, is based on a novel by Stephen King and tells the story of a very shy, timid teen played by Sissy Spacek who or some bizarre reason has telekinetic powers and for some other unexplained even more bizarre reason, doesn’t get her period until she is 17. I know not starting to menstruate until that age isn’t impossible, it’s just unusual, but so is being able to like make bratty kids who tease you fall off their bike. The shower scene when Carrie first gets her period is still one of the most terrifying depictions of menses ever filmed. NSFW Warning: Nudity + really cheesy “girl you are becoming a woman” instrumental music:
And then all the mean girls in the locker room led by a pre- Rock And Roll High School P.J. Soles chant “Plug it up” to poor Carrie who has no idea what the hell is going on and throw tampons and sanity napkins at her head. It’s one of the most cringe-worty and distressing scenes in cinematic history, and this movie is full of them. Piper Laurie plays Carrie’s zealot mother and when Carrie goes home to tell her mom she started her period her mother hits her with a bible, makes her recite creepy biblical passages and locks her in the terrifying prayer closet. What.The.Hell.
I’m not sure in the Carrie remake 2013 Julianne Moore, who I do love, will be able to portray the insanely evil Margaret White like Piper did 37 years ago, with the “dirty pillows” ranting and the hair pulling and the sheer manic religious zealotry that was somehow even more terrifying than seeing poor Carrie White being doused with gallons of pig blood orchestrated by the young John Travolta.
It’s so weird to look back on Carrie as an adult, and realize what a feminist movie it actually is. It has bullying, sex-shaming, child abuse, and then a young girl who sort of totally loses her shit and burns everything down to the ground in this defiant ultimate portrayal of feminist “fuck all you fuckers.” I’m really excited about showing this to my own daughter when she is older.
The remake also stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie, and I liked her in a lot of roles I have seen, but I’m not sure she has that sort of ethereal pretty-homely spooky vibe of the young Sissy Spacek. I’ll for sure go see it when it comes to theaters this summer, it’s directed by Kimberly Peirce who did the heartbreaking Boy’s Don’t Cry, but I hope it leaves all the weird angsty teenage coming-of-age stuff in it, because that is what made Carrie such a profound and revolutionary movie to begin with.