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Carrie

Year: 1976
Director: Brian de Palma
Writer: Stephen King
Cast: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, Piper Laurie, William Katt
The film that put personalities from Sissy Spacek and John Travolta to director de Palma and author King (to those movie fans who didn't know him) on the map.

Also one of the most faithful adaptations of a King novel, owing to the beautiful simplicity of the idea. A young girl on the verge of adulthood (Spacek) is bought up with hatred and repression by her devoutly religious mother (Laurie).

When the inevitable happens, from menstruation to an interest in boys, her screwed-up mother reacts with even more abuse and ferocity. It doesn't help that Carrie is violently telekinetic, making her feel even more of an outcast with the unexplained powers she can't control.

It isn't until the final scenes of the prom when the horror really breaks out; until then (which few people realise), King was making a strong statement about how hard puberty is.

As teenagers, we all feel like freaks some time, we all want to be accepted and cool but we all feel humiliated and outcast by the cruelties of other kids. We all have conservative authority figures - everyone from parents to the church - telling us how to behave. And we all have bizarre and terrifying chemical reactions and changes going on in our bodies that we can't control but which threaten to overtake us.

Carrie (as it was later said of Ginger) snaps, and her outburst is metaphorical of the actions of a kid pushed too far by bullying or parental restrictions, although in a cinematic sense, the most bloodthirsty rampage of revenge until Kill Bill.

In fact, de Palma seems to make blood a strong theme. It's symbolic of Carrie becoming a woman, as the blood of her first menstrual cycle (something she knows nothing about) makes her hysterical that she's bleeding to death.

Later, her tormentors dump pigs blood on her, and one of the most iconic images in cinema is still the young girl, once-resplendent in her prom dress, never having looked so lovely, her eyes now wide with disbelief and drenched with blood.

If you don't cringe with sympathy watching the mousy Carrie standing on the stage, never having been so happy at being loved and popular among her peers, everyone but her knowing it's a cruel trick, you've never been a teenager. The smile of Spacek's face is enough to break your heart as the bucket starts to tip.

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