Carrie (1976) Blu-ray Review – Has this Stephen King classic been restored well?

I’m a fan of both Stephen King and director Brian De Palma’s work so with Carrie being turned into a film in 1976 that should be the perfect combination. Having seen the film several times over the years I know how it turned out. However Carrie has finally made it on to Blu-ray having undergone a 4K restoration hopefully meaning this supernatural classic can be once again experienced how it was intended, so without further ado here’s my Carrie (1976) Blu-ray Review.

  • Carrie (1976) Limited Edition / Standard Edition
  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed by Brian De Palma
  • Based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King
  • Running Time: 98 Mins
  • UK Rating 18
  • Discs: 1
  • Released By Arrow Video
  • Blu-ray Released: 11 December 2017 (Limited Edition) / 16 April 2018 (Standard Edition)
Plot

Carrie is an incredibly shy 16 year old girl that suffers from low self esteem mainly as a result of her strict and religious mother. In fact it is due to this that Carrie experiences a truly horrifying event whilst taking a shower at school. In front of her classmates she has her first period but this event is far worse for Carrie as she has no idea what is happening due to her sheltered upbringing. She pleads for help from the other schoolgirl’s but this only results in them laughing and mocking her.

Following this deeply disturbing event Carrie discovers that something within her has been awakened, if she focuses really hard on an object she can in fact move it with her mind.

With the school prom only days away student Tommy Ross insists that she accompany him to the prom. Is this a genuine gesture or will Carrie again be the butt of the joke?

Style / DirectionCarrie (1976) Blu-ray Review

The film is directed by Brian De Palma with the cinematography side of things that’s taken care of by Mario Tosi. Several times throughout the film De Palma goes for a soft focused dreamlike misty effect in scenes featuring Carrie. This certainly adds to the strange and surreal feel the story requires. You will probably notice me using the word powerful a lot throughout this film review and that really is the one word that sums up Carrie.

De Palma uses several other techniques to create a truly surreal looking and feeling movie including some impressive camera angles, slow motion sequences and split screen as well as the misty dreamlike effect I mentioned earlier.

42 years after its release the film still evokes that disturbing feeling and is still as shocking today which is a testament the overall quality of the story and filmmaking.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is composed by Pino Donaggio, he delivers an outstanding score and main theme whilst borrowing heavily off Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho for those chilling shrieks used in Hitchcock’s legendary shower scene. It all works perfectly and in no small way improves the feel and mood.

In fact in the films pivotal scene the use of selected audio really ramps up the sheer indignity of the visuals. It’s cleverly done and significantly enhances the sequence.

Acting / Characters

Take a quick look at the list of actors below, all of them play their roles exceptionally well with Sissy Spacek as Carrie White in particular producing a truly remarkable performance and one that still defines her to this day. I’m fairly sure if another actress had have been cast the film would not be as revered as was and still is.

Nancy Allen plays Chris the good-looking popular girl that decides Carrie must be completely humiliated due to her being made to take a detention or miss the school prom for mocking Carrie in the shower. She plays the roles well and is aided in her revenge by her boyfriend Billy Nolan played by another famous actor a certain John Travolta. These two add a lighter more comical side that the film is in need of.

Keep an eye out for Michael Talbott, he only has a small role in Carrie but would go on to play Detective Stan Switek in excellent American TV cop show Miami Vice.

Cast
  • Sissy Spacek as Carrie White
  • Piper Laurie as Margaret White
  • Nancy Allen as Chris Hargensen
  • Amy Irving as Sue Snell
  • William Katt as Tommy Ross
  • Betty Buckley as Miss Collins
  • John Travolta as Billy Nolan
  • P.J Soles as Norma Watson
  • Sydney Lassick as Mr. Fromm
  • Stefan Gierasch as Principal Morton
  • Priscilla Pointer as Eleanor Snell
  • Edie McClurg as Helen Shyres
  • Michael Talbott as Freddy
Conclusion – Carrie (1976) Film Review

Some forty plus years later Carrie still remains an extremely powerful piece of filmmaking. Those passing years have done nothing to lessen its impact upon release. Brian De Palma delivers a powerful vision of Stephen King’s story whilst the casting is simply inspired. Sissy Spacek delivers a career defining performance and one some forty years later she simply cannot escape from, not that is a bad thing. After all surely every actor wants to be remembered for one of their finest performances.

So in summary add Carrie to your must have / must see list of films as movies like these rarely come around and because of their impact studio executives simply can’t resist re-making them. My advice is to skip the 2013 version and stick to the mind of Stephen King, the vision of Brian De Palma and the one and only Sissy Spacek as Carrie White.

If you like my Carrie (1976) Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:

Brian De Palma delivers a powerful vision of Stephen King’s story whilst the casting is simply inspired.

Carrie (1976) Blu-ray Review

The film’s undergone a full 4K restoration and looks absolutly magnificent, this is the way it should look, free from any annoying marks and perfect colours. I have to give them 10 out of 10 for this restoration / Blu-ray release it’s the must have and definitive version.

So on to the extras and there’s a lot to take in as you can see from the list below. The must see extras have to be “Acting Carrie” and “Visualising Carrie: From Words to Image” but the entire set of extras are a film fan’s dream come true.

The “Limited Edition” has long since sold out with versions only available via third party sellers for around £37. If you are happy with the standard version which is fine and has the same disc content then the only things you don’t get is a booklet and collector cards and it’s still readily available.

Extras
  • Commentary by Lee Gambin & Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Acting Carrie (43 mins)
  • More Acting Carrie (20 mins)
  • Visualising Carrie: From Words to Image (42 mins)
  • Singing Carrie: Carrie The Musical (6 mins)
  • Writing Carrie (29 mins)
  • Shooting Carrie (15 mins)
  • Cutting Carrie (25 mins)
  • Casting Carrie (16 mins)
  • Bucket of Blood (24 mins)
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (11 mins)
  • Comparing Carrie (21 mins)
  • Alternate Opening (4 mins)
  • Gallery
  • Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Carrie Trailer Reel

On to my movie rating for Carrie (1976)Recommended Films

  • Movie Rating: MUST SEE
  • Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
  • Extras: EXCELLENT

 

 


Carrie (1976) is available now on Blu-ray.

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Limited Edition Arrow Story

And now the Standard Edtion Bluray

Oh and the theatrical trailer…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

So that’s the Carrie (1976) Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

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Carrie (1976) Blu-ray Review

Director(s): Brian De Palma

Actor(s): Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, William Katt, Betty Buckley, John Travolta, P.J Soles

Genre: Horror

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras
4.83

Summary

Brian De Palma delivers a powerful vision of Stephen King’s story whilst the casting is simply inspired.

Pros

  • 4K Restoration
  • Based on the Stephen King novel
  • Directed by Brian De Palma
  • Good Story
  • Excellent Acting
  • Stylishly Filmed

Cons

  • Nothing of note

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