4K UHD Review: “Carrie” (Collector’s Edition)

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

To you this might be the Christmas season, but to high schoolers, we’re at the start of prom season. Now is the time that they have to start checking out fancy dresses, considering dinner reservations, pricing limo companies and contemplating if the person they’re dating now will be their choice for a date. They also get to start begging for extra hours at their part time job to pay for this single fancy evening out. The prom is a nightmare with a steep price tag. High school is always a perfect place to set a horror film since high school often turns horrific without much help from inhuman monsters. The nightmares lurk around each hallway corner or hide inside lockers. They send evil messages through Number 2 pencils. Classmates are cruel. Teachers are indifferent. There’s no real escape from them since running for the hills will get you busted for truancy and denied admission to Harvard. “Carrie” pushes the nightmares of secondary education with a supernatural twist courtesy of Stephen King. Think of this as Mean Girls with fire instead of a slam book.

Carrie White (Coal Miner’s Daughter‘s Sissy Spacek) is the class outcast and suffers the pains of the cool kids. She can’t play volleyball. She is extra shy. She doesn’t dress well. She’s so bad off even the other socially inept kids don’t try to befriend her. She turns out that she’s developmentally a little behind the other girls. While showering after P.E. class, Carrie experiences her first period. She is completely unprepared for the event and freaks out. She races into the locker room era in a panic and gets her bloody hands on a few girls. The sharkish girls do smell blood and immediately attack her. The only thing that saves her is the gym teacher (Eight Is Enough‘s Betty Buckley). She decides to punish the girls that didn’t help Carrie including Amy Irving The Fury), Nancy Allen (Robocop) and P.J. Soles (Stripes). This really upsets the girls who want their ultimate revenge on Carrie. They plot the most horrific way to destroy Carrie’s soul at the upcoming prom. They even bring in boyfriends William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) and John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever) into plot. This is high school at its worst. What the girls don’t know is that not only has the period started Carrie’s transition into womanhood, but it’s also activated her supernatural telekinetic powers. Carrie’s mother (Twin Peaks‘ Piper Laurie) is a Jesus freak who wants to keep her daughter from sinning in anyway. But she’s not ready either for her spawn’s powers erupting.

The film helped a lot of talent graduate to the major entertainment careers. Carrie was King’s first novel turned into a movie and now the guy is his own genre. Director Brian De Palma had done several films previously including Phantom of the Paradise (also out from Scream Factory). But Carrie was the massive hit that allowed him to become a major filmmaker behind The UntouchablesScarface and Mission: Impossible. The youthful actors and actresses went on to be acting icons. While Carrie gets considered a horror film, it’s a great high school film on par with Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused. This is ultimately a film about a student being bullied. Except instead of loading up on gun and ammo for revenge, Carrie just wills her destruction on those that wronged her. “Carrie” is a well-rounded high school horror film that deserves its classic cinema diploma.

A few years ago Scream Factory came out with a double feature Blu-ray of Carrie & The Rage: Carrie 2. The Carrie on the double feature is a digital video remake from 2002 written by Bryan Fuller (TV’s Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). The Rage: Carrie 2 is the sequel starring Amy Irving as her original character dealing with another bullied outcast who might have supernatural power.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 4K transfer off the original camera negative brings out the tiny details in the high school and Carrie’s nightmarish bedroom. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that lets the music and mayhem of the prom surround your TV room. There’s also the original sound mix in 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray presentations. The movie is subtitled.

Audio Commentary with Joe Aisenberg is very informative about how Stephen King’s book became a film. Aisenberg wrote Studies In Horror Film: Carrie.

Blu-ray discs bonus features the audio commentary along with:

Writing Carrie (29:07) features screenwriting Lawrence D. Cohen breaking down how he went from reading the book to adapting it to the screen.

Shooting Carrie (15:22) interviews cinematographer Mario Tosi about getting a call from an unknown Brian De Palma about joining the production. He got a lot of freedom staging the shot and camera movement.

Cutting Carrie (25:09) cuts to editor Paul Hirsch. He had cut an early De Palma film, but had to take a break when De Palma needed a union editor. They rehooked up on Sisters and Phantom of the Paradise. He reveals that Brian and George Lucas cast Carrie and Star Wars at the same time. He opens up about wanting to do Star Wars instead of Carrie. There’s a very informative part about creating tension in a film to keep an audience hooked. He did get to cut Star Wars and won an Oscar for it.

Casting Carrie (16:03) visits with casting agent Harriet Helberg. She gives background on putting the actors together for the high schoolers.

Acting Carrie (42:42) has De Palma discuss how fearless his young cast was. William Katt showed up to be Luke Skywalker at the casting session.

More Acting Carrie (20:19) are recent interviews with William Katt, Betty Buckley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, and Edie “Mrs. Marv Mendenhall” McClurg. Katt recounts the fire at the prom. Even cooler was how he auditioned with Kurt Russell for Luke and Han.

Visualizing Carrie (41:32) brings together De Palma, Jack Fisk, Cohen and Paul Hirsch to recount how it went from De Palma buying a copy of the novel to the set.

Bucket of Blood (23:53) sits back with composer Pino Donaggio. He speaks Italian, but there’s English subtitles.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (11:25) takes us on a trip of the locations with host John Clark. He even takes us to the pig farm which still has the same painted wall. Amazingly enough after all these year’s Carrie’s old house location is a vacant lot.

Carrie the Musical (6:23) reminds us of the film’s theatrical turn. The Broadway production had issues including the fact that the British director had no clue what a prom was.

TV Spots (3:11) takes us to the most horrifying prom.

Radio Spots (1:29) probably played on the cool FM station on your drive to school.

Still Gallery has behind the scenes pics, posters and lobby cards.

Stephen King and the Evolustion of Carrie Text Gallery is an essary about how King wrote his first published book.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06) makes us understand that no one like Carrie White.

Carrie Franchise Trailer Gallery
 (4:12) covers the other films that have also been released by Scream Factory as a double feature.

Scream Factory presents “Carrie”: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Brian De Palma. Screenplay by: Lawrence D. Cohen. Starring: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving and William Katt. Boxset Contents: 1 4K UHD disc and 2 Blu-ray discs. Running Time: 98 minutes. Rated: R. Released: December 13, 2022.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.