(Originally written for a Genre's of Film class in 2012, in which I received a 100%)
Brian Depalma's 1976 film adaptation of Carrie generally classified as horror or thriller. This is largely due to the amount of death, violence, and the author of the original novel well known for this storytelling genres. Films of this time had quickly changing from the era of The Blob styles as it was becoming more and more risque. Halloween and Friday the 13th are prime examples of this depicted not only strong violence and gore but also excess nudity. Carrie is no different with regard to the nudity. Were the three minutes of nude girls running around the shower room that essential. Perhaps it is merely fluff to fulfill the expectation of nudity in a horror film. Understanding that, Carrie became the center of a particularly mean-spirited act when she fearfully discovered getting her first menstrual cycle. This is the start of a series of events that gradually cascade the audience down the rabbit hole, so to speak.
First and foremost, I never honestly considered this film to horror. I have always felt it should be better classified as a “coming of age” film. Puberty happens to us all at some point, and for Carrie, she was uninformed and not prepared what happens. In steps the mentor-type character to assist her in a better understanding what changes she going through, but also to help boost her self-esteem. Carrie is wildly unpopular. Even within the first few scenes prior to the shower scene; evidencing how much of a target she is for the other students, especially the other girls. Subsequent scenes show Carrie through a grimy gymnasium window. I believe this is an example of a reverse perspective. Meaning, rather than how Carrie sees the world, it is how the world sees Carrie.
Lesson's learned and growing as an individual is another common theme of coming of age stories. Sue - one of the classmates responsible for the infamous shower scene - after taking a scolding and detention from the Physical Education teacher has a change of heart and realizes the cruelty of what happened and attempts to make it up to Carrie. While Sue's intentions were good natured and full of heart, it also became the demise of not only Carrie, but also the rest of the students at the prom.
With the first instances of Carrie's pubescent event and the Physical Education teacher coming to her aid, we receive the first glimpse of her telekinetic abilities. This also would put the film under the Science fiction genre. The fact she begins researching this new gift in the library and quickly gains an understanding of it, gives it an almost dark essence as she begins using it to enforce her own wants and desires. Perhaps this dark essence is what gives way to the thriller genre, as well. The lighting surrounding Carrie in her own home is nearly nonexistent, and mass amounts of religious clutter seem to give symbolic meaning to how dark, and sheltered Carrie's fanatically religious mother kept her. Elements of what in the world we know today- would be child abuse, and that is not even including the “prayer closet.” While I am not usually keen on remakes or sequels, a newly envisioned Carrie is was released in 2013. I only hope it will be better storytelling than the 1999 film The Rage: Carrie 2. Two years later, I still haven't found the time to watch it.