Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Carrie: Then and Now

Carrie: Then & Now

I didn’t start watching horror movies until a few years ago. They terrified me. Heck, even I Know What You Did Last Summer gave me nightmares. Somewhere in the past few years though, I’ve started to loooooove watching scary movies. (Well, SOME scary movies, anyway. I still have a hard time watching ones about ghosts and exorcisms.) I think it helps now that there’s someone I can keep awake with me when I have nightmares. ;)

When it was out in theatres last year, I jumped at the chance to see the 2013 Carrie – I adore ChloĆ« Grace Moretz and she looked absolutely phenomenal in this movie. I’m so happy that I saw it in theatres because I loved this remake. That said, though, I hadn’t seen the original 1976 movie until last week. (Huzzah for Netflix!)

For those who don’t know, Carrie tells the story of a girl with telekinesis who is bullied in school. When one particular girl ruins her prom night, all hell is let loose. These movies are based on Stephen King’s novel Carrie, which was first published in 1974 (and was his first published novel).

I have not read the book – in fact, I haven’t read ANY of King’s books – so I don’t know how true either of these movies are to the book. I’m sure there are some things that the book communicates so much better than the movies do. I’m sure I would like some characters more and others a lot less in the book. But I was able to go into these movies without any preconceived notions as to how it SHOULD be (which, is highly unusual for me when it comes to movies based on books).

How Does the New One Compare to the Older One?

I’m really glad that I finally saw the original one. There were some things that I really thought the older one did better, and some things that I think the remake did better, but for the most part, the remake is a very good representation of the original movie. It does update it, but still manages keeps the same feeling to it.

One thing that both John and I found with the original one was that it didn’t necessarily explore the motivations behind some characters actions. For example, the scene where one of the high school girls tries to run Carrie over with her car – John (who hasn’t seen the remake) couldn’t understand why on earth she would feel the need to do that. The remake explored this scene A LOT better.

That said, though, in my opinion, the original did the last scene of the movie much better… it was scarier the way it was shown in the 1976 movie.

The Casts

The 1976 film saw two Academy Award nominations for acting – one for Sissy Spacek (Carrie) and one for Piper Laurie (Carrie’s mother). Watching it now, however, I’m not sure that if this exact same movie was up against other current movies it would still be nominated for these awards. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was really good compared to other movies at that time, but I think we have come to expect a higher level for awards nominations.

In the 2013 remake, I think Julianne Moore was utterly amazing. She portrayed Carrie’s mother in a completely different way than Laurie – Moore’s version was much more damaged and disturbing. Laurie’s version seemed more pious than anything else.

I mentioned already that I adore ChloĆ« Grace Moretz… I think she did a really good job as Carrie. It’s hard to say, though, whether I preferred her interpretation of the young girl, or if I preferred Spacek’s version. Both made the character very believable and empathizable.

The Creepy Factor

So, let’s talk horror stuff! I think in both cases, the scariness of the movie wasn’t from Carrie’s powers… for the most part. I guess when there are so many movies that deal with superheroes and people with superpowers, telekinesis itself doesn’t seem spooky. Mind you, from the perspective of Carrie’s mother, a devout Christian, this would be terrifying if you believed such powers were of the devil… but for the majority of us, not really that scary now.

Instead, what seemed most terrifying was what could happen if the wrong powers got into the hands of someone who wasn’t prepared to use them properly, and someone who wasn’t emotionally mature or stable enough to use her powers wisely.

There was also how people treated Carrie… my goodness, especially her mother! Locking her in a closet? So not cool. At all. Or what about how her classmates bullied her? Not fun at all. And while this may not be creepy per se, it is still horrifying when you look at how people are willing to treat other people.

As mentioned previously, I think what the original did really good was the last scene. The remake shows this last scene as if it were real, whereas the original shows it as if this scene were a dream… in all honesty, the dream sequence made it so much scarier. Both John and I jumped at this scene in the original, where I just laugh in delight at this scene in the remake.

Well THAT Wasn’t PC.

It’s always a little shocking when watching an older movie and coming across something that you wouldn’t see in a modern movie. You can’t help but wonder how (a) this made it into the movie in the first place without all kinds of throwback and (b) how this stuff would change the story if told in the same way today.

In the 1976 movie, there’s a teacher that slaps the students. Multiple students. On multiple occasions. Wow, if that happened in the remake, you can be sure that it would be explored more. Instead, the 2013 movie presents Carrie’s gym teacher as a much more sympathetic character, who doesn’t need to resort to violence to keep control of her students.

What do you think?

Have you seen both these movies? Did you think the 2013 remake was true to the 1976 movie? If you’ve read the book, how do you find these movies compare to the book?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:20 am May 13, 2014.
Category: Movies

  • Mona (Moxie-Dude)

    You are way braver than I. I cannot watch scary movies. That said, I did watch the original version (a very long time ago) and your review reminded me that it really was a great movie at the time.

  • Courtney Wilson

    I didn’t used to be able to watch scary movies! I find that really bad horror movies are easier to watch because all I do is laugh at them.

    That said though, I still can’t watch them when I’m alone!

  • A.Co est. 1984

    EEP!! I hate scary movies so I won’t be watching the new one (nor did I see the old one). That said, did you ever see that coffee shop prank set up by a filming crew?? Google it, it was to promote the new Carrie film and was freaking/funny to see how people reacted!

  • Anne A. Radcliffe

    I know what you mean about content sort of dating and not becoming shocking anymore. The one huge exception to the rule I think is the Exorcist. I still find the original Exorcist shocking and have a hard time watching it. I somehow doubt they would ever let the movie be made that way again.

  • Bibliomama

    I love scary movies – genuinely scary movies, with good writing, which can be really hard to find. I’ve read the book and I thought it was quite good – it’s done documentary-style, with interviews and news clippings, which works. I haven’t seen the new version of the movie, and I’m actually not sure I’ve seen the old one either, at least not all of it, although I’ve have dim recall of certain scenes. I love Chloe Grace Moritz and Julianne Moore, so I probably will at some point.

  • Jenn vanOosten

    I haven’t watched it – I’m not a scary movie person – I had a friend in grade 7 & 8 who loved watching them, so I’ve watched a few (“The Thinner” by Stephen King being one of them…), but I try to avoid them. I did read Carrie a few years ago, though, and it wasn’t super creepy – not much more than a step up from the YA Goosebumps books…

  • Courtney Wilson

    The coffee shop prank was pure marketing genius!

  • Courtney Wilson

    I keep telling myself that I need to watch the Exorcist, but I’m so afraid to! But it still stands up to being scary today? Does anything else about it date it at all?

  • Courtney Wilson

    Really scary ones? Did you see Insidious? Or the Woman in Black? Those ones both terrified me, and John actually enjoyed them (he too only likes genuinely scary movies with good writing like you)

  • Courtney Wilson

    Hahaha, the Goosebumps and Fear Street books were AWESOME though! :)

  • Bibliomama

    Insidious was pretty good, although I found it a little weird, how the whole haunting thing was normalized and made almost scientific pretty early on. I haven’t seen the movie of the Woman in Black but I’ve seen it as a play and it scared the crap out of me. I just saw Oculus, and it was really good.

  • Anne A. Radcliffe

    Ususal things… mostly the production quality and the way they edit, which is pretty standard with most of the older movies! Pacing is so much different in movies over 20 years old.

  • Kyla @ Mommy’s Weird

    I am too scared to watch anything. But, I like to read the transcripts of scary shows. For example, I have never watched AHS, but have read each episode. I’m an odd duck.