Headscratchers / Carrie

  • Why did Carrie torment Sue in the Nightmare Sequence? Wouldn't she be granted an exception?
    • In the book, Carrie dies right in front of Sue, after probing her mind for any ill intent in getting Carrie to prom. She dies satisfied. However, this is left out in the film. Remember, Sue didn't directly interact with Carrie when she got Tommy to ask her, so for all Carrie knew, Sue was in on the trick.
  • Just for starters...why didn't anybody intervene in Carrie's home life before her senior year in high school? Were all of her relatives dead or so distant that they couldn't come and see what sort of grade-A loony was raising her? And didn't the teachers in that school notice that something was really, badly wrong?
    • No one ever knew just how abusive her home life was. Carrie didn't come forward about it, and they never had guests over, so as far as anyone could tell, she was just a girl being raised by a religious nut case. Which is not illegal by itself.
      • Her neighbors in The Remake knew what Margaret was like. Why didn't THEY do anything?
      • One of the neighbors in The Remake did make an aborted attempt to help in the flashback. You can see one of the men run to the front door when young Carrie starts screaming, but he's driven back when fire starts raining from the sky. After fireballs falling from the sky, they were probably too afraid to try again.
      • The same reason such things happen in Real Life - they "don't want to get involved" because it doesn't directly effect them.
      • Especially true of child abuse. Back in the early 1960s, it often went unreported. "It's none of our business." In the book, the neighbors were part of the reason the rock incident happened in the first place — and they still ended up concluding "it's none of our business." The "whore of Babylon" wanted to do something, but her mother talked her out of it.
    • Also, the sensibility towards that sort of thing has dramatically increased over the last few decades. Some forms of domestic violence were probably much more common back when the film was made (in the 70s, I believe?). Were I to start telling you about what we did to each other at my school, you'd have to basically arrest every last one of us.
      • It's also notable in the '76 version that in the early scene where Margaret visits Mrs. Snell, the latter asks if Carrie would like to come over to visit Sue. Margaret interrupts her to talk about God's word. This is a pretty quick way of showing the neighbors think that Margaret is a lunatic and don't want to listen to her, much less get involved.
    • Even in later remakes, it's quite possible for child abuse to go unreported. People either don't want to get involved, think that's what the authorities are for and if they haven't stepped in there must not be anything too bad going on, or the high-functioning sociopaths are masking the troubles well enough no one notices them. Now, Margaret White is pretty definitely not a high-functioning sociopath, but she seems to mask the troubles well enough that people think she's just weird, not actually abusive. The 2013 film Lampshades this by stating that Carrie is in the public school system because her mother is no longer allowed to home school her, but that could be less due to allegations of abuse and more due to the fact that Margaret wasn't actually educating Carrie to the government's satisfaction.
    • As for other relatives, it's quite possible that someone as mentally unstable and fanatical as Margaret would have cut all ties with her relations before Carrie was even born, particularly if they didn't share her extreme beliefs.
    • It is implied in the books that Margaret is estranged from her parents precisely for that reason. In the first film, Ralph White ran off with another woman - so that explains why his relatives don't bother about her. Margaret appears to be a bit of a recluse in the 2013 film so it's believable no one would talk to her.
  • In one of the in-universe books, they mention that they would have to isolate or even kill those with the TK gene. Um...why? Carrie snapped because of years of torment, it's not as though telekinetics will inherently up and kill everyone.
    • Will it matter to the potential victims? Nobody can guarantee that it only takes years of torment to make a Person of Mass Destruction snap, and that is disregarding those who might actively use the power for malicious purposes.
    • At the very end of the book, Amelia Jenks' letter shows that she's concerned about Annie's TK only because it seems to be associated with heart trouble in the family. We'll have to imagine what a TK child raised in a small Tennessee town by a loving mother will be like later.
    • Fear. If one person could snap and cause devastation on that level, why not more? Why not all of them? Ordinary humans are helpless against this kind of power, what's to stop these budding T Ks from taking over the world? X-Men as written by Stephen King. Not a cheery thought.
  • Chris Hargensen. Paternal Love Is Blind, but still...shenanigans like putting a firecracker in another girl's shoe should have tipped Daddy Dearest off that his little girl was growing up to be a very nasty piece of work indeed.
    • Daddy's Little Villain.
    • As wrong as it seems, some parents WILL just chalk up something like that to "youthful high spirits" and see nothing really wrong with it.
      • That scene also shows that he's both a distant/workaholic type of parent and a rich bastard. Chris thinks he can buy her way out of being punished. This, of course, is Chris' Freudian Excuse for her behavior.
    • Ah, it was just a mistake. She didn't intend to hurt anyone, she thought it would be a harmless prank. We'll talk to her, make sure she understands the consequences. I promise, nothing like that will ever happen again. Now, Chris, you could have blown that girl's toes off. You shouldn't do that. Okay? Okay.
  • How come Carrie ends up killing the people who didn't bully her?
    • As far as she's concerned, they're as bad as the ones who did, most likely.
    • EVERYONE LAUGHED AT HER. Except in the film where she thinks EVERYONE IS LAUGHING AT HER. In her mind, nobody was less cruel.
    • In the book it was clear that she is punishing the town for keeping their nose out of her Domestic Abuse situations. In Real Life it's considered as bad as abusing the child.
      • "Keeping their nose out..." Excuse me but, what? Half of the town didn't even know who Carrie was until Prom Night.
      • Didn't matter. When someone goes off the rails like that, everybody within range is guilty by association.
      • Carrie lost it. She resented the whole school for ignoring or actively bullying her (I'm sure many a troper can sympathize with that). The bullying she had is worse than shoujo manga, and far less optimistic.
    • And in the 2013 version, she noticeably only targets those who victimized her, sparing the town. Though there probably was also "collateral damage" at the prom.
    • Even those who did not actively torment knew about it and never did anything to stop it, thus they are guilty of aiding and abetting.
    • Everyone is aware that Carrie isn't supposed to be a hero right? She's a sympathetic or tragic villain, one of the most heartbreaking examples easily, but still a villain. Her disproportionate retribution against the whole world, or at least as much of it as she could lash out at, vice just those that wronged her is sorta the point.
    • In that kind of blind rage, there's really no logical thought. You can't sort out the difference between "this person was really mean and needs to die," "this person was kinda mean and should be maimed," and "this person was okay, they'll get off with just being psychologically scarred for life." And as pointed out, Carrie's Roaring Rampage of Revenge isn't really meant to be seen as heroic, even though it's understandable why some viewers might want to see it that way (and just adds to the moral complexity of the story.) She's an abused child who's lashing out a world she perceives as, at best, completely uncaring, at worst intentionally cruel. No one is safe.
  • How are the people at the prom not gagging at the smell of the blood?
    • Do you mean while it's in the bucket above the stage? It's probably too far up to be detected, and IIRC it was partially frozen (I might be sketchy on that last detail). Do you mean after it's dumped on Carrie? Probably because a fire starts soon after and the smell of burning wood, paper, cloth and flesh is a little more immediate.
    • In the 2013 version, Sue does start gagging at the smell of the blood when she's working on the prom decorations. Given that she had to climb a ladder on the stage and get physically close to the bucket before she smelled it, it's likely that it was too far up for anybody else to notice.
      • Actually, she started gagging because of a combination of vertigo and morning sickness. Chris and co only snuck the blood in the night before the prom(because otherwise, you have to wonder why nobody noticed the broken glass at the emergency exit for over a day).
      • Pregnancy can also increases your sense of smell. So a combination of all three is possible.
      • Nope, the blood was definitely put up after Sue was on the ladder decorating. One night - dead pig. Next day - Sue pukes. That night, Carrie works on her dress. Chris and Co. sneak in the bucket o' blood. Probably everyone was just too busy to be around that specific area for long.
  • Why in all the movies Carrie start her murdering rampage while IN the school building? The book is clear that Carrie first LEFT the school, fell on the grass, thought how her mother was right and then snapped. Both in 1976, the 2002 and (assuming by the trailer) 2013 film version Carrie snapped seconds after getting covered in pig's blood and left the school only after most of the students were dead.
    • Dramatic convenience and medium constraints. In a book, you can take time out before your big action finale to examine a character's thoughts. In a movie, the scene would end up just having the actress laying on the ground talking to herself to remind the audience of what they saw ten minutes before. Makes more sense to have her snap right at the emotional climax of the scene.
    • Also, if it was like in the book, Carrie's actions would look more premeditated in the films as she would have been shown to think it over before starting the rampage. Having her snap instantaneously keeps her sympathetic.
  • I know the 2013 version wouldn't work without it, but it seems like Child Protective Services wasn't doing its job. Seriously, it's bad enough to forbid her mother to homeschool Carrie, but you don't take the child away? Maybe the horrific prayer closet didn't exist then?
    • They may not have been aware of the full extent of Margaret's abuse. If Carrie is like most abused children, she may have feared Margaret's retaliation if she spoke up. With no physical signs (the abuse appeared mostly emotional and verbal) and no testimony from the child, it would be very difficult to prove that any abuse had occurred. Even if the prayer closet did exist, Margaret could have easily explained it away as a shrine for religious practice. Again, unless Carrie admitted that she'd been thrown into it, CPS wouldn't have any proof. And all of that is assuming that CPS was even involved; the school district could have easily revoked Margaret's homeschooling privileges without involving CPS, since homeschooling has to meet district standards of education.
  • Margaret's character doesn't make sense to me. To elaborate, she's such an over-the-top psycho with all the latent horror associated with every religious fanatic stereotype that would make members of WBC cringe! First of all, she's quoting things that aren't even in the Bible , and believes that the normal things in female biology (ie: menstrual cycles, developing breasts) are either punishments or proof that you've committed sin. How the hell does a grown woman believe that having breasts is a sign that you 'weren't raised right'? Second, contrary to popular "common knowledge", Christians don't preach that Sex Is Evil. Granted, I'll let that slide a bit since that tenet of hers seems more from a Freudian Excuse than doctrine, but how does she expect the human race to perpetuate itself?! She seems to be more a case of Rule of Scary applied to The Fundamentalist than The Fundamentalist Up to Eleven . Plus, she seems for the most part to be trying to do what's best for Carrie, but she pulls a friggin' knife on the girl and tries to murder her! I guess it wouldn't bug me so much if it weren't for the occasional Hollywood Atheist pointing to Margaret White as a "perfect example" of why Religion Is Evil.
    • As weak as it sounds she was seriously nuts even by The Fundamental standards. It's implied in some version Carrie's father and her mother hosed her up just as bad as she did to Carrie.
    • Well, as for how she expected the human race to perpetuate itself, there's two answers there. One is that she probably felt the end times were upon us and that the human race wasn't meant to spread much further. However, and this is specifically addressed in the book, she did say that she and her husband would remain chaste and that "If there is issue, let it be divine." In other words, she thought that immaculate conception, a miracle that happened literally only once in the Bible, was the only way a pure follower of God would ever have children. See below about Margaret being crazy, and her religious fervor just being an outlet for her insanity.
    • Did you even read the book? Margaret is considerably tamer in the films (yes even the 1976 film) than in the novel. You know that when she was pregnant with Carrie, she originally thought it was "cancer affecting her womanly parts"? She wasn't even following Christianity right; Ralph and she used to be Baptists until they left the church because they were convinced "they [the church] was doing the Anti Christ's work". I don't even know what you're trying to say on that last part. Seriously what are you getting at here?
      • I'm no expert but last I checked and have seen a lot of religious fanatics/fundamentalists, Christian or otherwise, have been known to do or quote things that aren't even in their religious texts or teachings or, if not not quoting things that aren't in it, then they are usually twisting the meanings, so I'm pretty sure Margaret is like the most I have seen.
    • Margaret was going on a seriously Flanderized version of a couple of things that fed into her general obsession: The first is that the pain of childbirth is a punishment for Eve's sin and part of being cast out of the Garden of Eden. The other is the attitude a few lines in the Bible seem to take toward menstruation (women aren't allowed in the temple during menstruation, and men have to pray and cleanse themselves if they lie with a woman who's menstruating).
    • She's not religious, she's crazy. Her warped view on Christianity is just an outlet for her Ambiguous Disorder. Seriously, her "religion" has all the hallmarks of a psychotic delusion: It's internally consistent, persecutory (she believes God is out to punish everyone and she has to pray for forgiveness), and rationally explains irrational behavior (if God is angry at women for Original Sin, then if I don't let my daughter become a woman, God won't be angry with her.) Even her misquoting/making up Bible verses could be a sign of a thought disorder, where the words on the page and what she reads are two entirely different things. Margaret White is nothing more than a walking psychosis wrapped in the shell Christianity.
  • What was the point of the teen pregnancy plot line in the '13 version? Seem unnecessary.
    • If you had paid attention, or at least read the book, it's implied that Sue was pregnant. There's a sentence that mentions she's late on her period. Hell, did you not see the freaking sex scene in the beginning?
      • As someone that both read the book and paid attention I also noticed that after Carrie died it specifically stated that Sue finally got her late period and was "not" pregnant.
      • It could also be interpreted as a way to tie the theme of menstrual blood to both girls. Carrie gets her period and thinks she's dying, Sue knows more about biology but her period is late. The book begins and ends with a girl getting her period. It's a unifying theme. Remember, it's a first-time novel by a guy with an English degree, which was too short to begin with, so it had to have some stuff added to make it a novel instead of a novella. The movie just added a dimension by making Sue pregnant, which then raises fears: how is she going to raise a kid and NOT screw her up the way Carrie was screwed up?
    • It's a small cruel twist in the book but this is the first adaptation to leave it in. It was pretty subtle and I missed it on my first few readings (I was fourteen and really dumb). Sue worries about being late for her period on the night of the prom. After she witnesses Carrie dying, she gets her period - and it's left open whether or not she was just late or she'd miscarried a baby. It's cruel because she knew Tommy was dead and for a moment probably thought she'd have some part left of him.
    • Wasn't the pregnancy in the 2013 version one of the only reasons Carrie let Sue live in the end?
      • Indeed. Also, as mentioned, it means that Sue still has some connection to her loving boyfriend, who died as a direct result of her actions. While Sue didn't actively participate in Carrie's ultimate humiliation, she sure as hell set the stage for it (even inadvertently.)
  • Is it it just me or is the 2013 version of Sue Snell a little unsettling? She has very little personal interaction with Carrie which makes her obsession with Carrie seem... well more obsessional than empathetic. Then there was her ordering Tommy to ask Carrie out again after Carrie said no, which implied she was more interested in turning Carrie into an ersatz version of herself than the girl's actual desires ("I want to go to prom so of course Carrie should go to prom"). Not that Sue's intentions aren't good but she does come across as a little creepy.
    • At that point, Sue giving Carrie a happy night at the prom was equal parts assuaging her guilt and having the last word over Chris, who accused her of accepting their detention to preserve her own prom night rather than punishing herself for hurting Carrie.
    • That motivation seems plausible... but it doesn't account for her strangely emotionally detached, manipulative actions. Again this version of Sue has very little personal contact with Carrie and seems happy to pull strings from a distance (and force her boyfriend to warm up to Carrie.) It does seem kind of creepy.
      • Word of God (in On Writing, IIRC) says that even Stephen King didn't entirely trust Sue's motives in getting Tommy to take Carrie to the prom. Was Sue really trying to atone for what she'd done, or was it, deep down, a means of trying to humiliate Carrie further? He also notes that the Carrie character is based on the most "reviled" girls he knew in high school, both as a student and a teacher, and that when one of them tried to feel better about herself, the pack mentality kicked her back down to where she belonged.
    • The 2013 film does change around the order of things. Sue suggests Tommy take Carrie a little earlier in the book - the same way she does in the other two films. This one has her consider it after Chris calls her out. The film changes things so that Sue considers the detention her 'atonement' initially but then gives up her prom ticket so Carrie can have a good night instead. I think Sue had good intentions but being essentially a quasi-Alpha Bitch beforehand, she had no idea how to exactly do a good thing like this. Most kids at that age are still grasping the concept of right and wrong - so atoning for big mistakes is very much a learning process or trial and error.
    • There's also the idea that she believed (probably rightly) that anything she tried to do for Carrie in person would be misinterpreted. She couldn't just walk up to Carrie in the lunchroom and say "Hey, sorry about the shower thing, that was out of line. We cool?" because there'd be no way to really demonstrate sincerity, and Carrie was meek enough to accept the apology whether she believed it genuine or not. Really trying to get to know Carrie and be friends with her would have been seen as just another manipulation. And even so, her roundabout plot to have her boyfriend give Carrie that one perfect high school moment was still seen as manipulative by Miss Dejardin, right up to the point where Sue crashes the prom to try and stop Chris' prank. Any number of ideas were probably considered and rejected by the character, because she believed the only act of contrition that would matter was the one that involved her the least. As well, the film makes it pretty clear that she considers giving up her perfect prom night with her perfect boyfriend to be her real atonement, sacrificing something that matters a great deal to her. It is still a bit manipulative, since she believes that Tommy will come right back to her after the prom, and they'll live out whatever post-high-school fantasy they already had. The story is practically a study in moral ambiguity, this version of Sue just adds another twist to it (doing a potentially good thing for potentially bad reasons.)
  • Where did Carrie get the money to purchase her dress supplies, makeup, etc.? I can't see Margaret allowing her to have an after-school job, and it seems even less likely that she gives Carrie an allowance.
    • This is more WMG than anything, but maybe Carrie just... took it. She wasn't really afraid of Margaret at that point, was she? Or they could have some sort of emergency fund or, seeing as Margaret seems to make all their clothes, maybe there is a jar with "Clothing Money" on it and Carrie talked herself into taking from that.
    • I think in the book it's said that Carrie sews most of her own clothes - she's working on a new dress at one point. So she must either have money given to her to buy fabric anyway, or else there is a kitty or something they used to buy fabric.
      • Carrie "takes in sewing" for customers/neighbors in the book, so she has a little money put away.
  • Back in the 1960s and the early 1970s, it was conceivable, though unlikely, for a girl in her late teens who'd never experienced it to have no idea what was happening when she got her period. But this Carrie was born in 1996. How could she possibly be completely unaware of basic female biology in today's developed world?
    • She was REALLY that sheltered. In the movie a point is made that until very recently she was homeschooled by her mother, and it's shown that she had problems doing something as normal to any teen as browsing the internet and watching videos on Youtube.
      • Rule of Drama. And there's a slight lack of continuity, because one of the girls mentions knowing Carrie at least since "the sixth grade," so she wasn't home-schooled into high school. Agreed, this lack of awareness and ignorance of biology is much more believable in the early 1970s in the novel. It might be believable if Margaret had grown up in/escaped from some kind of crazy "Quiverfull" type cult where she'd had no access to the outside world, but the movie doesn't explore Margaret's character enough.
    • Maybe it was just how I read it but in the original novel I got more of the impression that Carrie had just repressed all knowledge of menstruation rather then just flat out had never even encountered the concept, which as noted was pushing it a bit in mid-70s and pretty close to flat out impossible today.
    • How does the American high school system work? In Ireland in my school, Biology was an optional subject. We did science in general for the first three years and touched on the basics of reproduction (pregnancy etc.) but the ins and outs weren't explored until the senior classes - which were optional. If Carrie didn't take Biology, then she simply might not have understood the concept. Most girls learn from their mothers and sisters rather than in school. Or alternately, Carrie may have learned about it but wondered why it didn't happen to her - and if she'd asked Margaret why it didn't happen, she'd probably have been told it only happens to sinful girls.
    • In my experience, Biology doesn't actually cover menstruation. That's covered in Sex Ed, which parents sometimes have to give permission for. That actually happens in the 2002 TV version, I believe.
      • Also to add to that, if you have no media besides maybe religious media, you have no friends, and your only female relative never tells you about it, how do you know what a period is? Maybe you overhear the occasional girl talking about "my period", but what if you only ever hear things like "little visitor" or "Aunt Flo"?
      • In the book that's exactly it. At home, Carrie begins to remember that she's heard expressions like "time of the month".
    • Sex Education in American schools is a huge hot-button issue. Some people (mostly religious groups) are dead-set against anyone even mentioning sex to anyone else, especially kids. Others think that sex ed should start in kindergarten. While the majority opinion is somewhere in the middle (let kids know what's happening to their bodies, and educate them so they can make good decisions), it's still a rough topic, and there are still many public schools that have substandard or nonexistent sex ed programs because the public opinion is just that contentious. It's certainly possible, however unlikely, that Carrie's school in 2013 either didn't have a sex ed program, or made it optional/require parental permission, which Margaret obviously wouldn't have given. And even if the school has a sex ed program, a class is only as good as its teacher. Imagine if the principal (the same one who got queasy whenever someone said "tampon") was the only staff member deemed qualified to teach the class. He may well have completely glossed over certain aspects because he just wasn't comfortable talking about them (something which, ironically, would have been prevented if his school had a decent sex ed program. . .) There was also a time not long ago (and it may still be, I haven't really done the research) where sexual knowledge among teens was at an all-time low, because parents weren't comfortable talking to their kids about it, assuming they'd learn about it in school. But schools weren't comfortable teaching kids about sex, assuming they'd learn about it from their parents, creating a situation where no one was talking to anyone about anything.
    • There is a fan theory out there that Carrie suffered from Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), given her belly fat and acne as described in the book. This disorder can sometimes bring on late periods, which Margaret would have chalked up to "purity" and "God's will."
  • Not that it wasn't really sweet, because it was, but isn't Sue setting up Carrie on a date with Tommy a strange thing to do, even under these circumstances? There are less extreme ways to make amends with someone you've victimized, so this can't be the only idea that occurred to Sue. A simple apology and an offer of friendship probably would have been more than sufficient (especially since Carrie is the type to wholeheartedly accept both), not to mention that Sue's idea won't necessarily solve anything: One date isn't going to make the other students accept Carrie or stop Chris from having it out for her, especially not if that date is with someone else's boyfriend (whether the someone else in question gave it the green light or not). Sue being friends with her probably wouldn't stop anything either, but it would at least ensure that there was someone there to have her back in future bullying situations. I guess the question here is, how did Sue go from "I need to make this right" to "I should set Carrie up with my boyfriend" without considering any other options?
    • I think she cares more about making herself feel better than to help Carrie, when she started feeling regret for her actions Chris told her she was only acting that way to gain her Prom privileges back so most likely she decided to give that experience to Carrie instead as a Take That. Also she wasn't really setting her up with her boyfriend, she just wanted to give Carrie her place, she didn't really think it through
    • In addition, keep in mind that Sue's been friends with Chris for most of her life and probably wouldn't know the best and most appropriate way to handle the situation. She just figured an apology wouldn't cut it and wanted to give Carrie the best night of her life to make up for all her shitty years in school. Additionally since it's Prom and very close to the end of high school, this plan was to let her go out on a high note rather than win her friends with the other students.
    • Well Sue's not pimping her boyfriend out for Carrie. She's just become aware of how awful Carrie's high school life has been - being excluded and constantly mocked etc. Her intention is to atone for her bullying by giving Carrie the opposite - a chance to be accepted by everyone. She's sort of working with what she's got. No boy would have asked Carrie so Tommy is the only guy she can get to take her. And by giving up her own date, she views this as adequate punishment or what she did.
    • Sue also probably believed (not without reason) that a simple apology and offer of friendship wouldn't have been sufficient, since Carrie was meek enough to accept both whether she believed they were genuine or not, and Sue would have had no real way to demonstrate sincerity. Sure, if she wanted to make a meaningful act of contrition it might have been better to talk to Carrie with Tommy, explain that she felt horrible about what happened, and wanted to make it up to her by having Tommy take Carrie to prom, show her a good time, and let her have one nice memory of high school. But let's face it, Sue's an eighteen year old. . . they're not exactly known for carefully weighing and thinking through all their options (especially in horror movies.)
  • In the 2013 film, Sue received an ominous text from Chris. Couldn't she have texted Tommy to warn him and Carrie immediately that something was up?
    • She may have not wanted them to worry. When Chris texts her, she probably assumes that the girl is just planning to storm in and say some mean things or whatever. Her plan seemed to be to go there, find out if Chris is about to do anything and stop it before Tommy or Carrie find out and have their night ruined.
    • Alternatively, maybe Tommy turned his phone off. If you're dancing with Chloe Moretz, it seems the sensible thing to do. Or the school had a rigorously enforced "no cell phones" policy at the dance, which would also be a sensible thing to do.
    • Well Tommy's seen texting Sue during the prom so presumably phones were allowed. Him turning it off for the dance is possible though.

Alternative Title(s): Carrie 1976

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