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Trivia / Carrie (1976)

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  • Ability over Appearance:
    • Sissy Spacek was widely thought to be too pretty for the title role, the character in the book being described as chunky, mousy-haired and covered in pimples with Spacek being a tall thin strawberry blonde with clear skin. But Spacek's Oscar nomination speaks for itself. The character was then rewritten slightly, saying that she would be pretty if she made an effort to tidy herself up a bit.
      • Even the director thought that Spacek was too pretty to play Carrie and tried to discourage her. For the audition, Spacek combed Vaseline into her hair to make it lank and oily and wore an old, dowdy dress she'd had since middle school in order to prove she could be sufficient unattractive.
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    • Chris is olive-skinned and black-haired in the book but in the '76 movie is played by blonde Nancy Allen who absolutely nails the bitchy attitude.
  • Acting for Two: Betty Buckley plays Miss Collins and also dubs the voice of the boy on the bike who shouts "creepy Carrie" as Carrie walks home.
  • Acting in the Dark: Betty Buckley didn't know Miss Collins would die until the prom scene was filmed.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: The red baseball cap Norma wears was worn by PJ Soles at her first audition, and Brian De Palma encouraged her to wear it again in the follow-ups, and finally in the film itself. She was initially only cast for two weeks, but De Palma liked her Throw It In! of hitting Sissy Spacek with the cap during one scene and her role was greatly expanded.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Sissy Spacek was voted Homecoming Queen in high school.
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #46
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    • Carrie was also nominated for the "Villains" list, and the film for both "Movies" lists.
  • Approval of God: Stephen King has admitted on many occasions that he not only enjoyed Brian De Palma’s adaptation of his book, but even went as far as to say it was better than the book. Justified given the book is one of King’s lesser favorites he wrote (to the point he actually threw the first few pages in the trash) and thought the film improved many of the mistakes he made in the book.
  • Billing Displacement: John Travolta, who was then the star of Welcome Back, Kotter, got second billing on the posters behind Sissy Spacek, even though Billy was, at best, the seventh most important character. Home video releases continue this tradition now that Travolta is a Hollywood icon.
  • Blooper:
    • When Sue is having her nightmare, her mother can be heard saying "Amy" by accident.
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    • When Miss Collins is disciplining the girls, she says to one girl "Katie" and the girl reacts. Yet her name is confirmed to be Helen in subsequent scenes.
    • Margaret's corpse's feet can be seen moving when Carrie drags her into the closet.
  • Breakthrough Hit: Brian De Palma, while well-regarded by critics, had a spotty box office record until Carrie, alternating between underground Cult Classics (Greetings; Hi, Mom!), underperforming high-profile films (Get to Know Your Rabbit, Phantom of the Paradise) and Sleeper Hits (Sisters, Obsession). Carrie was massively profitable (making $30 million on a $2 million budget) and turned him into an A-list director.
  • California Doubling: The cars' license plates indicate that the film is set in Ohio, but the presence of palm trees and mountains indicates a very Californian-looking "Ohio". In fact, the prom scene was shot a few blocks from the ocean (in a school-turned-community center in Hermosa Beach).
  • Career Resurrection: Piper Laurie had retired from the movie business after The Hustler when the script came her way. She initially didn't understand the script at all, thinking it rather clichéd, until her husband pointed out that Brian De Palma usually took a comedic approach to his work. When she reread the screenplay with that viewpoint, the part of Margaret White made a lot more sense to Laurie.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Amy Irving was in very close running to be given the role of Carrie. However when art director Jack Fisk persuaded the director to let his wife Sissy Spacek audition, Irving ended up with the role of Sue instead.
    • Spacek originally auditioned for Chris. P.J. Soles also auditioned for Chris and wound up playing Norma.
    • John Travolta was originally considered for Tommy Rosss.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: Stephen King believes that the film adaptation is a superior work to his novel.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Betty Buckley provides the voice over ("Creepy Carrie! Creepy Carrie!") for the little boy on the bike that chastises Carrie on her way home.
  • Dawson Casting:
  • Deleted Scene: Amy Irving was originally rather disappointed that many of her larger scenes were cut. A scene featuring her and William Katt in the backseat of his truck was cut, for reasons unknown.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Several cases.
    • Sissy Spacek did not fraternize with the rest of the cast during filming, so as to make the sense of isolation that Carrie felt more authentic.
    • Sue Snell's mother was played by Amy Irving's real life mother, Priscilla Pointer, which caused some real-life emotions to spill into the scene where she comforts Sue following her nightmare at the end of the film. If you listen carefully, she even slips up and calls Amy by her real name at one point.
    • During filming of the scene where Miss Collins is chewing out the girls in gym, Brian De Palma was standing behind Amy Irving just off screen and whispering horrible cruel and hurtful things into her ears in order to make Sue's look of misery and guilt on camera look genuine.
    • De Palma wanted Betty Buckley to really slap Nancy Allen. Because Allen couldn't get the reaction he wanted, Buckley ended up slapping her as many as thirty times.
    • In the prom attack scene, they used an actual fire hose on P. J. Soles (who played Norma). Her screaming and collapsing onto a table and then passing out was real. She ruptured her ear drum doing that sequence, lost consciousness, and was deaf in that ear for six months after filming.
    • Also, Betty Buckley says the terrified look on her face right before she gets killed is real, since they hadn't been able to test the falling backboard to make sure it would stop where it was supposed to before hitting her and no one knew for certain whether it would work.
  • Follow the Leader: Any film about a teenage outcast who gets revenge on her (or, less commonly, hisnote ) classmates is going to be compared to Carrie at some point. Doubly so if the revenge is carried out through supernatural means.
    • The most egregious example is possibly the 1978 film Jennifer, which is basically Carrie with snakes!
    • And the 1987 film Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, which is Carrie meets A Nightmare on Elm Street.
    • Evilspeak is an '80s male version of Carrie, though set in a military school, powers actually given from a Satanic source (a computer this time), and funnily enough, demonic pigs standing in for psychic powers during the rampage.
    • Zapped! is Carrie Played for Laughs, with telekinetic powers transferred to Scott Baio through lightning.
    • In a different sense, the two remakes use elements from the original film rather than the novel, despite both otherwise trying to be Truer to the Text. Carrie wears a red dress to the prom, but all films make the dress pink. In the book, she flees the prom before deciding to take revenge — all films have her doing it immediately from the stage. All films also turn a book character into Chris's Beta Bitch and has her rig the voting — it was entirely Chris and Billy in the novel, and Carrie won legitimately. Likewise, in the novel Margaret is killed before Chris and Billy, with the climax involving Sue confronting Carrie after she kills the latter two, but all films have Margaret's death as the climax.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Piper Laurie, who is Jewish in real life, plays Carrie’s evangelical Catholic mother.
  • Method Acting: Sissy Spacek deliberately isolated herself from her castmates during filming. She also decorated her dressing room with heavy religious iconography and studied Gustave Doré's illustrated Bible. She studied "the body language of people being stoned for their sins," starting or ending every scene in one of those positions.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The original trailer shows a different shot of Carrie in the shower scene - where she's hunched against the wall as they throw the tampons at her. Likewise the original voice of the boy on the bike is heard, whereas he's dubbed by Betty Buckley in the finished film.
  • No Stunt Double: Sissy Spacek insisted on using her own hand in the ending scene, so she was positioned under the rocks and gravel. Brian De Palma explains that crew members "had to bury her. Bury her! We had to put her in a box and stick her underneath the ground. Well, I had her husband [Fisk] bury her because I certainly didn't want to bury her".
  • Orphaned Reference:
    • Boulders can be seen crashing through Carrie's kitchen ceiling as a remnant of the original ending where she would destroy the house in a shower of rocks. This is also why the grave Sue lays flowers on is under a pile of rocks.
    • Margaret says of Carrie's dress "I might have known it would be red". In the book the dress actually is red and it was going to be in the film, but they decided pink looked better on Sissy Spacek and forgot to change the line.
  • Playing Against Type: The Japanese dub, this is for Keiko Han (Carrie) as she is well known for voicing heroic roles.
  • Production Posse: Brian De Palma, John Travolta, and Nancy Allen reunited five years later for the film Blow Out.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Amy Irving and her mother Priscilla Pointer played Sue and her mother respectively.
    • The song that plays during Carrie and Tommy's dance at the prom is sung by Katie Irving, Amy's sister and Priscilla's other daughter.
    • Brian De Palma's nephew plays the kid on the bike that insults Carrie, though Betty Buckley dubbed over his voice.
  • Romance on the Set: Brian De Palma and Nancy Allen later married.
  • Star-Making Role: The 1976 version was this for Sissy Spacek and for Nancy Allen.
  • Throw It In!:
    • When Piper Laurie first read the script, Carrie's mother seemed so operatic and ridiculous to her, she honestly believed the movie was a comedy. She played the role accordingly, and was laughing between takes at the lunacy of it. Her over-the-top cartoonish portrayal stayed because it arguably made her even more terrifying. Of course, the most terrifying thing of all might be that she still believes it's a dark comedy.
    • Norma hitting Carrie with her red baseball cap was improvised by PJ Soles. She joked that it was what convinced Brian De Palma to give her more lines and screen time.
    • Betty Buckley decided to play Miss Collins as a lesbian.
    • In the final scene, you can see a car driving backwards. This is because they filmed things in reverse and then rewound the film in the edit. It works as a visual cue that Sue is just dreaming.
  • Underage Casting: Betty Buckley as the gym teacher was only a couple of years older than the actresses playing her students. There is some merit to this as Carrie's narration in the book states that the teacher looked so beautiful at the prom that she could have passed for a student. Miss Desjardin is said to be a young teacher on her first year anyway.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: With its epic '70s Hair, teen heartthrob John Travolta, the opening scene being utterly awash in naked flesh, and a soundtrack by Pino Donaggio that combines "Psycho" Strings with funkadelic '70s cues. And that's not even getting into its portrayal of teen bullying.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The production of the original film experienced a literal example of Special Effect Failure, detailed in the special features on the DVD. The finale was supposed to involve Carrie calling down a meteor shower on her house, destroying it. Indeed, the interior scenes, showing the rocks coming through the ceiling, had already been shot. However, when they shot the exterior of the house burning down, the rig that was supposed to drop the stones malfunctioned. The production didn't have enough money left to redo the shot, so they simply filmed it sans meteors.
    • Glenn Close and Melanie Griffith were considered for Carrie. Farah Fawcett was offered the role, but declined due to her commitment to Charlie's Angels.
    • Before Spacek gave a brilliant performance in her audition to play Carrie, De Palma had been leaning toward giving the role to Betsy Slade, a young character actress who would've been a little more in line with the book's conception of the character. Picture a teenage Lena Dunham and you have a good idea of what Slade looked like at the time.
    • Norma's role was smaller originally, and PJ Soles was only cast for two weeks. But Brian DePalma was impressed by her performance and expanded her role.
    • The original film was cast in a joint session with the casting of Star Wars, which creates some very interesting casting possibilities. Allegedly, Carrie Fisher was originally auditioning for Carrie White before she was cast as Princess Leia. Speculation is that Carrie Fisher objected to the nude scenes in Carrie, while Sissy Spacek didn't, so Carrie Fisher got to be in Star Wars while Sissy Spacek got to be in Carrie. Fisher later Jossed these rumours, saying she would have had no problem with the nudity.
    • There was originally a scene where Carrie as a little girl is caught talking to a woman sunbathing in the backyard by her mother. Margaret drags Carrie inside and Carrie makes stones rain on the house which tied with the original ending of her burying the house in a shower of boulders. The scene was dropped because the stones didn't have the right effect.
    • Bernard Herrmann was the first choice to score the film but died during production. Pino Donaggio, who'd contributed a memorable score to Don't Look Now, replaced him.
    • More split screen effects were filmed for the 1976 version. Word of God is that they turned out badly and only the few that looked good were used in the movie.
    • The original script contained a scene between Tommy and Sue having sex in the car - taken from the book. The poem of Tommy's that Carrie calls "beautiful" would be revealed as something Sue wrote for him - which is an invention of the film (he really wrote it in the book). The scene overall makes Tommy look less sympathetic - he says that Carrie has been "asking for it" with regards to the bullying.
    • There was also a scene scripted where Chris confronts Sue after the detentions - both the 2002 and 2013 remakes leave it in. Chris would also ask Sue to sign her yearbook, and Sue would only sign her name as a sign of her Character Development.

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