Friday, November 14, 2014

At Flashbak: Compared to this, Carrie was an Angel: Five Unforgettable Carrie Knock-Offs

My new list at Flashbak remembers five memorable knock-offs of Brian De Palma's Carrie.

"Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976), based on the novel by Stephen King was a huge box office success, and a critically-acclaimed initiative as well.

With his accomplished visual sense, De Palma created an unforgettable portrait of adolescent, high-school cruelty. The film was Lord of the Flies in a locker room, but starring mean girls instead of wild boys. In her review for New Yorker, Pauline Kael noted that prior to De Palma's film, "no one else has ever caught the thrill that teenagers get from a dirty joke and sustained it for a whole picture.”

Not surprisingly, many horror filmmakers were inspired by the film and its high school horror setting and characters. By 1978, they had distilled the very essence of Carrie as a creative work, and sought to re-package and resell the film’s magic with only minor modifications. 

Carrie’s crucial ingredients include an unpopular adolescent (often named in the film’s title), bullying members of the popular teen crowd, the central adolescent’s revenge -- brought about by non-natural means -- and the savage turn-back, in which the lead character is consumed by his or her own power and hatred.

Often, the lead character’s unhappy family life is also featured in these films.

With these conceits in mind, below are five of the most memorable knock-offs of Carrie."

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