Friday, January 9, 2009

Carrie: The Remake

This helpful list of the differences between the 1976 Brian DePalma film and the 2002 remake was compiled by Ricky says Hi at IMDB.
I just learned that the 2002 film was supposed to be a pilot for a series wherein Carrie was a counselor helping young people who had telekinesis. The series never went further than the pilot. It explains why Carrie survives at the end. The moment in the 1976 film when Sue dreams of visiting Carrie's grave and Carrie's hand reaches out and grabs Sue's ankle was one that made me jump out of my seat when I first saw the movie in 1978. It was the late night Halloween horror movie and I sneaked up and watched with the sound turned way down so my parents wouldn't catch me. When that hand reached up, they almost caught me. I damn near had a coronary and had to slap my hand over my mouth to stop myself from screaming. When the TV was turned off everything was pitch black. I was looking over my shoulder every few seconds for the blood-stained Carrie to come out of the shadows.
To be honest, it has been years since I read Carrie and I don't have time to re-read it right now. Several people have noted that except for Carrie surviving, the remake was more true to the book than the '76 movie, and for the time being, I'll take their word for it.
I was always able to relate to Carrie. No, my mother wasn't a religious zealot. My parents were very religious (Catholic) but my mother sat me down and told me what to expect as far as my period was concerned (except she didn't tell me about the fucking cramps from hell) so I didn't have an anxiety attack when it came. Fortunately I didn't get my first one at school. It was a weekend and I was at home. And I very quickly learned about the cramps from hell.
What I was able to relate to was the maltreatment by the fucking assholes that Carrie went to school with. Partway through high school I had become a hard case with a "fuck with me and you'll get a boot to the kneecap" attitude. But in junior high I was still a sweet kid that couldn't understand why people were so mean to me. I was awkward as hell. I grew to all but an inch of my full height by the time I was twelve. I was clumsy because of my suddenly long legs--never quite got over the clumsy part--heh! I realize now that my bipolar disorder onset with puberty. I made my first suicide attempt at 14, swallowing a bottle of aspirin. I started cutting myself in secret.
Not only were my hormones out of control, so was the oil that seemed to cover every square inch of my body. I had tremendously oily skin. I washed my hair every day, but it still looked oily. I didn't have the worst case of acne, but I was very self-conscious about what I did have. And to add insult to injury, I had to wear that horrible, horrible Martian headgear to correct for my severe buck teeth. If ever I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there, junior high was the time. And to make matters worse, there were assholes to the left and assholes to the right.
A fine example of what I endured at the hands of these fuckers comes in these two anecdotes.
I had a hell of a time with the people in math class picking on me. They'd say things like "are you playing with yourself?" and "I bet you'd play with your tits if you had any." The teacher did nothing. To this day that blows me away. If I'd ever heard such remarks from one student to another, as a teacher, I would have hauled the offenders to the principal's office toot sweet, recommending suspension. One day the other students started acting nice and telling me that one of the boys, "Grant," wanted to take me out. I refused to believe them until this had gone on for about a week, them telling me that "Grant" really liked me but was just shy. Finally I said "all right," and "Grant" proceeded to say that he'd rather die than go out with an ugly thing like me. After that I never trusted it again when a guy said he wanted to go out with me. Turns out that there were some that were actually interested but I always rebuffed them with smart ass remarks. I wish impotence, anal fissures, and being caught in a dungeon with a dominatrix on "Grant" and his chums. That was a really shitty thing to do. The only one I give a pass to is "Tim," who after a couple of years started acting more mature and actually behaved like a decent guy, saying "hey, howya doing?" when he'd see me and not dogging me when others did. We never became great friends or anything, but there was peace between us.
The other incident had to do with a few horrible, bitchy girls. One of them I'll call "Buffy" and the other I'll call "Gwen." I actually came to understand later that "Gwen's" problem was jealousy of a sort. "Gwen" was an easy girl, one might say. She must have lost her virginity at around age 12. That's a problem. But at the time I didn't realize it. All I knew was that I was going to be friends with "Gwen" anyway, and we were friends for a while. Until the day that "Gwen" asked me if I was a virgin. Like most 14 year olds (at least I think most of us still were) I said I was. "Gwen" then asked if I was "some kind of a prude." I said no, I just hadn't met the right boy yet. She sneered at my idea of "meeting the right boy" and from there on out proceeded to make my life miserable. She teamed up with "Buffy," who was by far the bigger bitch. "Buffy" made my life hell in a variety of ways, but the most humiliating one was writing a note that was ostensibly from the art teacher's assistant and sticking it in my locker. It said all kinds of disgusting, explicitly sexual things. I was horrified and hysterical. I knew that "Mr. Powell" had not written the note and I was pretty sure I knew who had. I went to the principal's office and ratted out "Buffy" and her cohorts. "Buffy" was suspended for a week and had several special privileges that had been granted her as an "outstanding student" removed. But when she returned my life became an even greater hell and remained so until well into my first year in high school. By the time the second year rolled around I had a reputation as a lot of different things. Hard ass. Satan worshipper. (Came from wearing metal band t-shirts, and I rolled with it. I was actually still a devout Catholic at the time--just a devout Catholic that loved heavy metal. I didn't dabble in the dark arts until I was 16--but that's a story for another time.) Slut. (Of course--I was still a virgin, actually, unless you count untoward acts by pervy relatives at a very young age. But I'd had the 'slut' reputation since junior high when the unholy bitches in my life covered me in proverbial pig's blood by spreading the rumor that I had eight abortions by the time I was fourteen. I didn't even know what a blow job was, for cryin' in a bucket! I thought it was blowing in someone's ear!)
Watching Carrie always brings back memories of those awful years. The best years of your life, my ass. I couldn't wait to get out of that Peyton Place that was my school experience.
Those years do, however, affect a person long after they've gone away from the site of the brutality.
I once read in Readers' Digest where a woman who was seventy-some years old was recalling how she was not a very popular child. One Valentine's day all the other students exchanged bunches of Valentines with each other. She had not received a single one. At the end of the day when she got home, she opened her lunch pail and found a card. She was thrilled until she opened it, and found one of those cruel anti-valentines that were popular in the early part of the twentieth century. She said that the memory of that card still brought tears to her eyes, and here she was in the twilight of her life. This story appeared more than twenty years ago. This lady is probably gone to her reward by now. But tears come to my eyes for her.
Our actions affect people more than we know. That's the lesson of Carrie, and a lesson we could all do well to learn.