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Although it has been more than twenty years since the film has been released, CARRIE ($25) has lost none of its impact. CARRIE is based upon the novel by horror master Stephen King, about a teenaged girl who develops powerful psychic abilities upon the arrival of her first monthly reproductive cycle. Sissy Spacek stars as Carrie White, a shy, teen misfit who is the object of ridicule and abuse at her high school. Carrie's social problems stem from her mother Margaret (Piper Laurie), whose religious mania has left Carrie emotionally retarded and deprived of anything resembling a normal existence.

Carrie's fortunes seem to take a turn for the better when one of the other girls takes pity on her and asks her own boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. Amy Irving portrays the remorseful Sue Snell who unwittingly brings about the film's devastating climax through her selfless act. William Katt plays Sue's boyfriend Tommy Ross, who actually takes a liking to the sweet and unassuming Carrie. Nancy Allen portrays Chris Hargenson, school bad girl and Carrie's primary tormentor, while John Travolta is her boyfriend Billy Nolan. Look for Broadway diva Betty Buckley as the sympathetic teacher Miss Collins. Every member of the impressive cast of CARRIE delivers performances that are equal to their talents. In fact, both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie received Academy Award nominations for their vivid portrayals. Director Brian De Palma uses every cinematic trick in his book to turn CARRIE into one of the most stylish horror films ever. Even without the graphic mayhem of today's genre outings, the climax of CARRIE contains some of the most startling imagery to ever grace a horror film. Thanks to its strong cast and intense visual style, CARRIE is one of the truly great pieces of modern horror cinema.

MGM Home Entertainment offers CARRIE on DVD in a wide screen presentation that sadly lacks the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. CARRIE is presented very close to its 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, with jus a bit of information lost at the edges of the frame. Still, the presentation does offer good compositional balance and is fairly pleasing. The film element used for the Letterboxed transfer has a few blemishes, however none are too troublesome. Sharpness and detail are at respectable levels and are only limited by the quality of mid-seventies film stocks. Color reproduction on the DVD is quite good with the intense hues of the film's climax being rendered without any noise or distortion. Compression artifacts were noticeable during the films opening moments because MPEG-2 compression algorithms still aren't sophisticated enough to handle either smoky or foggy scenes effectively. Outside this instance, artifacting remained in check.

CARRIE has been given a new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix for this release. While Pino Donaggio's beautiful score receives most of the benefits of the Dolby Digital remix, there are some pleasing directional effects on the track. A French monaural soundtrack, as well as English and French subtitles have been encoded into the DVD. The interactive menus contain a bit of animation, plus music and offer access to a theatrical trailer.


Carrie (1976)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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