What do Sissy Spacek, Angela Bettis and Chloë Grace Moretz all have in common?
They have all played a version of Stephen King's Carrie White, the much abused teenager who takes out her misery lethally and psychically on her fellow classmates.
If I include the misbegotten sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2 (about Carrie's unknown half sister, on her father's side!!), I can see a total of FOUR films that have come directly out of Stephen King's character and concept. This is King's most adapted work.
The story of a teenager coping with a background or gifts that set her apart was timeless and powerful enough to interest acclaimed director Kimberly Peirce into reimagining this story for a new generation of filmgoers.
As part of either an antidote to or an interest in the current version of Carrie, check out these books and movies about gifted loners dealing with the social minefield of high school.
What I love about Maggie is that, unlike Carrie, she isn't necessarily rejected by the "cool" kids, she rejects THEM! In this case, she actually has to go to the prom to save them from a revenge seeking demon. This is the perfect, funny antidote to Carrie's tragic prom revenge rampage.
Sophomore high school student, Paski has just been transferred from New Mexico to Orange County, California where the teens make her life miserable. Despite this, she helps out when she receives visions of one of them meeting a violent end.
In this film adaptation of the first book from Kami Garcia's terrific novel series, Lena Duchannes, like Carrie White, has special powers, has a really bad mom and really bad relationships with other high schoolers. However, unlike Carrie, Lena bonds with a fellow outsider so she isn't wrestling with her darker self alone.
A bullied and abused boy with a terminally ill mother gains telekinetic powers, along with two of his friends, when they discover a strange object underground. This film has horror elements but also sometimes feels like a superhero movie (which is also brought into the new version of Carrie).
The original novel that inspired all the adaptations. Despite how many times this has been adapted, parts of the novel are quite different from the cinematic treatments. It's also great to see this early version of Stephen King's prodigious horror talents.
I can't leave this blog without recommending revisiting De Palma's Carrie. It has an undimmed emotional power, thanks to his amazing filmmaking skills but also to the fascinating performances from Sissy Spacek as Carrie and Piper Laurie as her mother. In a rarity for horror films, they both received Oscar nominations for their work in this iconic film.