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Bluray Review: CARRIE (1976)

carrieScream Factory over the last couple years has become a household name for horror fans and collectors of physical media. Creating “collector’s editions” of cult favorites like GINGER SNAPS and PSYCHO 2 helped build a reputation of putting out movies for the real fans who often feel ignored and spend absurds amount of money to get a poor quality extended cut of NIGHTBREED. One of my favorite thing about these releases is that the movies were often released so many years ago that those involved with the productions share juicy stories of problematic productions and what made them unhappy with the end results. Sometimes though there is online backlash when a fan feels Scream Factory let them down by not including some kind of extra feature on one of their releases. An example was when they announced the final details of the complete box set of all the HALLOWEEN movies. Despite being the first time every film being available in a complete set (complete with the two Rob Zombie movies and a high quality version of the  infamous producer’s cut of CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS), some fans felt some stuff was left out. Those who felt entitled still went out, made the purchase and, from what I can tell, the set is now out of print and going for high prices on third party sites. Every once in awhile Scream Factory scores the rights to high profile movies like JEEPERS CREEPERS and CHILD’S PLAY so it made absolutely ecstatic when they announced they were releasing a collector’s edition of the Brian De Palma classic, CARRIE, which to this day is still one of my all time favorite movies.

For the few that are unfamiliar, Carrie White is a high schooler who is taunted on a daily basis from her peers. The jokes escalate when Carrie unexpectedly gets her first period in the girls’ shower and she freaks put, believing she is dying. The girls react by throwing tampons at her, chanting “plug it up!” Her life at home isn’t much of a refuge as her religious mother, Margaret, believes everything to be a sin, including Carrie’s menstrual cycle. Margaret throws her daughter into a closet for hours at a time, forcing her to pray for forgiveness. One of the girls who bullied Carrie, Sue Snell, feels the guilt that comes with the consequences of her actions and convinces her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie has plenty of reservations in accepting his invitation and the thought of her going doesn’t sit well with all the other girls. What ensues is a night no one will forget or live to remember in one of cinema’s most memorable third acts.

A previous blu-ray had been released with not much fanfare and Scream Factory has done completists a favor by porting over those special features onto this release. From the “Acting Carrie” interviews to “A Look At Carrie: The Musical,” there’s a nice mix of the old along with some great new features. There’s some new interviews with those from behind the scenes, such as screenwriter Lawrence D Cohen who shares some detailed insight how the manuscript of the original novel landed in his lap and what kind of creative choices were made in adapting the non-linear story to the screen. Another great interview is with casting director Harriet B. Helberg who shares how each of the main cast members came about and some interesting audition stories. My favorite new feature here is the semi sequel to the original “Acting Carrie” feature with recent interviews of cast members Piper Laurie, PJ Soles, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, and Edie McClurg. I loved seeing what everyone looks like now and what appears to be happy recollections of their time making the film. Sean Clark continues his Horror’s Hallowed Grounds series by visiting the original high school and where the White home original stood (it’s now an eerie vacant lot). A nifty feature I enjoyed (though many others will disagree) is a gallery of trailers of all the CARRIE remakes and sequels. Played back to back, it’s interesting to watch how Carrie is portrayed throughout the years for different generations.

Along with a beautiful 4K scan of the original negative and a 5.1 audio mix that really comes to life when “they’re all gonna laugh at you!” starts haunting Carrie, this release is a must have for fans of our doomed protagonist and well worth the upgrade.