Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is an oddball high school introvert whose a constant target for cruel jokes and abuse at the hands of the other girls, boys, and even some of the faculty members. As if her school day wasn't bad enough, Carrie has to contend with her psychotic mother ( a brilliant Piper Laurie) who attributes everything wrong OR right in Carrie's life to the wages of sin. Carrie, however, harbors a secret, and that is her recently developed gift of telekinesis. She handles the gift with innocence, until a pair of well meaning student's plan to give Carrie a memorable senior prom is thwarted by the school's queen bitch Chris (Nancy Allen) and her dimwitted boyfriend Billy (John Travolta), who, in turn, hatch a plot that pushes Carrie over the edge, taking everyone with her.
King's horrific coming of age story makes the leap to screen in a way that none of his novels have since. De Palma and screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen faithfully and lovingly recreate the world of Carrie White, from it's most poignent moments (her first dance with Tommy (Katt), the most popular boy in school) to it's most terrifying (Carrie's final confrontation with her mother). Of course, De Palma adds much of his own vision to King's, and when these two minds in their prime team up the results are electrifying! De Palma's split screen finale remains one of the most effective and satifying moments in horror history, and holds up as well today as it did over 25 years ago.
Spacek and Laurie both deliver Oscar calibur performances (both were nominated) and the terrific supporting cast reads like a who's-who in the world of horror! Carrie is more than the finest adaptation of a Stephen King horror novel, it is, quite simply, one of the best horror films of the 1970's. From the stand-out performances and bravura direction to a story that runs the gamut from touching to terrifying, Carrie is a film that both genre fans and non-genre fans can appreciate as a motion picture classic.
MGM presents Carrie in a somewhat spotty 1080p MPEG2 encode that only proves to be a slight upgrade over its DVD cousin. The transfer lacks the depth and detail BD affords, which is a shame given that Carrie is a fascinating looking film, and would have been a knockout if more time and care were taken with the transfer. Grain, flecks, and fluttering mar the image, and, while the image quality is better than the DVD, it's not nearly the stellar treatment I've seen given to titles from the era.
The 5.1 DTS-HD soundtrack is decidedly better, offering a fairly robust representation of the film’s haunting score, crisp dialogue, and lots of wonderfully subtle surround effects that fill the room. Like the video transfer, it’s nowhere near reference quality, but still an upgrade over the DVD.
Sadly, MGM has opted not to include the great special features recently made available on DVD, like the two 45 minute featurettes, “Acting Carrie” and “Visualizing Carrie”. Those featurettes made double-dipping on Carrie (MGM originally released it as a barebones DVD) well worth the expense, but, here, all we get is the film’s original trailer (HD), as well as a pair of trailers for other releases.
Carrie is a classic flick more deserving of the "catalog title" treatment it gets here, but, unfortunately, sports just a marginally better video presentation than the Special Edition DVD, and lacks any of that release's quality extras. This makes it impossible for me to recommend purchasing this title as an upgrade over the Special Edition DVD. For those of you who don't already own the film (or care about supplemental features), this is still the best the title's looked and sounded, but it could have been so much better.