Halloween Scene: Carrie (1976)

I am ridiculously embarrasses to admit that I have never seen Carrie all the way through, unrated up until this point. I swear, I THOUGHT I had. It was even crossed off in my copy of Creature Features, but, after deciding to watching something classic on the NetBox and choosing Carrie, I quickly realized I had never seen this movie. You know how I knew I’d never seen it? The tampon scene. I’ve heard about it and remembered hearing about a little too late and was completely horrified. Not by the menstruation itself, but by how utterly horrible that would be if it happened to you in public and, instead of people being like “Oh hey, we all do that and don’t die, no worries” they laugh and throw tampons. Even the fat, ugly girl with glasses. What does she have to laugh at!!!

Sorry, I got heated up watching this flick (is that a pun?). I had three overwhelming emotions the whole time: dread, anger and hope. See, we all know about the pig’s blood at the prom and that carnage quickly ensues. But I was still gritting my teeth the entire time Carrie was getting ready for the Greatest American Hero to take her to prom. I kept wondering if he and his maybe girlfriend (the survivor) were in on it, or if they really were just being nice. I wanted him to be a nice guy because he really seemed like one, unlike that pig-killing mook Travolta. Anyway, once the craziness actually started (and boy, does director Brian De Palma play these scenes up to all their nerve-wracking potential) that’s when the rage kicks in. It’s weird because I don’t usually get this emotional when watching a movie, but the dread I felt reminded me of the first time I saw Dark Knight. I had a visceral, in-my-gut reaction to Heath Ledger’s Joker. I was scared of the screen whenever he was on. I had the same feeling leading up to the prom scene. That’s a hell of a thing to get a jaded film fan like me to feel.

Think about it. The dumb villain girl was SO angry at someone else for HER OWN MISTAKE that she set into motion a fairly complicated plan with a lot of working parts that went off without a hitch, all for the sole purpose of humiliating the initial victim of her jerkiness AGAIN. If she had survived, the CIA should have picked her up to plan assassinations, cause she’s cold blooded.

Also, wow, I did not see the teacher’s death coming. That was nutzocrazytown. Bisected even. You gotta reign that in Carrie, at least to have one witness who can blame the dumb girl with the red hat for everything even though she’s dead (sup PJ Soles).

This far into the review, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I’ve never read Stephen King’s novel that this was based on, so I have no idea how much of the movie was in the book and vice versa or how “accurate” it was, but it works perfectly on the screen. One of the most impressive story elements is the layers of danger. You’ve obviously got Carrie with her crazy power and the evilness of teenage girls, but also Carrie’s mom. You NEVER know what she’s gonna do. Damn. I wonder of JK Rowling got the closet idea from Carrie. If so, she should have put a scene in the movies where Harry burns their stupid house to the ground, because you NEED that kind of catharsis after a movie like this. And, even as much as I wanted Carrie to survive this whole mess, move to another town and start over, maybe raise a child of her own who isn’t crazy, she had to pay for what she did.

Finally, the final bit. Unlike the prom scene, there was zero dread for the final “hand out of the ground” scare. Part of the reason is that my memory was refreshed of the scene while watching Going To Pieces, when Sean Cunningham and Tom Savini are talking about the ending of Friday the 13th. They talk about having just seen Carrie and wanting to do something like that, hence the burnt kid out of the water. Another factor that kind of took me out of the moment comes from the survivor’s mom. She’s talking to her friend on the phone and says something along the lines of “The doctor says that she’s young and she’ll forget.” Haha, what?! She’s 17 or 18 and she’s going to forget the night her entire class was decimated by Hellfire and a house fell into the earth? The night her maybe-boyfriend died? Wow, good doctoring there. The final reason why it wasn’t very scary is that it’s very obviously a dream, She’s all glowy and whatnot, plus the hand comes out kind of slow and sloppily. I guess it would have been pretty scary the first time you saw it, but I guess I’ve seen too many movies that ripped the idea of that last minute scare like F13 and The Strangers.

Halloween Sccene: House (1986)

2008-10-25
8:13:07 pm

I went to Blockbuster last night looking for something without really know what. I went through the new releases and there wasn’t really anything I wanted to watch on my own (Em hates horror movies, so I watch them after she goes to bed). I found myself in the not great, but not awful horror section looking around and found two movies I wanted to check out. One was Halloween H20 which I still haven’t seen. That was going to be the pick until my eyes panned down and I saw a DVD copy of House. I knew nothing about this movie, but remember seeing it all the time when I used to go to the video store with my parents. The creepy hand always freaked me out. I’m not sure why I never rented it once I turned 16, but that’s another story. The cover I remember seeing is below:

House won out over H20 (partly because I haven’t watched H5 or 6 yet this year), but I ended up falling asleep around 11:30 last night. I did wake up around 1:30, tried to watch it then, but kept getting freaked out by the old lady as I fell in and out of sleep and decided to just call it a night and go back to bed.

I lucked out today and Em took a nap, which gave me time to check House out and I kind of love this movie. It’s not a great film and it’s not all that scary, though I do really like the practical demon/monster/zombie make up and effects. It’s kind of creepy, well acted and just well put together, but it’s also fun.

Just check out the people who helped put this movie together. It’s directed by by Steve Miner who also did Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3 and Halloween H20 (weird coincidence, huh? that I was choosing between two Miner movies). The script was based on a story by Fred Dekker, the dude who wrote Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps (a former Manly Movie Mamajama pick). Plus you’ve got William Kat who used to be the Greatest American Hero, Cheers’ George Wendt and Night Court’s Richard Moll in starring rolls. Seeing Richard Moll in a monster roll kind of validates all of the weirdness he gave off on Night Court (anyone else remember the series finale where he got beamed up by aliens?).

House is basically a haunted house movie with some monster, zombie and Vietnam War moments thrown in as well. Katt plays a writer who decides to live in his aunt’s old house after she hangs herself. It’s also the house that he and his wife lived in when their son mysteriously disappeared. He’s there working on a book about his experiences during the Vietnam War, but also getting hassled by a very cool looking monster in the closet and other tricks the house is playing on him to get rid of him. Meanwhile George Wendt plays his nosey neighbor who gets pulled along for the ride because he can’t mind his own business. Moll plays Katt’s army buddy who he refused to kill and ended up getting captured by the enemy. His ghost comes back later and looks AWESOME. We’re never quite sure why the house is being such a jerk, but it doesn’t really matter as the story focuses on Katt beating the house and eventually getting his son back. It’s kind of a fist pumping ending which I appreciate. And you know what? I don’t need an explanation. As long as the movie makes enough sense to not make me mad, I’m happy with it.

House isn’t Jaws, Halloween or TCM, but it is a fun movie that kept my attention the whole time. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a movie like this nowadays. It’s somewhat lighthearted, funny when it’s supposed to be, happy, sad and sports some of the coolest looking practical effects I’ve seen in a while.