The Austin Chronicle

DVD Watch

Reviewed by Stephen MacMillan Moser, April 1, 2005, Screens

Carrie: Special Edition

MGM DVD, $14.95

Sissy Spacek is the immortal Carrie White, the avenging angel of all downtrodden and misunderstood teenagers. You know the story, so we don't have to talk about it. Let's talk about the fabulous extras included in this new edition. "Acting Carrie" is a 45-minute exploration of the motivations and behind-the-scenes look at the making of this classic. The principal cast and crew are all interviewed (with the conspicuous exception of John Travolta), sometimes delightfully, sometimes wistfully, but always thoughtfully. It is a film of many firsts: Stephen King's first novel (as well as first film adaptation of a Stephen King novel), Brian De Palma's first mainstream effort, Piper Laurie's first film in 15 years, Betty Buckley's first film, Travolta's first film, P.J. Soles' first film, and Amy Irving's first film. (In fact, Carrie was quite the Irving family production – not only did Amy Irving's real-ife mother Priscilla Pointer play her mother in the movie, but her sister Katie Irving sang the two original songs, "Born to Have It All" and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me.") The film was cast in a dual casting session that De Palma shared with George Lucas, who was casting Star Wars at the time, and several of those auditioning for Star Wars wound up in Carrie instead. Nancy Allen was among them, and admits that the locker room scene is the most disturbing scene she's ever played. Laurie tells us how the famous "dirty pillows" scene had been taken out of the script, but reinstated after she begged them to let her try it. And Buckley reveals that during her character's death scene, De Palma grimly told her, "I want you to squirm like a bug on a pin." Meanwhile, "Visualizing Carrie: From Words to Images" is 40 minutes of discussion and explanation of the technical magic that was used to create the special effects. We learn how true the movie is to the book, though notably, the book contained two scenes of a "shower of stones" from the sky that De Palma had tried to include – one occurred at the start of the movie, but was scrapped because, instead of stones, it looked like rain. The second shower of stones occurs when Carrie's house is collapsing: Due to technical problems, these stones were also scrapped, yet the interior shots had already been done, so, in the finished product, the house in burning on the outside and being bombarded by stones on the inside ... but no one really notices it. Also included is a featurette, "Carrie: The Musical," based on the original novel, in which Betty Buckley played Carrie's mother instead of the gym teacher; a treatise on the writing of King's novel; and the original trailer. These inclusions are what truly make this a special edition that sets an excellent standard.

Also Out Now

Bambi: Platinum Edition (Buena Vista Home Video): Fabulous extras in this edition – everything but a box of Kleenex.

The Brady Bunch: The Complete First Season (Paramount Home Video): Here's the story of a man named Brady. We recommend an ice pick and a bottle of whiskey to dull the pain.

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