Carrie was the first movie adaptation of a Stephen King story, and it’s still one of the best.
It was also Brian DePalma’s big commercial breakthrough as a director, and he brought great stylistic flourish to the film. His Hitchcock influence was also brilliantly adapted in the scene where Carrie gets a bucket of blood dumped on her at the prom.
This was a great example of the Hitchcock rule of suspense where you show the audience there’s a bomb under the table that’s going to go off in ten minutes, but the two people at the table have no idea, and the moviegoers go nuts waiting for the big bang. In Premiere Spacek said she felt like a gummi bear covered in the stage blood, which in many films is usually clear Kayro corn syrup mixed with food coloring.
Right now, the remake of Carrie is being shot, and it’s due to hit theaters on April 13, 2013. Carrie’s already been remade as a TV mini-series, and as a stage play, and this latest incarnation is being directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), and stars Chloe Moretz of Kick Ass in the title role, and Julianne Moore as her psycho religious freak mother.
Sciencefiction.com and Blastr also ran some interesting behind the scenes shots of all the buckets of blood that had to be prepared for the remake.
Usually on any horror film you go through gallons of the stuff, let alone a horror film, where you get a bucket of gore dumped all over you. In one picture, you can see three buckets of blood being tested, and while it doesn’t say what the blood is made of, the usual formula of corn syrup and food coloring would be a pretty good guess.
Having studied horror films for quite some time, I’ve also found out that the preparation of bloody is critically important because of how it will turn out on film. I believe the Hammer films were the first time you saw blood in vibrant color, and it was often nicknamed “Kensington gore.”
For the notorious sixties horror film Blood Feast, the blood was custom ordered from a Florida company called, appropriately enough, Barfred Industries. In the first Evil Dead film, Sam Raimi added coffee to the blood, and in Peter Jackson’s gore days, he also added maple syrup to his stage blood, which made the sets even stickier.
The bucket of blood segment is a very important moment in Carrie, because it’s the breaking point where her telepathic powers go out of control and destroy everything in her path. I’m sure the next incarnation of Carrie will put big emphasis on the terrible effects of bullying, but the original film, and much of Stephen King’s work, still does a pretty good job of that.
The original Carrie also gave a lot of pathos to Spacek, that when she finally becomes the prom queen and has her moment in the sun, it’s incredibly tragic when the prank happens. Although the next Carrie’s got a good cast and director in charge, the original set the bar pretty high in terms of DePalma’s filmmaking technique, the impact of the scares, and the anti-bullying message, which all still stand pretty strong.