Digi-Schlock: CARRIE (1976) (Scream Factory 2 Blu-Ray Set)

For a while, Carrie was one of those titles that had a good special edition on DVD and a bare-bones edition on blu-ray.  Thankfully, Scream Factory has picked up the title for a reissue and has not only sprung for a new transfer but added a collection of extras old and new.  The result is a special edition worthy of this title’s classic Carrie-blustatus.

The new transfer is derived from a 4K scan of the negative and it’s a dramatic improvement on the older blu-ray transfer: the colors have a natural look, the black levels have a new richness and the detail looks impressive but remains appropriate for the film’s glossy/hazy look.  Both 5.1 stereo and 2.0 mono mixes are included in lossless form here: the 5.1 was used for this review and it does a beautiful job spreading around the lush Pino Donaggio musical score.  It also gives a nice surround-sound boost to the sound effects during the film’s bombastic third act.

Better yet, there’s a comprehensive set of bonus features that involve almost all the key players on both sides of the camera…

Writing Carrie (29:07): a new interview with screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen.  He starts off with the early days of his career and how circumstances gave him a relationship with the novel long before he got the job to adapt it.  From there, he gets into the unique challenges of adapting the novel for the screen and the helpful changes that Brian DePalma devised for it.  There’s also a fun tale about a preview screening for the film and discussion of the successful revival for the Carrie stage musical he co-wrote.

Shooting Carrie (15:22): a chat with cinematographer Mario Tosi, who reveals that he replaced another D.P. early in the shoot.  He gives an insider’s take on DePalma and his famous visual sense, including an account of the film’s most challenging shot.


Cutting Carrie (25:09): editor Paul Hirsch provides some fascinating insight into how the film achieved a lot of its famous cinematic effect in the editing room.  He goes deep on the challenges of cutting the elaborate prom sequence and also has interesting anecdotes about the finale, the famous shock coda and the slapping scene.  It’s great stuff for filmmakers, with Hirsch offering a scholarly insight into the theories of film suspense he and DePalma drew upon.

Casting Carrie (16:03): a sitdown with Harriet B. Helberg, the casting agent who played a crucial role in putting together the film’s amazing cast.  You’ll get interesting tales about all the up-and-comers in the cast including Sissy Spacek’s distinctly “method” audition, how it was difficult for Allen to land her role and some fond memories of John Travolta and P.J. Soles.


Acting Carrie (42:42): a jumbo featurette from the old special edition DVD that includes DePalma along with Spacek, Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt and several more.  It touches on how the film was part of a dual casting session with the original Star Wars before getting into different casting tales and the acting challenges of different scenes.  Buckley and Allen reveal DePalma’s manipulative techniques for getting a desired performance and Spacek and Soles reveal the often-grueling physical challenges of acting in the big prom scene.

More Acting Carrie (20:19): a newly-filmed supplement to the above segment.  Most of the actors return and get to expand on anecdotes they only touch on elsewhere.  For example, Buckley shares some nice memories of Spacek and Soles offers an interesting analysis of her character.  A new addition here is Edie McClurg, who is charming as she relates the naive joy she felt working on her first film.

Visualizing Carrie (41:33): the other big featurette from the old special edition DVD covers the film’s extraordinary visual style and features input from DePalma, Hirsch, Cohen and production designer Jack Fisk.  Hirsch offers a sophisticated analysis of the story through visuals, sometimes supplements by equally insightful comments from Cohen, and Fisk offers some details on different sets and locations.  It’s particularly nice to have DePalma explaining his techniques and motivation.


Bucket Of Blood (23:53): an interview with composer Pino Donaggio.  He starts with how he got the gig and then gets into his working method with DePalma, how he devised melodies and themes and which piece earned applause from the director.  The music is a big piece of the film’s effect so fans will enjoy hearing from the man behind it.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (11:25): The latest installment of Sean Clark’s location travelogue takes you to all the sites of the high school interiors.  It also reveals how many of the locations for home have changed dramatically over the years.


Carrie The Musical: a quick bit that dates back to the special edition DVD and features Cohen and Buckley discussing the film’s initially unsuccessful stage musical redux.  Cohen offers his take on why it didn’t work in its original form and Buckley shares an amazing anecdote about the audience response to one of its big scenes.

Other Extras: the theatrical trailer, trailers for the remakes, five strong t.v. spots, two radio spots, still galleries for behind-the-scenes shots and posters/stills and an excellent multi-part text essay about the original novel, the adaptations and the differences between the two.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Carrie, click here.

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