Wow. What really is there left to say about Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s famed Carrie? Originally hitting cinema screens in 1976, the tale of poor troubled Carrie White was actually the first of King’s work to be given the big-screen treatment, and many still revere it to be one of his best adaps to date. Now, the guys over at Arrow Video have given this genre classic a swanky new release that includes a new 4K restoration of the film – but is it a worthy addition to your collection or merely another cash-in of yet another old favourite?
In terms of plot, Carrie sees Sissy Spacek in breakout form as the titular teenager. Bullied during the school day, coddled by her religious fanatic of a mother in her home life, young Carrie White is more special than anyone could possibly know. Upon finally being pushed way past her limits, Carrie ultimately snaps and unleashes her telekinetic powers for all to see. Featuring a who’s who of up-and-comers of the day – Spacek, Amy Irving, Bill Katt, P.J. Soles, John Travolta – and with Piper Laurie receiving an Oscar nomination as Carrie’s bonkers mother, De Palma had dished up a bone fide classic of its time and beyond.
Of course, the meat of the matter here is the bonus content included on this new release. And what a brilliant collection of extras they are! As far as we’re aware, this is the first time that the majority of the excessive featurettes featured have appeared on a UK release of Carrie. In amongst said featurettes, we’ve got looks at every possible angle of the movie with the likes of Writing Carrie, Acting Carrie, Shooting Carrie and Visualising Carrie spending a decent chunk of time examining certain elements of the production. Then there’s the audio commentary from genre experts Lee Gambin and Alexander Heller-Nicholas – exclusively recorded for this release – which gives a detailed and engaging insight in to this beloved picture. What’s sure to be a personal highlight of many, however, is the brand-new visual essay which compares the three adaptations of Carrie that we’ve seen over the years (this 1976 version, the 2002 made-for-TV take, and 2013’s Chloe Grace Moretz-headlined redo). This visual essay looks at the vast similarities and differences between these three, showing how Carrie has been adapted to fit the climate of the times over the decades. If we’re being honest, it would’ve been nice to have maybe seen a new retrospective documentary included on this release, but there’s still a ridiculous amount of extra content to keep even the most ardent of Carrie fans busy.
One of the most charming aspects of this new release is the new 4K restoration, adding a further sense of warmth to the more tender bits of Carrie while also allowing for the more intense and erratic moments to ‘pop’ from the screen in a way that again accentuates the whole intimate yet explosive nature of De Palma’s movie.
To conclude – and to return to the point raised in the opening of this review – Arrow Video has garnered a reputation for special features-crammed must-have new releases of old favourites over the years, and this new release of Carrie is yet another essential purchase for any fans of De Palma’s picture or of film in general. Carrie has long been seen as a true classic of genre cinema, and this is a release that not only reinforces that but brings a whole lot more to the viewing experience with its plentiful special features and uber-sharp 4K transfer.
Special Features: New visual essay / Audio commentary / Eleven featurettes / Trailers / TV spots / Radio spots / Gallery / Limited edition 60-page booklet
CARRIE / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: BRIAN DE PALMA / SCREENPLAY: LAWRENCE D. COHEN / STARRING: SISSY SPACEK, PIPER LAURIE, AMY IRVING, WILLIAM KATT, JOHN TRAVOLTA, NANCY ALLEN, P.J. SOLES / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 11TH