Carrie White

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Carrie White
First appearance Carrie
Created by Stephen King
Portrayed by Sissy Spacek
Linzi Hateley
Jodelle Ferland
Angela Bettis
Molly Ranson
Skyler Wexler
Chloë Grace Moretz
Information
Nickname(s) Carrie
Gender Female
Occupation Student
Family Ralph White (father)
Margaret White (mother)
Rachel Lang (half-sister)
Relatives John Brigham (grandfather)
Judith Brigham (grandmother)
Sadie Cochran (maternal great-grandmother)
Religion Fundamentalist Christianity

Carrietta N. "Carrie" White is a title character and the protagonist of Stephen King's novel Carrie.

In every adaptation and portrayal of Carrie, she is portrayed as an outcast, loathed and taunted by her fellow students and constantly scolded by her mother, Margaret White, an abusive, mentally ill and unstable religious fanatic. At the age of seventeen, she has her first menstrual period in the showers at school, and is harassed by the other girls who throw pads and tampons at her. In a fit of blind rage after being humiliated in front of the school during the prom, Carrie triggers her exceptionally strong telekinetic abilities and ruthlessly massacres her fellow classmates in her rage.

Novel[edit]

Carrie White was born on September 21, 1963. Even though the setting is in May 1979, she is mentioned to be seventeen years old by Sue Snell, but she would be fifteen. She is blonde-haired, full-figured, has acne, and is considered unattractive, though she is described as having been very pretty as a young child. Her clothing is old and puritanical, because her mother will not allow her to buy clothes similar to other girls her age, believing them to be too provocative. Carrie is shy, lonely and isolated; the closest thing she has to a friend at school is fellow student Sue Snell, who pities more than likes her. Carrie does, however, show signs of rebelling against her mother's religious fanaticism. Her mother throws her into a "prayer closet" whenever she misbehaves, but by high school Carrie has begun smuggling teen magazines there and reads them in secret. Later in the novel, she undergoes a profound transformation, both physically and psychologically.

Carrie's incredibly strong telekinetic abilities are present throughout her life, usually evident in childhood incidents. She had closed a window and had dangled her own bottle above her crib when she was a baby. When she was three years old, she witnessed her teenage next-door neighbor sunbathing and asked about her breasts. Her mother physically abused Carrie for asking about such a matter. While she was inside, Carrie brought forth a hail of ice that smashed the bungalow. The chunks of ice were followed by a shower of rocks that plummeted onto the property, damaging it heavily while a table was almost sent toppling through the window.

In 1979, at the age of seventeen, Carrie has her first menstrual period in the shower of the school gym after a physical education class. Due to her mother's bizarre religious beliefs, she did not even know what a period was, and believes she is bleeding to death. The other girls in the locker room, led by Chris Hargensen and Sue, taunt her mercilessly, and the humiliation brings out her telekinetic abilities. Now aware of just how different she is from other girls her age, Carrie begins to practice and harness her telekinetic strength and energy, unaware that using her powers puts a high level of stress on her body. When Tommy Ross asks her to the prom, she eventually says yes, nervous but happy. Her mother attempts to stop Carrie from going, but Carrie insists on trying to fit in and stands up to her for the first time in her life. A talented seamstress, she makes her own dress, and is described as being beautiful as Tommy Ross escorts her to the prom.

At the dance, she gradually comes out of her shell, and even makes jokes while she converses with other promgoers. As she is accepted by the crowd, she begins to enjoy herself for once. Carrie and Tommy are even elected the prom's king and queen after Tina Blake and Norma Watson slip fake ballots into the voting box at the request of Chris. As she ascends the stage to take her crown, however, Chris dumps pig's blood all over her as revenge for being banned from the prom. Carrie runs out of the gym as everyone begins laughing at her. After falling onto the wet lawn outside, Carrie's mind snaps, and she ultimately uses her powers to destroy the school, killing dozens of her fellow students. Walking home, she cuts a huge swath of destruction and death through the town. She stops to pray at a cathedral, all the while manipulating a series of power lines outside, killing several civilians. Sue rushes to the school and watches it explode, which destroys a portion of the town. Carrie then returns home, intending to kill her mother.

When she enters the house, her mother is waiting for her. After telling Carrie the truth about her conception, Margaret stabs her with a butcher knife. Carrie kills her mother by telekinetically stopping her heart. She leaves again, heading for the town roadhouse; Chris and her boyfriend Billy Nolan attempt to run her over with their car before Carrie takes control of it and slams it into the side of the roadhouse. Carrie is left dying from the shock and stress of using her abilities, along with blood loss from the knife wound, on the ground near the destroyed car. Sue finds her two hours later, and invites Carrie into her mind to prove that she was innocent, and did not wish Carrie any harm. Carrie believes Sue and forgives her. Carrie cries out for her mother and dies in Sue's arms.

1976 film[edit]

Sissy Spacek (shown here in 2011) portrayed Carrie White in the 1976 film.

In the original movie adaptation by Brian De Palma, Carrie was portrayed by Sissy Spacek. For her screen test, Sissy Spacek rubbed Vaseline into her hair and didn't bother to wash her face. She also wore a sailor dress (which her mother had made for her when she was in the seventh grade) with the hem cut off.

The plot of the film is essentially the same as that of the book, but a few details are changed or omitted. The film offers no evidence that Carrie's telekinetic powers were present in her life before she was a teenager, instead only being triggered by her first period. Her first shown telekinetic occurrences include breaking a lamp in the shower room, toppling her principal's ashtray in his office, and sending a taunting child swerving off his bike and injuring him. Later, while in her room, she accidentally shatters a mirror by looking at it, unlocks her door from a distance, and pieces the mirror back together.

Spacek as Carrie White in the 1976 film adaptation.

When Tommy Ross asks Carrie to the prom, Carrie runs away and hides, but her teacher, Miss Collins, finds her and convinces her that she is pretty, brushing her hair out of her face to reveal her smile. Carrie accepts the invitation. Her mother tries to make her stay home, but on prom night Carrie stands up to her mother and telekinetically throws her down against the bed.

The high school massacre is depicted more or less the same as in the novel. When Margaret corners Carrie, she hugs her and starts praying with her before stabbing her in the back. Margaret is about to stab her again before Carrie sends a barrage of kitchen utensils flying at her one by one, eventually crucifying her against a doorway, pinning her hands to the beams and sending one last knife spinning into her heart, killing her.

Carrie drags her mother's dead body into the prayer closet to hide and bleeds to death. The film returns to Sue for the final scene. She dreams about leaving flowers on the site where Carrie's house once stood (in its place is a For Sale sign with "Carrie White Burns in Hell" scrawled on it), but it quickly turns into a nightmare when Carrie's bloody hand rises from the earth to grab her. It is revealed that the hand grabbing Sue's arm is actually that of her mother's. Mrs. Snell is trying to wake her hysterical daughter from her nightmare, but Sue just continues to scream in horror, guilt, and torment.

In the film Carrie originally has childish traits. As the film progresses, Carrie gains more adult traits. Michelle Citron of Jump Cut compared Carrie to Babe Levy in the film Marathon Man.[1]

Sequel[edit]

Carrie is also featured in flashbacks in the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2. In the film, Sue Snell is now a high school counselor and still deeply scarred by the events of the prom, being one of the few survivors. Her attentions are drawn to a student named Rachel Lang, who is exhibiting telekinetic abilities similar to Carrie's. She explains to Rachel that telekinesis is a genetic disorder passed down from father to child. After researching Rachel's past, Sue discovers that Rachel is in fact Carrie's paternal half-sister: her father, Ralph White, had left Margaret White for Rachel's mother, Barbara Lang.

1988 musical[edit]

Linzi Hateley as Carrie, with Betty Buckley as Margaret White

In 1988, ''Carrie'' was adapted into a musical co-produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Carrie was portrayed by Linzi Hateley in both the London production and the Broadway transfer. Her songs include "And Eve Was Weak," "Evening Prayers" and "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance" (duets with Betty Buckley as her mother) and the solos "I'm Not Alone" and "Carrie".

Linzi Hateley won a Theatre World Award for Best Newcomer for this, her first starring role.[2] She recorded the song "Carrie" for her album Sooner or Later.[3]

The pig's blood scene and the ensuing massacre is depicted in the musical number "The Destruction". Carrie seals off the exits, kills everyone present (accomplished through pyrotechnics and lasers), and brings down the ceiling, burying the promgoers. Carrie sinks to the floor and begins to cry. Margaret arrives in an evening dress, and comforts her. She then stabs Carrie on the school stairs (a "white-on-white staircase to heaven") during the song "Carrie (reprise)" in a moment described by one scholar as "the sort of moment Florenz Ziegfeld might have come up with had a lunatic asked him to stage a Grand Guignol version of his Follies."[4] Carrie uses her powers to stop Margaret's heart before dying herself, comforted by Sue.

The 2012 revival of the show features a different version of events. The blood is dumped onto Carrie from above, as in the book. She slams the doors shut, and turns off the lights, creating a blackout. The lights struggle back on in a strobe effect, as Carrie forces everyone else to the ground. The students writhe in desperation as Carrie sets the gym on fire, and telekinetically forces Chris Hargensen to break her own neck. Several try to escape, but are pinned to the walls. Carrie then leaves, exploding the gym as she does so. Sue narrates how Carrie cuts a trail of destruction across town on her way home, which Sue herself follows. At the White home, Carrie finds Margaret reciting prayers. She takes Carrie in her arms, and sings softly to her before revealing the kitchen knife and stabbing her. Carrie uses her powers to force the knife out of Margaret's hands before stopping her heart. Sue enters, and cradles Carrie as she dies of her wounds.

2002 television film[edit]

Carrie White was portrayed by Angela Bettis in the 2002 television film.

The television portrayal of Carrie was similar to the original novel, with the exception of her appearance. She was shown as having brown hair, a pale but clear complexion, and a small, slim frame. In this version Angela Bettis plays Carrie. It is implied that she is some shade of Pentecostal; her classmates once heard her speaking in tongues, and thought she was having a seizure (which, in fact, she was).

The story is told as a flashback. The police question several surviving students and faculty about the incident at the school and Carrie's death.

As in the novel, Carrie already shows some signs of rebelling against her mother's fanatical religious beliefs. She has a cross necklace, but only wears it at home. She also hides teen magazines in her "prayer closet," and secretly reads them when her mom locks her there. After gaining confidence from accepting Tommy's invitation to the prom, Carrie retorts to her mother that she often believes her mother makes up the Bible quotes she constantly preaches at her.

Like the novel, her telekinetic abilities were present when she was a child, giving only one example: the shower of flaming rocks. Her only other telekinetic occurrences happened after the shower incident. However, more examples occur in this film that never took place in either the original novel or film; in one scene, she falls into a bizarre trance, during which she bends her metal ruler and cracks her desk in half with her mind, but is unaware of what she's done until she comes back to consciousness. After researching "miracles" and finding out about telekinesis, she begins practicing with it, attempting to control and intensify it.

When Tommy Ross asks her to go to the prom with him, she shyly accepts, but her mother refuses to allow it. Carrie uses her power against her mother, blocking the doorways and preventing Margaret from storming out. Carrie begins taking control of the situation, standing up for herself for once.

As she and Tommy arrive at the prom, Carrie is greeted with open arms, complimented and accepted by the crowd of students and teachers. She actually begins to enjoy herself, and is even more excited when she is elected Prom Queen. While on stage with Tommy, she drifts off into a daydream in which she and Tommy share the dance, leading to a shared kiss.

Bettis as Carrie White in the 2002 TV film adaptation.

Carrie remains inside the gym after the blood lands on her. A few students in on the prank laugh at her, while the others just stare, horrified. Carrie goes into shock and loses control of her telekinesis, sending a wave of energy through the crowd and slamming the doors shut. Tina Blake's date, Kenny, tries to stick his hand through the doors in an attempt to stop them, but Carrie crushes and twists his arm between the doors. Huge sets of lights begin to shake above the crowds, letting off showers of sparks and falling down to the floor. One set swings and smashes against the mural, igniting it in flames.

The students begin to panic, and Carrie knocks Tina to the floor with a basketball backboard before viciously crushing her to death with it. As the gym erupts in panic, Miss Desjarden, along with Norma, find an exit route through a vent as the sprinklers above turn on, showering the gym with water. Carrie breaks the pipes lining the walls, leading up to the sprinklers, sending the water gushing out of the broken end, flooding down onto the floor.

Carrie then pushes the water aside and begins walking out as another set of lights swings and smashes into the electric basketball scoreboard. When it hits the water-soaked floor, it electrocutes everyone inside. As Carrie walks out, the gym collapses behind her. She then makes her way through the town in a trance, destroying it in a similar fashion to the novel, exploding gas stations and destroying cars. Billy attempts to run her over as Chris pleads with him to stop, but Carrie sends the car flying at a tree, crushing them to death.

Carrie finally makes it home; still wearing her blood-covered prom dress, she steps into a bath and washes herself. She then snaps back to herself; she doesn't remember a thing about what happened. Her mother calls her a witch and attempts to drown her in the tub while reciting the "Now I lay me" prayer. With her last ounce of strength, Carrie (telekinetically) stops her mother's heart, killing her - before ceasing to breathe herself.

Sue finds Carrie later, and manages to revive her. Sue then hides Carrie in the ruins of the school for about a week or so, while Sue is questioned by the police. Afterwards, Carrie visits her own grave, as well as her mother's. There, Sue insists that Carrie must not be seen by anyone, and that she must leave town. Sue then offers to drive her as far as Florida, and the film concludes with Carrie startled awake in the passenger seat of Sue's car by visions of her mother and Chris. When Sue questions her, she dismisses the dream as "nothing".

2013 film[edit]

Main article: Carrie (2013 film)
Chloë Grace Moretz portrays Carrie White in the 2013 version.

In the 2013 version of the film, Carrie is portrayed by Chloë Grace Moretz.[5]

Her portrayal is largely a mix of the book and the original film. While she cowers in the shower room under the onslaught of the other girls' taunts, Chris Hargensen records the moment on her smartphone and later uploads it to YouTube. Her first shown telekinetic occurrences include breaking a lamp in the shower room, cracking the water cooler in the principal's office, and sending a taunting child swerving off his bike and injuring him. However, it is not until she causes a crack down the middle of her prayer closet's door that she first suspects she has telekinesis.

While spending the week in study hall, Carrie researches information about her powers both online and via books in the school library, and discovers that telekinesis is passed on from mother to daughter. Her grandmother had it, but her mother doesn't. She gradually learns to harness her power. Unlike the other versions, she can channel it with her hands. When Carrie tells her mother that Tommy asked her to the prom and Margaret refuses to let her go, Carrie lifts her mother off the floor as she tries to walk away, then pins her to the ground.

On prom night, when Margaret continues to beg Carrie not to go, Carrie sends Margaret flying into the prayer closet and locks her in. When Carrie and Tommy get to prom they dance and have fun with the other people. Carrie even starts to come out of her shell and joke. Meanwhile Chris has secretly entered the prom and with the help of her cronies stuffs the ballet box. Tommy and Carrie are declared prom king and queen. As Carrie reaches her star on stage Chris dumps a bucket of pig's blood on her. Covered in blood Carrie stands there stunned. Tommy yells, "What the hell!" before Chris's henchwoman, Tina, projects the video of the shower incident on the big screens. Carrie starts to leave the stage as the rope holding the bucket slips, dropping it on Tommy, killing him. Chris and her boyfriend Billy run fearing that they will get caught as Carrie rushes to Tommy and cradles his head crying. Looking up she sees her own bloody reflection in a pair of sunglasses. Slowly rising she turns around to face the crowd. The lights begin to flicker as blood droplets begin to levitate off her skin. Carrie's eyes dilate before she screams knocking everyone to the ground with a telekinetic wave. She then locks the doors and sending objects flying all over the gym to kill those she believes are responsible. She uses electrical wiring to electrocute most of the survivors after opening the sprinklers. She then levatate across the gym as flames engulf the back stage and curtains. She lands safely outside and begins to walk. Hearing the getaway car Carrie sees Chris and Billy driving away. She follows and opens a large hole in the road with a stomp of her foot. As the car turns around Chris sees Carrie and tells Billy to run her over. As the car comes speeding towards her she stops it telekinetically smashing Billy's head against the steering wheel, killing him instantly. After locking the doors and trying to strangle Chris with her seat belt Carrie uses her powers to lift the car off the road. Chris attempts to make the car go but only succeeds in making the wheels spin before Carrie hurls the car into a gas pump. Chris's head smashes through the windshield and dies. A near by light pole sparks igniting the car and gas pumps as Carrie walks away.

Carrie comes home and washes the blood off of her in the bathtub before collapsing in her mother's arms. As they kneel to pray, Margaret pulls a knife and stabs Carrie in the shoulder. As Margaret attempts to finish her off, Carrie uses her powers to push Margaret away. Margaret manages to slash Carrie in the arm. Carrie launches Margaret against the wall and crucifies her by pinning her to a wall with household objects, including knives that she propels in Margaret's chest and stomach. Carrie then releases her mother and cradles her as Margaret dies in her arms. Realizing what she has done, Carrie becomes hysterical and makes stones start to rain from the sky to crush the house, until Sue shows up. A furious Carrie grabs Sue with her powers and asked her why everyone tricked her at the prom. Sue then shows Carrie her mind and proves to her that she had nothing to do with what happened at the prom. Carrie telepathically learns of Sue's pregnancy and reveals to Sue that the baby will be a girl. Carrie then uses her powers to throw Sue to safety before the stones crush the house. After Sue lays a white rose on her grave, the headstone vandalized with the words "Carrie White Burns in Hell" cracks, leaving it unknown whether or not Carrie is still alive.

Moretz's performance as Carrie was met with a mostly positive response[citation needed].

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carrie meets Marathon Man." Jump Cut. no. 14, 1977. p. 10-12.
  2. ^ "World Theatre Award Recipients, 1987-88". World Theatre Awards. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. ^ "Linzi Hateley recordings". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ Skal, David J. (1993). The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. Penguin Books. pp. 369–70. ISBN 978-0-14-024002-3. 
  5. ^ "Chloe Grace Moretz celebrates 16th birthday with star-studded bash". WMAR-TV-ABC News.

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