Spacek as Carrie White in the 1976 film adaptation.
|Created by||Stephen King|
|Portrayed by||Sissy Spacek (1976)
Annie Golden (1984)
Linzi Hateley (1988)
Jodelle Ferland (2002)
Angela Bettis (2002)
Remy Bogna (2008)
Katrina E. Perkins (2008)
Elisa Pupko (2011)
Noel Wells (2012)
Molly Ranson (2012)
Skyler Wexler (2013)
Chloë Grace Moretz (2013)
Mieko Beyer (2014)
Evelyn Hoskins (2015)
|Family||Ralph White (father)
Margaret White (mother)
Rachel Lang (paternal half-sister; film sequel only)
|Relatives||John Brigham (maternal grandfather)
Judith Brigham (maternal grandmother)
Sadie Cochran (maternal great-grandmother)
In every adaptation and portrayal of Carrie, she is portrayed to be the ultimate high school outcast. She is loathed, taunted and bullied by her classmates and even her teachers. She is mistreated regularly by her mother Margaret White, an abusive, mentally ill and emotionally unstable religious fanatic. At the age of seventeen, she has her first menstrual period in the locker room of her high school, awakening her dormant telekinetic and telepathic abilities. As her powers begin to come full forth, she undergoes a transformation both physically and psychologically. However, after a cruel prank involving pig's blood is pulled on her in front of the entire senior class at her prom, Carrie unleashes her wild talents in a fit of blind rage to ruthlessly massacre her classmates and wreak havoc upon the entire town of Chamberlain in Maine. Her rampage and destruction ultimately causes one of the worst disasters in America--resulting with 440 tragic deaths.
Carrie White was born on September 21, 1963. She is blonde-haired with brown eyes, full-figured, has acne, and is considered unattractive, though she is described as having been very pretty as a little girl. 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. Margaret White, 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.
All her life, Carrie has had incredibly strong telekinetic abilities, usually evident in childhood incidents. As a baby, she had closed a window and had dangled her own bottle above her crib. 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 does not know what a period is and believes she is bleeding to death. The other girls in the locker room, led by Chris Hargensen and Sue, taunt her and the humiliation brings out her telekinetic abilities. However, their teacher Rita Desjardin gives Chris and her gang a week of detention in the gym for bullying Carrie. Chris skips the detention and then is barred from the prom. Now aware of her unique powers, Carrie begins to practice her telekinetic strength and energy, unaware that using her powers puts a high level of stress on her body. Sue starts to feel guilty about her treatment of Carrie, realizing that she is innocent about a lot of things considering her age, and talks her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, into asking Carrie to the prom. He balks at first, but does it to please Sue. When he asks Carrie to the prom, she eventually says yes, nervous but happy. Carrie's mother attempts to stop her 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 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 stuff the voting box at Chris's request. 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 clumsily runs out of the gym humiliated as everyone begins cruelly laughing at her in mass hysteria, including the teachers. She falls onto the wet lawn outside. As she begins crying, her mind snaps, and she realizes that her secret powers give her the upper hand. She returns to the school to seek revenge and uses her telekinesis to lock the doors, burn down the gym, and leave everyone inside, to die. Next she undoes all the fire hydrants near the campus so when the firetrucks do arrive they won't be able to put out the flames. Walking home covered in blood, Carrie leaves a huge swath of destruction and death through the entire town. She stops to pray at a local cathedral, all the while manipulating a series of power lines outside to fall over, electrocuting several civilians in the streets. Meanwhile, Sue rushes to the school and sees it explode, destroying a portion of the town. Carrie then returns home, intending to kill her mother.
When she enters the house, her mother is already waiting for her. After telling Carrie she was born from a marital rape, 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. Two hours later Sue finds her and invites her 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.
In the original movie adaptation by Brian De Palma, Carrie was portrayed by Sissy Spacek: blond-haired with blue eyes and a medium build. 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.
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, with the exception that Carrie remains in the gym after the bucket of blood is dumped over her. She becomes very stiff and appears to go into a trance as she uses her powers to kill the students and destroy the gymnasium. When Margaret corners Carrie, she hugs her and starts praying with her before stabbing her in the back. As Margaret is about to stab her again, 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 body into the prayer closet as the house collapses onto them, 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 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.
Carrie is also featured in flashbacks in the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2. Sue Snell, now a high school counselor, is still deeply scarred by the events of the prom, being one of the few survivors. Her attention is drawn to a student named Rachel Lang, who is exhibiting unstable telekinetic abilities. 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 walked out on his marriage to Margaret White for Rachel's mother, Barbara Lang.
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, who also played teacher Miss Collins in the 1976 film, as her mother) and the solos "I'm Not Alone" and "Carrie".
The pig's blood scene and the ensuing massacre are depicted in the musical number "The Destruction". Carrie seals off the exits, kills everyone present (staged through pyrotechnics and lasers), and brings down the ceiling, burying the prom-goers. 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." Carrie uses her powers to stop Margaret's heart before dying herself, comforted by Sue.
2002 television film
The made-for-television version is overall more faithful to the book, although the special effects are ramped up to 21st century standards. The story is told as a flashback. The police question several surviving students and faculty about the incident at the school and the death of White.
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 viciously crushes Tina Blake to death with the basketball backboard, after striking her to the floor 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. One of the teachers, Rita Desjardin, hurries a few students into the vents before attempting to crawl in herself, only to be left dangling, just as the scoreboard hits the water-soaked floor. Everyone else is electrocuted as they run along the gym floor, and Carrie walks through the doors, and collapses the entire flaming school as she leaves. She then makes her way through the town, destroying it in a similar fashion to the novel, exploding gas stations and destroying cars. Chris and Billy attempt to run her over, but she instead 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.
Anyone who has seen any previous adaptation of the story may automatically assume that she has died. Sue finds Carrie later, and manages to revive her. Sue then hides Carrie in the ruins of the school, 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".
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 bottle 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 the bucket of pig's blood is dumped on her, Chris' henchwoman, Tina Blake, projects the video of the shower incident on the big screen. When the empty bucket of blood hits Tommy and kills him, Carrie finally snaps. She knocks everyone to the ground with a telekinetic wave and locks the doors. She then sends objects flying all over the gym and manipulates numerous objects to kill those she believes are responsible. She then opens the sprinklers and drops several wires from the ceiling, setting the gym ablaze. She then flies out of the gym and walks home, cutting a swath of destruction. On her way home, she spots Chris and Billy driving toward her and opens a hole rain the road with a stomp of her foot. She then lifts the car off the ground and telekinetically smashes Billy's head against the steering wheel, killing him instantly. After first trying to strangle Chris with her seat belt, she smashes her head through the windshield, then hurls the car into a gas pump.
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.
Powers and Abilities
- Telekinesis - Carrie's most known psionic ability is that she can easily control, rearrange, assemble, manipulate, throw and move multiple objects and people at once by strongly focusing her mind and boundless energy on the voluntary action or to channel her telekinesis through her emotions or impulse. In the novel, Carrie referred to her telekinesis as "flexing". To manipulate objects all she had to do was picture them in her mind. She could also mentally feel the weight and pressure of the object she was manipulating. This caused her heart beat to pump faster and caused hemorrhaging to her brain which contributed to her death. In the 1976 movie, Carrie must see with her eyes what she manipulates; the 2013 movie shows Carrie using her hands to manipulate her telekinetic strength. In the 2013 movie: While heading out the door to prom, Carrie forced Margaret to freeze and telekinetically forced her mouth shut as she pushed her into the Prayer Closet and then slammed and locked the door. She was also able to telekinetically levitate herself as shown after she finished her attack at the prom while she levitated off the stage. The level of telekinesis Carrie displayed in all incarnations seemed to be tied to her rage; the angrier she became, the more feats of telekinesis she was able to achieve. In the novel, after the prank is pulled on her, Carrie telekinetically unscrews all the fire hydrants in the town to prevent the fire trucks from putting out any of the flames she created by her destruction. She also uses her powers to throw several objects around while praying in the cathedral while also manipulating the powerlines outside to fall over in a domino effect, setting various neighborhoods ablaze. Carrie then uses the wires to electrocute hundreds of her neighbors in the street at the same time.
- Telepathy - Carrie also possess telepathic abilities that include the reading of minds, projection of thoughts and manipulation of minds. The first mention of telepathy in the book takes place when Tommy Ross invites Carrie to the senior prom of Ewen High and ends up with a weird sensation in his head, and when Carrie subconsciously reads Miss Desjardin's thoughts about her, which was a mixture of sympathy and hidden disgust. Carrie's telepathy grew stronger by the time of the prom night, when she unknowingly reached into Tommy's head and twisted things around. Tommy described it as though Carrie's mental voice and image were stuck in his mind and blanked his other thoughts out (an indication of Carrie's mind control abilities), so much so that Tommy began to fear Carrie. After the pig's blood is dumped on her and everyone laughs, Carrie reads Miss Desjardins thoughts, which is of lying compassion. Carrie could see with her mind where the real Miss Desjardin was, and she was still laughing on the inside. The novel also had Carrie display her telepathy to its full potential after she destroyed and burned down the high school and telepathically broadcast her name and thoughts to anyone that was within a certain radius of the disaster area; people who had no idea who Carrie White was, suddenly knew her name, where she was, and the fact that she was responsible for the school and the town's destruction. This was what made the survivors of Chamberlain remember who Carrie was when they testified in court on the witness stand. When Carrie walked to the roadhouse after killing her mother, she found Chris Hargensen and her boyfriend Billy Nolan in the parking lot getting into Billy's car. Seemingly due to her telepathy, she began shouting her name inside of their heads. This was probably in an attempt to intimidate them and let them know they had met their match. The end of the novel had Carrie engage in a telepathic conversation with Sue Snell. After Sue felt Carrie drawing her in with her telepathy and ended up getting "mindraped" when she invited Carrie to read her thoughts to prove her innocence; this was a painful experience for Sue. When Carrie died, Sue felt her death due to the psychic connection. The 2002 movie shows Carrie subconsciously sharing flashbacks of her life with Sue, but she does not appear to read Sue's thoughts, an ability she probably would have shown in the television series that was never made. The 2013 movie implies that Carrie telepathically connected with Sue in both directions: Carrie tells Sue that she would soon have a baby girl, shortly before gently forcing her out of her home. This ability is not directly addressed in the 1976 movie.
- Pyrokinesis and Thermokinesis - Unique to the 2013 movie, Carrie could also pyrokinetically, thermokinetically ignite objects. She initially displayed this ability by fusing the slide lock on the door to keep her mother locked in the prayer closet and also blowing cars up with her mind. While fire and explosions are seen in the book, Carrie only opens gasoline pumps and ruptures natural gas lines; the ignition source in every case is a cigarette carelessly discarded by another person. The 2002 movie hints at this ability but shows most fires started by sparking electrical equipment rather than pyrokinesis. This ability can be known as telekinetic destruction, molecular manipulation, spontaneous combustion, or telekinetic explosion.
- Geokinesis - In the 2013 movie, Carrie also showed the earth-related elemental ability to create strong and destructive earthquakes, when she was pursuing Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan causing a fissure to follow them; Later, while mourning her mother's death, a distraught Carrie geokinetically summoned a shower of rocks to rain down on and destroy both her and her house.
- Technopathy and Electromagnetism: In the 2002 movie, Carrie is able to cause a microphone cable to spark without touching or damaging it through other means. In the 2013 movie, she was able to disrupt electronic appliances such as lights to flicker or malfunction.
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