'Carrie': The Final Scare...Readers Beware!

'Carrie': The Final Scare...Readers Beware!

“Carrie” courtesy of United Artists.

“Carrie” courtesy of United Artists.

By Peter Kougias

Thinking about “Carrie”, Sissy Spacek drenched in pig’s blood strikes a chord among cultural icons, but the classic film’s final scene astounds throughout cinema. When Sue Snell (Amy Irving) visits Carrie’s grave, the hand of the titular character sprouts from the ground, and grabs Snell’s arm, pulling her into the crypt.

Compared to Stephen King’s source novel, Brian DePalma’s film lacks the ambiguity of King’s optimistic ending. Carrie dies in the arms of Sue after a telepathic connection revealing Sue’s innocence from the horrific prank. The film however places the guilt of Carrie’s demise onto Sue’s psyche rather than letting her go.

Because of Spacek’s notorious reign covered in blood, the film’s surface layer illuminates a splatter flick, rather than the allegory of high school being Hell on Earth.

By default, Carrie’s destruction is due to Sue’s gesture, even though her intentions lacked cruelty compared to the other students. For a film to seek out the truth in the dark hallway of high school, the final scare of “Carrie” reminds audiences of the guilts that wake them in cold sweat.

Through Sue’s perspective, She redeems her abuse of popularity by letting Carrie end Senior Year on top like all most classmates endured in their educational career. However, Sue’s grief embodies Carrie’s bloody hand bursting out of the grave, since all their peers perished. Sue’s act of kindness backfires as most high school students do when handling their hormones.

“Deliverance” courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Deliverance” courtesy of Warner Bros.

The ending came as a whim since the novel’s epilogue lacked a cinematic experience compared to its haunting prose. The hand homages the contemporary thriller “Deliverance” where a hand emerges out of a murky lake in the final scene.

When released in 1976, audiences jumped out of their seats and screamed as the credits rolled. “I looked at my wife and said ‘this movie’s gonna be huge!” King reflected on the disarray during an advanced screening on Halloween.

Even with the pig’s blood thriving throughout visual medium, the ending’s impact is the “must have” for horror seeking audiences.

Four years later, “Friday The 13th” utilized the same scare tactic. Alice (Adrienne King) sleeps in a canoe when the police arrive. As she wakes up, she is pulled underwater by a young Jason Voorhees. Making up for the script’s lack of an ending, makeup artist Tom Savini suggested alluding the end of “Carrie”. The ending of “Friday the 13th” is a beat-for-beat replica down to the mirage of a calm score distracting the audience from panic.

“Friday the 13th” courtesy of Paramount.

“Friday the 13th” courtesy of Paramount.

“Friday the 13th part 2” courtesy of Paramount.

“Friday the 13th part 2” courtesy of Paramount.

Becoming a knock off in horror, mainstream audiences expect the monetized “final scare”, since certain film’s lack terror in their overall picture. This year’s The Nun being a critical flop, but making up for its ticket receipts, proves most audiences are in for a high demand product.  

The final scene in “Carrie” is now a norm, while it continues to shock. Watch the film with somebody who hasn’t seen it and the timeless magic of “Carrie” will conjure a scare!

“Carrie” courtesy of United Artists.

“Carrie” courtesy of United Artists.

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