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The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma’s career, Carrie takes Stephen King’s horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed “a terrifyingly lyrical thriller”. Sissy Spacek is the shy adolescent brought up by an evangelical Christian mother (Piper Laurie – both actresses were nominated for the Oscar), and mortified when she has her first period in the girls’ shower. The incident leads to a cruel prank, which will in turn unleash Carrie White’s furious response…

De Palma would soon become a bete noir for feminists, but Carrie is actually a feminist horror film – if Carrie becomes monstrous, it’s through the repressive treatment she receives, and the movie’s subjectivity is with her all the way. Who didn’t think prom night was a nightmare?

A pop masterpiece. Carrie did more than thrill, frighten, and captivate me; it sent a volt charge through my system that rewired my imagination, showing me everything that movies could be.

Owen Gleiberman, EW

Terrifyingly lyrical… De Palma builds our apprehensions languorously, softening us for the kill. You know you’re being manipulated but he works in such a literal way and with so much candor that you have the pleasure of observing how he affects your susceptibilities even while you’re going into shock.

Pauline Kael

It is an operatic horror-melodrama blending the family Gothic, supernaturalism, and teen movie. It remains the cinema’s best adaptation of a Stephen King novel…. Sissy Spacek is astonishing in the title role. Her face and body contort like a living special effect to express the unbearable contradictions of Carrie’s experience, as well as the character’s transformation from wallflower to Queen of Death.

Adrian Martin, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Aug 8 Only: Introduction from filmmaker Karen Lam

Aug 10 Only: Introduction from programmer Sonja Baksa


Brian De Palma


Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Piper Laurie

Country of Origin






100 min

Book Tickets

Wednesday August 10

6:10 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
Book Now



Paul Monash


Lawrence D. Cohen


Mario Tosi


Paul Hirsch

Original Music

Pino Donaggio

Art Director

Jack Fisk, William Kenney

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The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".

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