Stephen King says this horror classic hasn’t aged well, and he’s wrong

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Stephen King’s relationship with adaptations of his works is known for its complexity, notably exemplified by his well-documented disdain for Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of “The Shining,” despite its acclaim as one of cinema’s finest achievements.

However, amidst the myriad adaptations, Brian de Palma’s 1976 rendition of “Carrie” stands out as one of the superlative horror films derived from King’s literary realm. In this cinematic translation, Sissy Spacek delivers a riveting performance as the titular character, a telekinetic teenager ensnared in the clutches of her fanatically religious mother. The film crescendos with a harrowing climax, as Carrie, drenched in pig’s blood at her high school prom, unleashes her devastating powers in a blaze of vengeance.

Reflecting on “Carrie” in a 2007 interview with ABC News’ Nightline, King offered a nuanced perspective, acknowledging its merit while expressing reservations about its aging process. While he deemed it a “good movie,” he opined that it hadn’t retained its freshness as effectively as some of his other adaptations—a viewpoint partially disputed by its enduring impact.

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Indeed, “Carrie” remains a cornerstone of the horror genre, standing as a testament to its enduring potency on the silver screen, even after decades. Spacek and Piper Laurie, who portrayed Carrie’s mother, both earned Oscar nominations for their performances, with Laurie’s portrayal particularly striking. The film’s influence is underscored by its lasting legacy, with many still regarding it as a pinnacle of cinematic terror.

The enduring allure of “Carrie” prompted a remake in 2013, featuring Chloe Grace Moretz in the lead role and Julianne Moore stepping into Laurie’s formidable shoes. While the remake garnered its share of commendation, it failed to capture the visceral intensity of De Palma’s original, which remains a benchmark of unhinged suspense and psychological torment.