Sunday, October 26, 2008

Remembering "Carrie"

If you were a teenager in the 1970's, "Carrie" was a movie you never forget. I certainly never did. I remember a group from school went to see on a Friday afternoon. It played in the Puerto Rico theater in Santurce. In those days, one screen theaters like the norm and you would wait outside in the lobby to wait for the previous show to end. While waiting one would look at the lobby cards and the various posters for upcoming attractions. While doing so with a group of friends, we suddenly heard the biggest audience scream I have witnessed in my life. Two minutes later, hundreds of people left the theater, laughing, excited. Everyone waiting to get in was wondering what all the screaming was all about.

So we went in. The movie begins with a volleyball game and then the titles appear over scenes of the young women in their locker room. This was a scene that a teenager can never forget. There was nudity everywhere, there was Nancy Allen completely nude, Amy Irving in only underwear. You inmediately knew that anything could happen in this movie. And th movie does eliver some amazing shocks, including the final shock that made everybody jump out of their seats. It is still the most memorable jolt one can experience in a horror movie. No scene has ever made me feel that way.

I had not seen "Carrie" in years. But yesterday I decided to watch the DVD. First thing, the locker room scene is still as memorable. In a way, it looks more daring today since nudity has all but disappear from multiplex screens, replaced by gore and extreme violence. The shocks are still there but, with age, one notices different things. First, one can appreciate the cruelty that was inherent in the world of high school. even though life can always be cruel, nothing can be as cruel as high school. For some reason, those years bring out the worst in people. And "Carrie" certainly shows that. Second, one sees life's ironies in realizing what happened to many of the actors in the movie. John Travolta and Sissy Spacek went on to become stars, William Kaat ended up in awful movies, Amy Irving married Steven Spielberg , but her career went nowhere.

Finally, there's the ending. I knew it was coming and it brought back so many memories of that Friday afternoon at the Puerto Rico. But it did not make me jump. Unfortunately, things like that only work once in a lifetime. And in a dark movie theater. Especially on a Friday afternoon with friends.

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