Carrie was responsible for a lot of firsts.
The original 1974 novel was horror master Stephen King’s first published book. (He had written ‘Salem’s Lot and two other novels before Carrie, but they were not released until Carrie took off.)
The 1976 film version of Carrie, which is greatly responsible for the novel becoming a best-seller, was the breakthrough movie for Brian DePalma. DePalma had previously been considered a b-movie director with the likes of Sisters and Phantom of the Paradise. On the heels of Carrie, DePalma put together a two-decade run in which he was considered the new master of suspense.
The movie also gave the first starring role to a respected character actress named Sissy Spacek, leading to a long run in which Spacek was considered one of the top actresses in Hollywood. The role also lead to Spacek’s first Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Actress Piper Laurie, who played Carrie’s insane bible-thumping mother, was also nominated for an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress), something very rare at that time for a horror film.
Carrie also offered the first major film role to a sitcom actor (John Travolta, who was then only known as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back Kotter. Travolta also became a huge movie star after this first shot. The original Carrie also offered first roles to lesser-known actors who still went on to impressive careers, including Amy (Crossing Delancey) Irving, Nancy (Dressed to Kill) Allen, P.J. (Stripes) Soles and William (The Greatest American Hero) Katt.
It was later turned into a London musical, had a loosely-connected sequel filmed decades later (though none of the original cast or crew was involved) and was again filmed as a made-for-TV movie. None of these caused even a blip on the pop-cultural radar, except for the musical, which was mocked as a monumental failure in the 1980s, only to become something of a hit in a recent scaled-back Broadway production.
Yet, for all of its historical baggage – perhaps because of it – Carrie would hardly seem to be the most obvious title in King’s huge body of work to get a reboot. More to the point: yet another reboot.
The good news is, despite the fact that the new version of Carrie is relatively unnecessary, it is very skillfully and stylishly done.
In fact, this new version of the movie retains the screenwriter of the original, Lawrence D. Cohen (though it teams him up with co-writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), making sure that the film is relatively faithful to the original.