'Carrie' movie poster. Image courtesy of Sony Pictures.
The bloody prom queen's back.
The world of scary has changed dramatically since Julianne Moore queued up at a Virginia strip mall to see 1976's Carrie. "We waited and waited," she recalls. "And we couldn't go in until the show before us came out. And when they came out they were ashen."
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Almost 40 years later, Carrie is preparing to spook the Halloween crowd again, having been pulled out of MGM's vault thanks to the studio's rescue from bankruptcy in 2010 (a re-imagining of 1987's RoboCop is similarly due in February).
Brian De Palma, who directed the original, gave director Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) his blessing on the remake. "It was important to me to modernize the story," says Peirce, calling Stephen King's first mainstream tale "a Cinderella story turned on its head. When I looked at it I thought, 'Oh, this is Shakespearean. This is mythic. This is, essentially, modern and timeless.'"
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Cue a brand-new prom queen (Chloë Grace Moretz) and a strong bout of cyberbullying.
"I think (audiences) need to see the true vulnerability of a modern-day Carrie," says Moretz, who was 15 when pig's blood and telekinesis came calling - more than a decade younger than Sissy Spacek was when she shot the high-school-centered scare-fest. Carrie 2.0 is "completely naïve and innocent within a world that is corrupt with violence and social media," says Moretz, now 16.
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"When you have great source material, like we did with this book, I think it's not so much the idea that you're remaking the movie, you have a property that can afford interpretation," says Moore, who takes over for Piper Laurie and puts a more grounded spin on Carrie's deranged, obsessively religious mother, Margaret White.
And it's especially so for a younger generation pulling a cultural blank, a crowd that includes Moore's own children; the actress gave her 15-year-old son, Caleb, the book to read (but says her daughter Liv, 11, is still too young for the horror story). "There's a whole generation of people who don't know this story at all," says the actress.
Advanced special effects that send Carrie's classmates flying are new, too, but the classic "R" rating remains. "To tell a soft version of this story doesn't really tell the true horror of what happens to her," says Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM's motion picture group. "It's (still) a horror film. And horror films go to certain places. There's blood in the film and action and destruction."
Spacek nabbed an Oscar nomination for Carrie, as did Laurie, but Moretz is just hoping to earn King's crown blessing. "I hope I can live up to Stephen's dream," says Moretz. "It was slightly terrifying to do that, you know what I mean? But it was incredibly exciting."
By Andrea Mandell, USA Today
Gannett / USA Today