Girls in Horror Movies: Carrie

This week I’ll be talking about the 2013 horror movie Carrie  Based on Stephen King’s book, Carrie focuses on the tumultuous teenage years of Carrie White. Carrie is not a normal teenage girl, however, as she has begun to develop telekinetic powers.

We first meet Carrie when she’s showering after gym class and she gets her first period. Carrie has no knowledge of periods and thinks she is dying! She also gets no help from the other girls as they merely mock her. Carrie is sent home from school and her mother declares menstruation to be a sin while locking her in the “prayer closet”. Carrie screams and a crack appears on the door of the closet giving us our first hint at her telekinesis.

The girl who bullies Carrie the most – Chris – refuses to attend detention for her behaviour towards Carrie in the gym showers, resulting in her being banned from Prom. Another one of the bullies, Sue, regrets teasing Carrie and gets her boyfriend Tommy to ask Carrie to Prom. Carrie is excited but her mother forbids her from attending, so Carrie attacks her with her telekinetic powers. Chris, in the meantime, is plotting revenge against Carrie with her boyfriend Billy.

At Prom, Carrie and Tommy are named Prom King and Queen. While they are being crowned, a bucket of pig’s blood, planted by Chris and Billy, falls on them. The bucket accidentally kills Tommy! Carrie is furious and uses her telekinesis to lock the doors of the hall. A fire breaks out and the school begins to burn with everyone locked inside. Chris and Billy attempt to escape in a car, but Carrie flips the car and kills them. Carrie heads back home and her mother declares Carrie to be the devil incarnate so Carrie kills her. Sue arrives at Carrie’s house and Carrie begins to attack her but she realises Sue is pregnant. She pushes Sue away to save her, while the house comes crashing down around Carrie, apparently killing her. The movie then pans to a little while later; with Sue visiting Carrie’s grave. As Sue leaves, Carrie’s scream can be heard – so is she dead after all?

Carrie depicts a very unusual coming-of-age story which prompts a lot of unanswered questions, the main one being: why did Carrie’s telekinetic powers grow stronger after getting her first period? There have been discussions about how Carrie, after reaching puberty, is discovering her sexuality, which is manifested in her telekinesis. It could also be said that puberty makes Carrie become stronger. The telekinetic powers could visually show her newfound strength, and it allows her to fight back against the hardship she has endured silently for years.

The majority of the main characters in the movie (Carrie herself, Carrie’s mother, Chris, Sue, etc.) are all female, which is very unusual. Stereotypically, it is a weak girl who battles against the strong men. This spin on the classic stereotype means that Carrie shows that girls can be stronger than people may initially expect! Carrie is one of my personal favourites – if you haven’t already seen it, you should!

-Lexi Burrows
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.


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