I read the Stephen King novel last year (my review here) and I finally got around to seeing the movie. I don’t remember particularly liking the book, but I thought it was worthwhile because of all of the pop references I now understand. This was Stephen King’s first published book and first movie adaptation of his work. He received a $2,500 advance for the novel and $2,500 for the film rights. Must have been a popular number.
King said of Carrie, “I’m not saying that Carrie is shit and I’m not repudiating it. She made me a star, but it was a young book by a young writer. In retrospect it reminds me of a cookie baked by a first grader — tasty enough, but kind of lumpy and burned on the bottom.”
The paperback sold over a million copies the first year it was released. The movie made $33.8 million in 1976 when it came out.
On with the comparison…
The Story/ Plot Carrie is an odd high school girl raised by her very religious mother. Carrie has telekinetic powers and can move things with her mind, when she’s upset it is unintentional. She is an outcast at school and is ostracized even more after starting her period in the gym shower. Sue feels guilty for her role in Carrie’s meltdown and offers up her popular boyfriend, Tommy, to take Carrie to prom.
There are many differences between the book and movie, but the idea remains the same. Carrie has a crazy mother, can do crazy things with her mind, and goes completely crazy at the prom.
For me, the book’s documentary style telling, using interviews and police reports after the fact, was much more interesting than the straightforward way of the film. Thumbs Up– Book
The Visual Although I preferred what actually happened in the book, the visual of the movie was cool to see and did a pretty good service to the novel. It was like stepping back into the 1970’s. I was completely distracted by Tommy’s hair every time he was in a scene. It was large and shiny and blonde. And the shower scene totally worked on film (although having girls frolic and chat while naked was not my high school gym experience). The actual prom scene was cool, but I was expecting more. Thumbs Up- Tie
Characters vs. Actors I did not really connect with Carrie in the book, but in the movie I was able to see her in a more positive light thanks to Sissy Spacek. She saved the character for me. I was a little miffed at what they did to the character of Sue in the movie, but actress Amy Irving can’t be held responsible for the screenplay. Thumbs up – Movie
(SPOILERS) The Ending The end of the book was a firestorm that brought down a town. In the movie Carrie gets a little knock on the head and she’s dead. There’s really no comparison. I will give a shout out to the movie for its VERY different ending – I jumped and was a bit freaked out, so it’s not all bad. Thumbs Up- Book
And the winner is… the book. I’m not taking anything away from the movie but when compared side by side it was an easy call.
Now it’s your turn to vote