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Neil Mitchell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733728

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733728.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Birth of a Monster

Birth of a Monster

(p.15) Part One: Birth of a Monster

Neil Mitchell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the surrounding forces, both individual and collective, which led to the writing and subsequent filming of Carrie (1976), giving a clear picture of its place within the popular culture of the era and offering an insight as to how Brian De Palma and his cast and crew capitalised on numerous factors to bring Carrie to the big screen. As with all movies that attain a lasting resonance and/or reverential status, there is no single defining attribute that led to Carrie's standing as a classic, but rather a convergence of diverse determining factors. Talent, happenstance, timing, and prevailing social, cultural, and political climates and mores are all equally influential elements that affect a movie's reception. In Carrie's case, these factors gestated in the fledgling career of horror novelist Stephen King, De Palma's ambitions (commercial and artistic), the climate of unrest in America in the early 1970s, and the wave of homegrown nihilistic horror movies that both commented on and reflected the country's troubled psyche at the time. Along with the ‘paranoid conspiracy’ thrillers and pointedly political movies of the time, the horror movies released in America in the 1970s were at the forefront of cinematic responses to a sustained period of cultural upheaval, social turbulence, and political disenchantment.

Keywords:   Carrie, popular culture, Brian De Palma, Stephen King, 1970s America, nihilistic horror movies, American horror movies

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