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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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Life After Death: Carrie’s legacy

Life After Death: Carrie’s legacy

(p.85) Part 4: Life After Death: Carrie’s legacy

Neil Mitchell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter highlights Carrie's legacy. The influence of Brian De Palma's Carrie, in terms of themes, structure, and milieu, would be felt across not just the horror genre but also the comedy genre in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carrie's focus on adolescents, its ‘final scream’ sequence, pre-occupation with bodily emissions, victim/hero/monster central character, contemporary settings, and pop culture references within a genre-straddling narrative would be referenced by and provide the inspiration, in one form or another, for a multitude of subsequent movies. The high school, or other educational establishment, became a regularly used setting, with the Queen Bee, school jock, nerdy hangers-on, ineffectual adults, delinquent boys and sexually promiscuous (bordering on nymphomaniac) girls all becoming stock-in-trade characters. Carrie's distinction lay not in it being the first horror movie to centre on a group of young people ‘under vicious assault’ in a contemporary setting or in it being the first to use psychic/supernatural powers as a central narrative theme. What Carrie did was popularise its distinct elements within its singular narrative that film-makers, of horror, comedy, or comedy-horror films, then used, consciously or unconsciously, as noticeable elements in their own films.

Keywords:   Carrie, Brian De Palma, horror genre, comedy genre, adolescents, horror movies, young people, supernatural powers, comedy-horror films

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