Director: Brian De Palma
Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, William Katt, John Travolta, P. J. Soles and Piper Laurie
Country: USA
Running Time: 98 min
Year: 1976

At this point, I think it’s impossible to not have seen at least one adaptation of the work of author Stephen King. Whether it’s The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Shining, Christine, IT, Pet Semetary, The Mist or Misery, there’s a King novel that’s probably been adapted to a film you love. While I’m a fan of most of the adaptations listed above, there’s one that always stuck with me and ironically, it’s an adaptation of the first novel that King ever published. Of course, it’s Carrie. 

For those who haven’t seen this classic, Carrie follows Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a teenager with no friends who’s been sheltered from the world due to her evangelical mother (Piper Laurie). The saying “She’s not like other girls” would be an understatement though, as Carrie has supernatural powers, primarily the power of telekinesis. School life is hard for Carrie, as most of the other students mock and bully her, but after forming a friendship with Sue (Amy Irving), maybe things are beginning to look up…

I don’t want to recount the entire plot as if you haven’t seen this and aren’t aware of where things lead, I’d hate to be the one to give everything away as Carrie could very well be the best King adaptation of them all. From the intimate and believable performance from Spacek in the titular role, the perfect direction from auteur Brian De Palma or Pino Donaggio’s gorgeous score that almost feels influential on Riz Ortolani’s iconic theme tune to Cannibal Holocaust, of all things, I can’t really fault Carrie. 

It’s a film I find myself revisiting every couple of years, so as soon as I was given the chance to cover this brand new UHD release, I jumped at the opportunity. Not a moment is wasted in the 98 minute runtime and whether we’re spending time with Carrie discovering herself and her powers, the lead up to the high school prom or Carrie’s relationship with her mother, everything is so investing and powerful here. 

There’s such a level of care and craftsmanship in every department, which is delved into in Arrow Video’s excellent array of bonus features, all of which are ported from the 2017 Blu-ray release and seeing this classic get the 4K UHD treatment with a brand new Dolby Vision grade really helps this film shine in ways that it never has before on home media. 

While there’s De Palma films I enjoy a little more, this is one of his many masterpieces, in my opinion alongside films such as Phantom of the Paradise, Carlito’s Way and Blow Out. There’s few filmmakers like De Palma that every time I watch one of his films, whether it’s for the first time or the fiftieth, there’s always an energy and feel that few other directors can offer for me. Whether it’s his iconic split-diopter shots, his use of split-screen or long takes, all of that is present in Carrie and I’d probably argue that it’s the best introduction to his work, as well as King adaptations in general. 

Like all good things, Carrie would spawn a franchise with a sequel, a television movie as well as a remake and unfortunately, none of these would live up to the De Palma original (although I have a soft spot for The Rage: Carrie 2, give that one a shot!) which makes it all the more apparent why 11 years after the 2013 remake, nobody’s talking about that while 48 years later, De Palma’s film is still held in high regard by many, myself included. 

There’s never been a more perfect time to check out Carrie, whether it’s for the first time or you’re upgrading from your old DVD or Blu-ray copy. Arrow Video’s 4K treatment is nothing short of outstanding and will please both fans and newcomers to the film alike. I find Carrie to be a perfect film, up there with the best films from the 1970s and the fact that we live in an era where excellent films from that decade are being preserved with the best releases imaginable makes me happy for the future of physical media. 


Carrie releases on Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray on the 22nd January by Arrow Video. The 4K transfer includes both HDR10 and Dolby Vision grades, I viewed the Dolby Vision grade and found it absolutely outstanding. I owned the 2017 Blu-ray disc from Arrow and the new scan looks fantastic on UHD. With some titles that have been upgraded from 1080p Blu-rays with 4K restorations to 4K UHD discs with those same restorations, there’s sometimes very little difference but on this viewing, I noticed so many new details about the film and the transfer is absolutely breathtaking to look at. Two audio tracks are included, an original mono track as well as a 5.1 DTS MA track. I viewed the film with the mono track and it sounded excellent too, although I tested the 5.1 track which isn’t bad either. English subtitles are included. The following extras are included:

  • 4K restoration from the original camera negative
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-rayTM presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Lossless mono and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Commentary by Lee Gambin, author of Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo, and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Cultographies: Ms. 45 and Devil’s Advocates: Suspiria
  • Acting Carrie – archive featurette containing interviews with director Brian De Palma, actors Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt and others
  • More Acting Carrie – additional interviews with the cast of the film
  • Visualising Carrie: From Words to Images – archive featurette containing interviews with De Palma, writer Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch and art director Jack Fisk
  • Singing Carrie: Carrie the Musical – archive featurette on the stage musical adaptation of King’s novel
  • Writing Carrie – an interview with writer Lawrence D. Cohen
  • Shooting Carrie – an interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi
  • Cutting Carrie – an interview with editor Paul Hirsch
  • Casting Carrie – an interview with casting director Harriet B. Helberg
  • Bucket of Blood – an interview with composer Pino Donaggio
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – a look back at the locations of Carrie
  • Comparing Carrie – visual essay comparing the various versions and adaptations of Carrie across the years
  • Alternate TV opening
  • Image gallery
  • Trailer
  • TV spots
  • Radio spots
  • Carrie trailer reel
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Laz Marquez
  • Limited edition 40-page perfect bound book featuring writing on the film by Neil Mitchell, author of Devil’s Advocates: Carrie, a reprint of the Final Girls’ 40th anniversary Carriezine, and an archive interview with Brian De Palma
  • Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and new artwork by Laz Marquez
  • Six double-sided collector’s postcards

All of the extras included are ported directly from Arrow’s 2017 Blu-ray release, but I’ll go over them all below, as it’s a great assortment of interviews and other goodies. 

First up, there’s a 2017 archival audio commentary by Lee Gamblin and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, who offer a fun, entertaining and insightful track breaking down what they love so much about De Palma’s classic adaptation. It’s an analytical track that touches on the production, the pair’s love for the film and more. It’s a good listen. Heller-Nicholas always tends to deliver top-notch extras, and this is no exception.

Next up is the 42 minute archival documentary Acting Carrie from 2001, included on an old DVD release that features interviews from all of the key cast and crew members, such as director Brian De Palma as well as actors Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving and William Katt, amongst others. It’s a fun retrospective piece that has all of the cast and crew members recounting fun anecdotes during the shoot, the legacy of the film and more. It’s a great documentary that’s worth your time.

Following Acting Carrie is More Acting Carrie, a 2016 extra with more interviews from the cast of the film. While it’s a neat inclusion, there’s quite a lot of repetition here from the prior extra, as well as some of the other interviews included on this release. This extra runs for 20 minutes and features interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg and P.J. Soles.

Visualising Carrie: From Words to Images is another 2001 archival featurette that touches on the issues and challenges bringing Carrie to the big screen. There’s interviews with Brian De Palma, Lawrence D. Cohen, Paul Hirsch and Jack Fisk. Like Acting Carrie, this is 42 minutes long and it’s a solid watch. 

Singing Carrie: Carrie the Musical is a featurette from 2001 that highlights Carrie the Musical. It’s 6 minutes long and writer Lawrence D. Cohen recounts how the musical came to be. Betty Buckley is also interviewed, who played Margaret White in Carrie the Musical.  

A series of interviews from 2016 are included with an array of crew members. There’s Writing Carrie, a 29 minute interview with writer Lawrence D. Cohen. He recounts how he found Stephen King’s 200-page manuscript for Carrie in a garbage bin and how he fell in love with it and his process with adapting the story to the big screen. It’s an energetic and interesting interview. Next up, there’s Shooting Carrie, a 15 minute interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi, who touches on how he joined the production, his working relationship with Brian De Palma and how he joined partway through the shoot. Another decent interview. Cutting Carrie is a 25 minute interview with editor Paul Hirsch, who had a working relationship with De Palma prior to Carrie. Hirsch edited Hi, Mom!, Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise and after Carrie, would edit Obsession, Blow Out, George Lucas’ Star Wars. Hirsch recounts how De Palma and Lucas became friends as they were the only directors working on Fox lot with beards, so they became friends, and how he got the job for editing Carrie.The story on how De Palma and Lucas had casting sessions for Carrie and Star Wars at the same time was fascinating. A solid interview. Casting Carrie is a 16 minute interview with Carrie’s casting director, Harriet B. Helberg. She discusses her love for De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise and the casting process for Carrie, how they landed on Sissy Spacek for the titular role and more. It’s another insightful interview! And finally, there’s Bucket of Blood, a 24 minute interview with composer Pino Donaggio, another frequent collaborator of De Palma’s who went on to work with him on Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double and Raising Cain. Pino came on Brian’s radar after his score for Don’t Look Now and Pino discusses the unusual process of composing the score given that Brian didn’t speak much Italian and he didn’t speak much English. It’s a fascinating interview that’s worth a watch. All of the 2016 interviews are worth checking out for their own reasons, as they offer solid insight into each aspect of the production, whether it’s composing the score, editing and casting the film or writing it. It’s an excellent series of interviews that covers everything you’d want to know!

An episode of Horror’s Hallowed Grounds is included, where Sean Clark revisits many of the key locations from the film. It’s 11 minutes long and some of the places visited include the volleyball court, the field from the high school in the film, the lot where Carrie’s house was and more. It’s a fun extra that’s informative and is worth a watch for any fan of Carrie.

We also have Comparing Carrie, a 20 minute visual essay by Jonathan Bygraves which compares the three adaptations of Carrie and highlights their differences. There’s no audio present from Bygraves, and the differences are highlighted via text on screen. Changes mentioned include the periods in which each film takes place, the structure and the differences between Carrie White as a protagonist and each actress’s portrayal of her. It’s a neat extra and for those who don’t mind spoilers for the other adaptations, it’s a great point of comparison.

An alternate TV opening to Carrie is included, replacing the nudity present in the theatrical cut for obvious reasons. An image gallery, a collection of TV and radio spots and a variety of trailers for each Carrie film are also included. It’s nice to see these included, in particular the trailers for each adaptation, those being the ‘76 De Palma adaptation, the underrated The Rage: Carrie 2, the 2002 miniseries and the 2013 remake. 

I wasn’t provided with any of the physical extras, but these seem to be reprints of the essays, posters and artcards found in Arrow’s 2017 Blu-ray release. 

For fans of horror cinema or the work of Brian De Palma and Stephen King, this release is an absolute treat. An excellent array of bonus features, a gorgeous transfer that ranks among the best that Arrow Video have ever put out and a collection of great looking physical goodies, you can’t go wrong with this release of Carrie.


Where to watch Carrie
Carrie (1976) - Arrow Video
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