Don't Sleep on CARRIE!

In honor of the launch of Under Worlds Austin (a Horror Sidebar to Other Worlds Austin) each OWA staff member has written about the Horror movie moment that had the biggest effect on them. Write us a comment with your own Horror movie moment! And if you’ve made a Horror film, submit it now to Under Worlds Austin!


The Horror Movie Moment That Changed My Life
By Don Elfant, Director of Marketing and Development

The scene was classic Horror: Two teens alone in a house late at night. Most of the lights were out and the teens were huddled on the floor with torment and carnage right in front of their eyes. The teens were actually me and my high school girlfriend, Caroline, and we were watching the Horror classic, CARRIE (1976). We might have been watching the film with one eye closed but it’s not just because we were scared, it’s because we were half asleep. 

I don’t remember why we were so tired other than it was late and I think we had been watching a marathon of movies. It certainly wasn’t a result of the film! We’re talking Brian De Palma directing a script based on Stephen King’s first novel; Academy Award nominations for Sissy Spacek in the title role and for Piper Laurie as her abusive mother; and career-launching turns for Nancy Allen, John Travolta, William Katt, and Amy Irving. This is not a film one should be watching in a sleep-deprived state.

But there we were, struggling to stay awake as the film’s climax approached [SPOILERS AHEAD]. Carrie had been crowned Prom Queen and all was right with the world—that is until her supposed new friends dumped a bucket of pig’s blood all over her and in front of everyone. This was more than enough to put Carrie on tilt and, long story short, she burns the school to the ground. Later at home her mom tries to kill her, and Carrie ultimately burns the house down with her and her mother in it. 

I’m sure we were wide awake at this point because I vividly remember some of its images. But as the film wound down we were quickly lulled back into our slumber. Sue, the only survivor of the school burning, visits Carrie’s smoldering house to deliver flowers. Melodic music plays as Sue approaches the For Sale sign (in the shape of a cross) which has been vandalized with “Carrie White Burns in Hell.” Surely the credits will start rolling any second now…

But as Sue places the flowers down by what looks very much like a cemetery plot, a hand reaches through the ground and grabs Sue’s arm! Caroline and I jumped to the other side of the room, still clutching each other. It was by far the most scared I’ve ever been watching a film. We were so shaken up, I don’t think we even saw the next scene which shows that Sue was having a nightmare. I only remember this (and am somewhat disappointed by it) upon repeated viewings.

Horror, maybe more than any other genre, leaves indelible memories like my CARRIE moment. That’s one reason I am so excited about Under Words Austin. This sidebar at Other Worlds Austin will present the best of independent Horror from all around the globe. Just one tip—pay close attention all the way through the film (even the credits). You never know what might send you across the room in fear—and fun!