Music Video Of The Day: Carrie by Europe (1987, directed by Nick Morris)

The Swedish band Europe will always be best known for The Final Countdown but they also found some success with Carrie, a power ballad that was written about a break-up.  Was it a break up with girl named Carrie?  Not according to lead singer Joey Tempest, who told Songfacts that there was no Carrie.  “It was a far more general thing, actually.”

Carrie was a big hit in the United States.  In fact, in the States, Carrie even charted higher than The Final Countdown and it remains the band Europe’s highest-charting song outside of the continent of Europe.  The music video was directed by Nick Morris, who also did The Final Countdown.


4 Shots From 4 Films: Carrie, God Told Me To, The House With Laughing Windows, The Omen

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1976 Horror Films

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian De Palma)

God Told Me To (1976, dir by Larry Cohen)

The House With Laughing Windows (1976, directed by Pupi Avati)

The Omen (1976, dir by Richard Donner)

6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Picture: The 1970s

David Niven at the 1974 Oscars

Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1970s.

Dirty Harry (1971, dir by Don Siegel)

“Well, I’m all torn up about his rights….” Detective Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) says after being informed that he’s not allow to torture suspects for information.  Unfortunately, in this case, the Academy agreed with all the critics who called Harry a menace and this classic and influential crime film was not nominated.  Not even Andy Robinson picked up a nomination for his memorably unhinged turn as Scorpio.

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

The Academy liked Carrie enough to nominate both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.  The film itself, however, went unnominated.  It’s enough to make you want to burn down the prom.

Suspiria (1977, dir by Dario Argento)

In a perfect world, Goblin would have at least taken home an Oscar for the film’s score.  In the real world, unfortunately, Argento’s masterpiece was totally snubbed by the Academy.

Days of Heaven (1978, dir by Terence Malick)

If it were released today, Terence Malick’s dream-like mediation of life during the depression would definitely be nominated.  In 1978, perhaps, the Academy was still not quite sure what to make of Malick’s beautiful but often opaque cinematic poetry.

Halloween (1978, dir by John Carpenter)

“The night he came home!” should have been “The night he went to the Oscars!”  The film received no nominations and it’s a shame.  Just imagine Donald Pleasence winning for his performance as Loomis while John Carpenter racked up almost as many nominations as Alfonso Cuaron did this year for Roma.

Dawn of the Dead (1978, dir by George Romero)

If the Academy wasn’t willing to nominate Night of the Living Dead, there was no way that they would go for the film’s longer and bloodier sequel.  But perhaps they should have.  Few films are cited as an inspiration as regularly as Dawn of the Dead.

Up next, in about an hour, the 1980s!


Horror Scenes That I Love: Carrie Destroys The Prom

Today’s horror scene that I love comes from 1976’s Carrie.

This scene starts out on a note of happiness with Carrie (Sissy Spacek) and Tommy (William Katt) being named as Queen and King of the Prom.  Things, however, get a bit ominous when Sue (Amy Irving) notices that bucket of pig’s blood and Nancy Allen and John Travolta hanging out underneath the stage.  Things get even worse when the coach (Betty Buckley) refuses to listen to Sue and tosses her out of the gym.

And then suddenly, there’s blood everywhere and Piper Laurie’s chanting, “They’re all going to laugh at you …. they’re all going to laugh at you….”

Is everyone really laughing at Carrie?  I believe some of them are.  Norma is definitely laughing because I think the shot of the coach laughing is included to let us know that some of the laughter is strictly in Carrie’s mind.  Nothing about the character would lead us to suspect that the coach would laugh.  In fact, seeing as how the coach just threw out Sue, it’s debatable whether she would even be back among the crowd by the time the pig’s blood came down.

(Plus, would everyone be laughing even with Tommy, the most popular kid in school, lying dead on the stage?)

Anyway, regardless of whether they were all laughing or not, we all know what happens next!

4 Shots From 4 Mind Bending Films: Carrie, The Fury, Patrick Still Lives, Scanners

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

For today’s edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films, we celebrate films that demonstrate what the human mind can do when it’s angry and there’s stuff around that can explode.  These are….

4 Shots From 4 Mind Bending Films

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

The Fury (1979, dir by Brian DePalma)

Patrick Lives Again (1980, dir by Mario Landi)

Scanners (1981, dir by David Cronenberg)

Book Review: Carrie by Stephen King

First published in 1974, Carrie is often cited as being Stephen King’s first novel.

That, of course, isn’t technically true.  King had written three novels before Carrie, the majority of which weren’t very good.  Carrie is a novel that King says he wrote in a hurry because he was living in a trailer and needed the money.  It’s also a novel that King says he had absolutely no faith in because he didn’t feel like he could write from a female perspective.  Despite King’s then-low opinion of what he had written, Carrie went on to become his first published novel.  Thought the novel wasn’t an immediate success (the hardback edition only sold 13,000 copies), it subsequently became a best seller after it was adapted into Brian DePalma’s 1976 film of the same name.

By now, we all know the story, don’t we?  Even if you’ve never read the book or seen any of the film versions, there’s been so many different rip-offs and unofficial remakes of Carrie that I doubt that there’s anyone who doesn’t know the story.  Everyone knows that Carrie White was a high school outcast and that her mother was a religious fanatic.  We all know what happened the night that Tommy Ross took Carrie White to prom.  We all know about the cruel prank that was played on Carrie, about the pig’s blood that was dumped on her right after Tommy and Carrie were crowned king and queen of the prom.  And we all know that Carrie’s response was to use her own telekinetic powers to burn down the entire town and to kill the majority of her tormentors.

44 years after it was first published, it’s still interesting to read Carrie.  On the one hand, you can definitely see the beginnings of King’s signature style, especially towards the end of the book when Sue Snell comes across a dying Carrie.  On the other hand, this book is definitely different from any other King novel.  For one thing, it’s only 199 pages long.  Living in a trailer and struggling to make ends meet may not have been easy for King but I would say it actually made him a better writer.  Carrie contains none of the rambling, self-indulgent filler that’s come to typify much of King’s recent work.  One imagines that, if King wrote Carrie today, we’d have to wade through at least 500 pages of people talking about the history of psychic phenomena before the book even got around to Sue asking Tommy to take Carrie to prom.  Instead, because King was writing while hungry, there’s a hunger to the book.  It doesn’t waste any time.

King structured the novel so that half of it was narrative and half of it was, for lack of a better term, evidence.  We get excerpts from police reports, newspaper articles, and books written after the prom disaster.  The White Committee offers up their official report.  We get to read a little bit of Sue Snell’s book, I Am Sue Snell.  I imagine the structure was largely the result of King’s self-confessed insecurity with the book’s subject matter.  (For instance, whenever you doubt that Tommy Ross would actually take Carrie to prom, an except from the final report of the White Committee pops up and assures you that he did.)  Though borne of insecurity, the structure actually works pretty well.  It leaves little doubt that, after Carrie’s prom, the world will never be the same again.

The thing that really struck me while rereading this novel was that Stephen King himself seemed to dislike Carrie White almost as much as her classmates did.  King focuses, to an almost uncomfortable degree, on Carrie’s unattractive appearance and, often times, he seems to be keeping his own distance from his main character, as if he was weary about trying to get inside of her head.  When Carrie does go on her rampage, she comes across more as an out-of-control monster than someone who has been pushed too far.  Our popular conception of Carrie being a tragic victim really has more to do with how Sissy Spacek played her in the original film than in how King wrote about her in his novel.

Instead, the book is far more concerned with Sue Snell and Tommy Ross, who are both portrayed as being everyone’s idealized high school companion.  As both a novel and a film, Carrie‘s greatest weakness has always been that the plot hinges on the idea that any teenager, no matter how guilt-ridden, would actually ask their romantic companion to take someone else to prom.  The pig’s blood, I believe.  The prom, less so.

Carrie has its flaws but, to be honest, I actually think it’s better than some of King’s more recent books.  If nothing else, it’s a chance to look into Stephen King’s mind before he became the Stephen King.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Brian De Palma Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: Brian De Palma!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Phantom of Paradise (1974, dir by Brian De Palma)

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian De Palma)

The Fury (1979, dir by Brian De Palma)

Dressed To Kill (1980, dir by Brian De Palma)



4 Shots From Horror History: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws, Carrie, The Omen

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 Shots From 4 Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we continue with the 70s!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper)

Jaws (1975, dir by Steven Spielberg)

Jaws (1975, dir by Steven Spielberg)

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

Carrie (1976, dir by Brian DePalma)

The Omen (1976, dir by Richard Donner)

The Omen (1976, dir by Richard Donner)

Lisa Marie Picks The 16 Worst Films of 2013

A lot of people are saying that 2013 was a great year for movies.  And I guess it was.  An unusually large number of memorable films were released last year.

However, by that same token, a huge number of truly terrible films were released in 2013 as well.  With that in mind, here are my personal picks for the 16 worst films of 2013.  Why 16?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers, that’s why.

16) Carrie

15) Getaway

14) After Earth

13) Broken City

12) The Company You Keep

11) See Girl Run

10) Would You Rather

9) Lee Daniels’ The Butler

8) Identity Thief

7) Movie 43

6) Disconnect

5) A Dark Truth

4) Freeloaders

3) Unhung Hero

2) Tyler Perry’s Temptation

And finally, my pick for the worst film of 2013…

1) Man of Steel

It’s only been recently that I’ve come to realize that Man Of Steel was the worst film of 2013.  When I first saw it, I thought it was bombastic and rather silly but I also thought it was just another mediocre action film.  However, the more that I’ve thought about the film, the more I’ve come to realize that Man of Steel truly represents everything that I dislike about mainstream film.  Beyond the fact that it took itself way too seriously, Man of Steel spent millions of dollars to celebrate the destruction of a major city but couldn’t find five minutes to devote to character development or memorable dialogue.  Two years ago, a lot of people disagreed with me when I announced that Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch was one of the best films of 2011.  I wonder how those same people feel about Man of Steel.


Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at the year that was with my 10 favorite songs of 2013.

(You can see my picks for the worst films of 2010, 2011, and 2012 by clicking on the links in this sentence.)