Carrie’s Undoing

Have you seen those Elle or Vanity Fair issues where they do tributes to past movies and their iconic scenes using today’s stars? For Instance:

Lea Michelle In “The Creature from The Black Lagoon”

Jayma Mays as Tippi Hedren  in “The Birds”

It’s a cute, yet superficial way for a young star or starlet to both pay tribute and pander to the history of cinema. Young stars assume they are paying respect by making a simple pose. Yet it’s a pose that is done without any of the skill, technique or talent that accompanied the original performers in the roles. It’s only good for a nostalgic laugh if not for anything else. Sadly nobody seems to have let Kimberly Pierce in on the joke.

These are the first official set images from Kimberly Pierce’s remake of Brian De Palma’s………..I mean Stephen King’s Carrie that were released today. They feature Chloe “Hit Girl” Moretz and Julianne “Body of Evidence” Moore respectively sporting the now iconic outfits of a prom dress with a dash of red food coloring and a white gown and cross ideal for the chic Christian woman on the go.

Its laughable because, in looking at the pictures, you can almost hear the studio heads behind the film deliberating on how to make it more “modern” and distinguish it from its predecessor.

Studio Guy 1: “I got it, Piper Laurie played it with frizzy hair so all we have to do is give Julianne Moore a blowout to get rid of the perm and people will say it’s totally different.”

Studio Guy 2: “Brilliant Boss, but what will we do about Chloe Moretz as Carrie? We can’t have her looking too much like Sissy Spacek or else people will say we’re being derivative.”

Studio Guy 1: “Don’t worry, I got it all thought out. In the original, De Palma played up the Gothic horror element. He had Sissy play it as if she was in a nightmarish trance; an enraptured portrayal of righteous anger, sexual revenge and supernatural intrigue. We can never match that, so just have Chloe looking very confused, like she doesn’t know why she is covered in blood.”

Studio Guy 2: “A masterstroke Boss; the audience will never catch on. They’ll think we’re doing something unique and different, when really we’re just recycling a name brand for a quick cash grab. Still, I’m concerned about the online film blogs like cinemablend, slashfilm, and aintitcool. What if they catch on to our game?”

Studio Guy 1: “I told you it can never happen. They’re on our side now. They tell their listeners not to judge until they see the movie for themselves. They’re so afraid to be negative, or have any sort of standards that they become shills who actually help us sell our mediocre product. Can you believe that?”

Studio Guy 2: “Yeah, especially after they bit the bait with the “Total Recall” remake. For months they told their readers not to judge until they saw it for themselves, even after that lame trailer was released.  They didn’t want to seem judgmental so they didn’t caution their readers. They saw that awful film and, even though it stunk, the film ended up breaking even in the worldwide grosses.”

Studio Guy 1: Gotta love those film blogs: “don’t judge until you see it”, how stupid can you be? I’m glad no other aspect of our society tries to function like that. Imagine the army operating on that kind of thinking:

Cadet: “General they have their nukes pointing straight at us and their prepared to fire”

General: “Stand down solider it just looks like they’re firing. You can’t judge them until they actually do something.”

Cadet: “But sir they’ve fired on us in the past (“The Fog”, “The Crazies”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Last House on the Left”, “Straw Dogs”) but you keep on insisting we give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet our country (the cinema) is in shambles and continues to sustain damage. Isn’t it about time we stop giving them (the studios) the benefit of the doubt and start demanding peace (quality, original films)?”

General: “Solider you are so negative. I withhold my judgement on something until I see what actually happens. Maybe the bomb will hit and it won’t be so bad. Maybe it will explode candy.”

Cadet: “Sir, you’re an idiot.”

General: “I know.”

Studio Guy 2: “Hilarious sir, you’re funnier than Dane Cook.”

Studio Guy 1: “Thanks, but I can’t take all the credit. Our publicity department did us a big favor with floating the lie that we’re making the movie different by going back to the source material.”

Studio Guy 2: “Yeah sir, but I still don’t understand what going back to the source material means. It’s not like you can adapt a whole movie to the screen page by page. You have to leave some stuff out in favor of others. So no matter how back into the book you retreat, you always end up doing an adaptation anyway”

Studio Guy 1: “Don’t think too hard about it, cause its obvious the film bloggers don’t. It’s just a lame excuse we thought up to justify remaking something that didn’t need to be remade in the first place. Besides if the public were really paying attention they would know that in the book, Carrie is supposed to be overweight and have acne and thinning hair, so we obviously don’t give a crap about the book.”

Studio Guy 2: “Like De Palma?”

Studio Guy 1: “No De Palma was different. He’s an artist. The specific nit picky elements of the book were inconsequential in lieu of his overriding vision of subversive sexual horror and religious paranoia. We, on the other hand, are just lazy.”

Studio Guy 2: “So sir, when we say were going “closer to the book” we mean it the same way Tim Burton meant it when he kept repeating that very thing while promoting “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.” (i.e. we’re deviating from the book as much as the first movie did, but we don’t want the audience to think we have nothing new to offer because we would very much like their money)

Studio Guy 1: “Exactly, we’re deviating from the book but still following a scaled down idiotic version of what De Palma did. As you know, we are deathly afraid to do anything new or different so we just use the source material argument as an excuse to mask our copycat tendencies. The bloggers buy it, and give us some credibility which extends to their followers, which translates to box office dollars for us.”

Studio Guy 2: “It’s amazing sir that nobody has caught on yet.”

Studio Guy 1: “Well some critics and journalists have been wise to us in the past, but they usually go away. The film community ridicules or ignores their dissenting opinions and they are labeled a nuisance or troll. Funny how today having high standards for film gets you labeled a nuisance by your contemporaries.”

Studio Guy 2: “It’s a crazy world sir, but as long as I’ve got money in my pockets, I say to the devil with good cinema.”

Studio Guy 1: “I’ve taught you well. I’m so proud of you. By the way, how are those script revisions going?”

Studio Guy 2: “Excellent sir. We have Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a writer on the hit television series “Glee” doing it so it should be great.”

and scene…..

P.S. Here is a screen shot of starlet Kate Mara paying tribute to De Palma’s “Carrie” from Ryan Murphy’s Elle magazine layout.

Please remember Kimberly Pierce, its good for a laugh, not for a film.


About celluloidhumanoid

Celluloid Prophet

Posted on August 23, 2012, in Film and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. This article is bullshit. Wait for the actual movie before you dismiss it. Also, why the hell is Julianne Moore associated with Body of Evidence?! This is one of the greatest actresses of our time, 4-time-Oscar-nominee, 6-time-Golden-Globe-nominee. Far From Heaven, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, The Hours, The Kids Are All Right, Game Change are movies that should come to mind for every cinematically aware person.

    • Again I reiterate:

      “Dude, I’ve been listening to people say, wait until you see the movie for years as awful remake after awful remake has been released. Enough giving studios the benefit of the doubt. I’d be willing to risk a little tunnel vision in the name of raising our collective standards.”

      Just because she’s a great actress doesn’t mean miss Julianne cannot be in a bad movie.

      • This is not an actual remake. It is a new version / new adaptation / reinterpretation of Stephen King’s novel. Just like Baz Luhrman’s “The Great Gatsby” will be a new take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel (remember the movie with Robert Redford?) and “Anna Karenina” will be a new take on Leo Tolstoy’s novel (there have been plenty of Anna Karenina movies before) and “Les Miserables” will be a new take on on the Schönberg / Boublil musical and Victor Hugo novel. I am not saying this “Carrie” movie will succeed — but at least give it a chance, after all Kimberly Peirce (“Boys don’t cry”) is a highly talented director who said: “I have gone back to the wonderful STEPHEN KING Book CARRIE; I am also modernizing the story as one has to in order to bring any great piece of work written in one era into the next and especially given how very relevant this material is right now.”

        I am going to quote a poster on the imdb Carrie message board who is so right and mentions so many aspects you completely ignore in your post:

        “What’s the difference between dozens of versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, Tarzan, The Three Musketeers, Jane Austen, King Arthur, Jesus Christ, Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and this? The answer: you’re used to the existence of those movies. That’s all there is to it. It is the fact that movies like Carrie have only been done once that gives them this sacred aura. With your attitude there would be no Bela Lugosi Dracula or no Christopher Lee Dracula because Nosferatu would close the book (so to speak) on any further adaptations.
        Or: Twenty versions of Dracula in 90 years? Perfectly acceptable. Two of Carrie in 37? WHAAAATTT?! HAS HOLLYWOOD NO SOUL OR SHRED OF ORIGINALITY?!?!?!”

        If anything, 37 years between new versions is restrained for Hollywood. Hollywood has always been about name recognition, you just couldn’t be bothered to realize this. There are times when this factor focuses more on creating endless imitators of new hits- the slasher crazes of the late 70s-80s and the late 90s-00s, the disaster movie craze of the 70s, comic book movies not being thought of as viable until one or two were huge hits- or finding new versions of rising or fading stars. Twilight and Harry Potter have led to an explosion in YA fantasy and romance, both in print and onscreen. I could go on and on if I gave it some more thought.

        That’s why it baffles me that of all that, so many people think its crossing the line to tell the same story twice, even if it was a book or comic before this, and they will scream that Hollywood is unoriginal, often, ironically, saying the exact same thing over and over again. What is the focus of Hollywood’s unoriginality- the same type of movie, the same type of source material, imitating tone, etc. will fluctuate over the years. But I will maintain that because of the dozens of versions of the classic (also: public domain) books I listed above, when Hollywood is re-adapting a new version of a book, they’re not really doing anything that was never uncommon before.”

  2. You are a mega douche nozzle.

  3. Have you seen the remade version yet? Most likely not. It’s sad that your crude opinions of this remake are based only on two pictures. You shouldn’t pass any judgement until you’ve seen the movie. De Palma’s version was a masterpiece for that generation, but you need to stop living in the past and embrace the future. This is suppose to be a modern interpretation of the events that pledge Carrie. Keyword, MODERN. Do you see people in today’s generation with the frizzy Piper Laurie hair? Absolutely not! And if you haven’t noticed, Glee is a highly rated/acclaimed, MODERN show that revolves around the dramatic issues this generation of teenagers deal with. Writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, obviously has some clue as to how teenagers act and deal with issues of today’s society. He, along with many others, actually give a damn about delivering movies/shows that people can relate with. Unfortunately, it seems like you don’t, which is evident in your lackluster and unrealistic dialogue above.

    • “Glee is a highly rated/acclaimed, MODERN show that revolves around the dramatic issues this generation of teenagers deal with. Writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, obviously has some clue as to how teenagers act and deal with issues of today’s society.”

      Dude, I’ve been listening to people say, wait until you see the movie for years as awful remake after awful remake has been released. Enough giving studios the benefit of the doubt. I’d be willing to risk a little tunnel vision in the name of raising our collective standards.

    • Your comment is incredibly stupid. If we’re embracing the future then we need to create new ideas. You’re a moron if you don’t comprehend the reasons why this is being remade. It’s obviously for some quick cash for a studio. That’s blatant otherwise you’re just naive. This movie, like so many other remakes, will probably do well at box office then get tossed aside and fade into oblivion.

  4. Bravo, fantastic post. Hiring Moretz to play Carrie is A JOKE.

  5. I love how you proudly illustrate the “Fuck the book, its a movie” general attitude with your little “I mean Stephen King’s” bit, going so far as to seemingly intentionally outdo other such statements in terms of ignorance. We live in a world with dozens of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Three Musketeers, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare adaptations. And with a much shorter average wait time between new versions than 37 years. But if there’s only one version rather than ten somehow THAT’S a sign of Hollywood’s lack of creativity. “Twenty versions of Dracula in 90 years? Acceptable. Two versions of Carrie in 37? WHAAAATTT!?” Really, the only reason for this attitude that I can discern is that people are used to the many many versions of the stories I mentioned considered to be classics.

    It’s Stephen King’s story, not De Palma’s. Maybe if you read a book once in awhile you would understand the affection you can have for good ones and the desire to see them done right or at least accepting that maybe it shouldn’t only get one chance to be made into a good movie by someone with passion for it. I like the De Palma version, but it could have been better.

    • ^^THIS. ALL OF THIS. Well said. I think you posted something similar already on the imdb boards and I quoted it because it was so well argued. The blogger doesn’t seem to know too much about Hollywood history (or remakes and so-called-remakes except for the current Total Recall remake maybe).

  6. *golf clap* Well done! We just got a crappy update/remake of Carrie barely 10 years ago. What makes anyone think this is going to be any better? This is like NOES all over again. Saw the trailer, said “Wow, this is going to be bad” and had everyone on me with the “Have you seen it yet?! No? Didn’t think so. Keep your mouth shut!” defense. Regarding the book debate going on in this comment section: what people NEVER take into consideration is that King’s books are nearly impossible to shoot. The tv movie of Carrie, for all of it’s faults and horribly altered ending, was as close to the book as your going to get. Let’s not even get into the 1997 version of ‘The Shining.’ My problem here is exactly as you’ve mentioned; it, so far, looks like a cheap imitation of the original.

    • thanks for replying

      Here is an excerpt from my article which talks specifically about the shining and how botched up it all was:

      This raises a unique question for the filmmakers; is it worth it retreating to the source material just to make a faithful adaptation for adaptation’s sake. Does being faithful to the source material guarantees a good film. Stephen King was famously unhappy with Kubrick’s vision of “The Shining” and the changes that were made in adapting the source material to the screen. Several plot points and narrative touches were dropped and King sought to remedy this in his 1997 TV mini-series re-imaging. He failed. If not by means of pedigree of product than in terms of general perception and relevance compared to the original. Going back to the source didn’t make his version of “The Shining” better than Kubrick’s. Getting closer to the book doens’t guarantee a better movie regardless if you wrote it or not. Is it just about accuracy (which can be boring to the audience) or rather emphasizing and expressing the themes the novel presents in a visual form. Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique writes concerning Kubricks adaptation of “The Shining”:

      “Widely reviled by Stephen King fans for abandoning much of the book (King himself said his feelings balanced out to zero), Stanley Kubrick’s film version, upon re-examination, reveals that he took the same course he had often used in the past when adapting novels to the screen (such as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita): he stripped away the back story and exposition, distilling the results down to the basic narrative line, with the characters thus rendered in a more archetypal form. The result …[is] a brilliant, ambitious attempt to shoot a horror film without the Gothic trappings of shadows and cobwebs so often associated with the genre.

      Lets just call a spade a spade. The “going back to the source material” argument is only a cover for a general lack of imagination and inventiveness that seems to be taking dominance in the modern Hollywood system. Studios unwilling to take risks, and stars more than willing to take paychecks, cannibalize and bastardize films that have come before, only to use the familiarity and fan-dom that comes with that particular films title, to bilk the general public of a couple million before they catch on that the fact that they are watching inferior product.

  7. “taking dominance in the modern Hollywood system.”

    Modern? Really? I’d like a pair of those rose tinted glasses you’re sporting. Hollywood has always been about trends and copying what is successful. The slasher craze. Blaxploitation. Disaster movies. The innumerable Star Wars clones. One or two successful comic book movies spawning a dozen more with no end in sight. The Tarantino style crime thrillers post Pulp Fiction. Even styles are copied. And let’s not forget endless sequels, even if they destroy the point of the previous movie (Alien 3, anyone?).

    But when the first few horror classics were remade in the early 2000s, this was a trend squared. Remakes have always been part of the Hollywood system. Then they became a trend on top of a tradition. Your last sentence has always been the case; I remember when I was a kid I had a Blockbuster Video catalog that had Academy Award icons next to all films that won one. When I was looking at the “Classics” section, I was amazed at how many films had Oscars and for a moment thought it meant they made better movies back then; I immediately realized that they were all in one category because they were old and considered to be good movies. I also surmised that the terrible movies were forgotten, never to be released on video when video came out. I was a kid when I figured this out. Haven’t you ever seen the caricature of the fat, greedy, cigar chomping producer/studio head? That parody has been around a long time for good reason.

    As for Carrie, if someone says it was adapted perfectly, I would say that’s debatable- the actress playing Carrie’s mother read the script, thought it was a comedy, and played it as such. If someone says they only need one movie, I would say that’s fine.

    Read that and take into account the fact that every year the number of movies made in a single year goes up.

  8. I’m still looking forward to the remake; I mean it’s Carrie played by an actual 15-year-old, not a 21 or even a 28 year old! They’ll actually look like high schoolers with high school problems!

  9. “Brilliant Boss, but what will we do about Chloe Moretz as Carrie? We can’t have her looking too much like Sissy Spacek or else people will say we’re being derivative.”

    How about they doing REMAKES if they don’t want to look “derivative?”

  10. I was just going to say was a) geee…. how far has Julianne Moore fallen and b) Nicole Kidman should have been a lock for the mom part.

  11. I am pretty cynical when it comes to remakes…however I do feel as though Ms. Chloe may deliver the goods in this film. She is an excellent young actress. Very funny post!

  12. They will get it work like everything else they redo. Maybe one day they will start doing new thiing, lol I know, but we can dream.

    Those who find the remakes fun and even better, are the fools they are aiming for.

  13. I love Carrie both the original and the book, but when I first read this article I thought you were talking about them making a throw back to old cinema for Elle magazine not re-remaking it. its one of those things that should never be remade like Nightmare on Elm street or Halloween, but Carrie was already remade(it wasn’t that great the woman who played the mother did an amazing job in the original which the remake mother didn’t do at all) and than the original had a sequel too. Why does this movie have to be remade again? Especially with the Glee writing the script(is that really true)? I think that a movie deserves to get a remake when it was crap in the first place and/or if it was based on a book if the movie version didn’t do the book any justice(like Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Cirque Du Freak). Now its been a long time since I read/watched the original Carrie movie and the book make I remember vaguely agreeing the movie version was at least pretty close to the book(it could have did better but there’s only so much you can pack into a movie).
    Anyway I feel like I’m rambling here :/
    I enjoyed your post and don’t think there should be a re-remake of Carrie or any other film from the past unless that movie was crap in the first place not just for the purpose of adding a modern spin to its original and making a quick buck cause Hollywood doesn’t have enough creativity to make up something original and GOOD for the public :/

  14. I went to go see Nightmare on Elm Street and was so pissed off about how they butchered that movie. If they do that to Carrie I’m gonna be pretty fucking upset. That was one of the books and movies that I have always really liked. There is so much you could still do with it just sticking with the book. They don’t even need to make shit up there are tons of fucking cool ideas King already wrote down.I don’t know why they don’t just move onto another King book anyway there are so many of them. Why not do Gerald’s Game, or that monkey with the cymbals story. They could take like 5 short stories and put them all into one film. That is always fun to watch like the old Tales from the Crypt. I guess noone is willing to experiment with what they could do.
    I do want to see Creature from the Black Lagoon though since it has to be fun to watch even if it does suck its still CFTBL.
    Great post

  15. Why won’t they leave the classics alone? I just know the new Carrie franchise won’t hold a candle to the original. -sigh-

  16. I haven’t enjoyed a post so much. A very humorous poke at the studios and their incessant urge to keep remaking old films. A very good point as well about the ‘claims’ of going back to the source material. A case in point is the True Grit. As remakes go it was quite good. The Coen bros make good films. But the publicity machine kept saying that they were going to be more faithful to the book. In reality, no they weren’t.
    Great post and one that I think deserved to be Freshly Pressed. Congrats!
    Peace out. 🙂

  17. Those who can make movies – those who can’t criticize. I only pay to see a movie at the theater when there are big budget special effects involved and it was well worth it to pay to see Kate Beckinsale’s little Miss wannabe bad boy; get her ass kicked by {OMG} a real man {too bad so sad for feminist lesbians} for a change. Instead of being forced to endure watching another male whimp inhabiting the usual PC corrupted chick flicks getting his rocks kicked by a ninety pound {soaking wet} weakling with a bad attitude.

  18. This was hilarious. Your analogy with the Cadet and General was perfect. Hollywood is really in shambles these days. They avoid originality like the plague. I’m happy to see sensible arguments somewhere on the web. Blogs are great for that!

  19. I hate people who say “but you haven’t even seen the movie yet” – ANYONE who has a brain KNOWS beforehand how the movie’s gonna be!!! We **HAVE** already watched it, it’s more of the same! LOL

  20. I found this entertaining. I just hope the remake includes dirty pillows.

  21. When it comes to Stephen King, I stay with the books and don’t go to see the movies. Psychological thrillers don’t translate well to the screen. My biggest gripe is going to the bookstore and seeing all the classics with big shiny stickers on them that say “Now a major motion picture!” as if they weren’t good books unless a movie (or several) were made from them. Hollywood needs to start coming up with new good ideas instead of ripping off everyone else’s wherever they can get it (comic books, board games, old franchises, etc.)

  22. Cool post, but really? Last house on the left? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Awesome movies!!

  23. There’s really no reason to completely dismiss the remake just yet especially Moretz who is no stranger to the horror genre with ‘Let Me In’ which was also a remake and a pretty damn good one at that.

  24. Remakes of good films generally do not work. The best you can expect is “almost as good as”. There are plenty of films with meaty ideas or plots or characters that don’t gel for one reason or another. THOSE are the one to re-make. Like Cronenberg’s re-make of The Fly, or John Carpenter’s Thing. Thanks for helping me save the price of admission on this lame attempt!

  25. i loved the imaginary dialogue but i could just imagine how it all went down. great entry, this one 🙂 keep it coming!

  26. The only thing I take issue with in this entry is the dropping into the litany of “The Crazies”; I thought it was miles better than the original. Otherwise, I’m right along side you. I’m content to Judge “Total Redux” from the trailer, because I always wonder why people try to make blockbusters out of P.K. Dick short stories. “Imposter” has come the closest to working as a film AND as an adaptation of the story, and I think “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” would be brilliant if some indie producer thought to approach it in a similar manner to “Moon.” Heck, you need maybe eight people and maybe four sets to do a good adaptation of a story that should never once set foot on Mars.

  27. hah! hilarious! no one will ever replace sissy fucking spacek. she is epic and the original will ALWAYS win for me.

    also wtf is that godawful photo of lea michele.

  28. I don’t see what is wring with disclaiming a movie because it is not out yet, the thought of some remakes beign made sends a cold shiver down my spine. But you have stirred up quite a response in some people!

    Sometimes there can be a good reason for a remake, or re-imagining, due to technology being available that can make better sense of a vision in some circumstances, but the problem I have as you point out is the main reason Hollywood have for remaking films, as unfortunately it has little do with any creative approach, from my partner who is in the industry I hear first hand how they are unwilling to invest as much in new writing and ideas, they are intentionally playing it safe to limit the risk of making losses.

    Therein lies the problem, this can be appied to many arts such as music, witnessed by charts filled with reality contest winners who have cost nothing to promote since they gain all the money from people phoning in to vote and clearly showing the support of an artist they like. Where are the new ideas going to get heard?

  29. this is interesting to read. anyway. true or not truth is just how we think and we want it to be.. great post…

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