Not Afraid, But Disturbed

By Beacon Staff

I never went to prom. But I guess I didn’t miss much.

This week, reading “Carrie” and watching the 1976 film, I’ve been feeling pretty OK about missing all that high school drama.

I’ve also been feeling pretty disturbed about our capacity for insanity. It’s like Stephen King is answering an unasked question: What does it take to make a girl go crazy and destroy an entire town?

I like how the novel is a scientific study of Carrie and her telekinetic abilities, with excerpts from reports and court testimony, plus lots of foreshadowing of the destruction to come. Getting inside the characters’ heads is a nice touch, too. That’s what really drives home the horror of it all – the extreme emotions of fear, shame, rage and hate. “Carrie” is just as much a psychological profile as it is a horror novel.

After reading the novel, the 1976 movie seems like a parody. There isn’t time to explain everything, so we rely on Sissy Spacek’s blood-covered, wide-eyed trance to show how crazy things have become for Carrie.
I think the scariest part of the whole story is Margaret White, Carrie’s mom. She really seems to enjoy being cruel and demented.

In the new film opening this weekend, Julianne Moore is going to be seriously terrifying as Carrie’s mom. She’s the kind of actress who can pull off sweet and gentle or cruel and maniacal. I can just picture her ranting, “And he took me. Took me! And I liked it!” Creepy.

A wide selection of books, music and films is available at the Flathead County Library System in Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Marion. For more information, visit www.flatheadcountylibrary.org.