Friday, October 14, 2016

CARRIE (1976) Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Review)

CARRIE (1976) 
2-Disc Collector's Edition 
Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Duration: 98 Minutes 
Rating: R
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Sissy Spacek, William Katt, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Edie McClurg, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, Piper Laurie, Priscilla Pointer

Synopsis: Based on the best-selling Stephen King novel, this "absolutely spellbinding horror movie" (Roger Ebert) has become a pervasive, pop-culture touchstone for anyone who's ever wanted to get even. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie deliver Oscar®-nominated* performances and John Travolta and Amy Irving are terrific in this ultimate revenge fantasy that has become one of the all-time great horror classics, and is now, finally, offered as a definitive, two-disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray!

At the center of the terror is Carrie (Spacek), a high school loner with no confidence, no friends... and no idea about the extent of her secret powers of telekinesis. But when her psychotic mother and sadistic classmates finally go too far, the once-shy teen becomes an unrestrained, vengeance-seeking powerhouse who, with the help of her "special gift," causes all hell to break loose in a famed cinematic frenzy of blood, fire and brimstone!

There is not a lot I can add to the choir of voices who have sung the praise of Brian De Palma's wonderful adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie (1976) through the years, a classic slice of horror that combines Brian De Palma's dazzling technical visual style with the harrowing highschool horror tale of Carrie White, a painfully shy and awkward highschool girl who is traumatized when her period happens for the first time in the gym shower room. What might have been just an embarrassing moment turns traumatic as her classmates taunt her mercilessly, it doesn't help that her mother is an unsympathetic religious nut, and her newly emerged womanhood coincides with newfound telekinetic power which culminates in a nightmare prom night scenario that is pure cinematic awesomeness. This is a movie that goes right into the crypt as a movie to be celebrated as not only a horror classic but one of the best of the Stephen King adaptations and one of De Palma's finest works. 

Audio/Video: Wowzers, the new 4K scan from Scream Factory far advances over the MGM Blu-ray from a few years ago. Colors are vibrant, the blacks are nice and deep, shadow detail is strong, and the skin tones are noticeably less ruddy and cooler looking, very rarely has a new HD scan of a movie been such an obvious improvement, but this is simply stunning work. The colors are rich and deep, with very nice saturation throughout. The image has a nice layer of film grain and along with that some improved clarity and fine detail. 

Audio options on the disc comes by way of your choice of English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo or Surround 5.1 and both sounds wonderful. I still prefer the stereo track but the surround options does give a nice fullness to the fantastic Pino Donaggio score, a nice combination of lush arrangements and dramatic Bernard Herrmann Psycho-nods. Optional English subtitles are provided. 

Scream Factory improve over the MGM Blu-ray by carrying over all the extras from the special edition DVD which MGM did not do for the Blu-ray. These   include two 40-minute mini-docs Acting Carrie (43 Mins) and Visualizing Carrie  (41 Mins) with vintage interviews from Actors Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Priscilla Pointer and P.J. Soles And Art Director Jack Fisk, screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch and Director Brian De Palma, which are great. The original special edition was well-stacked back in the day and the material is still solid. 

Scream go above and beyond and tip the scales with over 2-hours of newly produced extras which are befitting the horror classic on its 40th anniversary. On disc one of the two-disc set we have the new 4K scan of the movie, plus we have the original theatrical trailer and franchise trailers for The Rage: Carrie 2, the 2002 Carrie TV movie plus the inferior 2013 remake. Onto disc two we have the aforementioned carry-overs from the special edition plus the new stuff.  'More Acting Carrie' is a nice update of the original 'Acting Carrie' with new interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg and P.J. Soles (20 minutes). Plus there are new interviews with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen (29 Mins),  Paul Hirsch (25 Mins), director of photography Mario Tosi (15 Mins),  casting director Harriet B. Helberg (16 Mins), composer Pino Donaggio (24 Mins), a six-minute piece about "Carrie: The Musical", and a new episode of Sean Clark's Horror's Hallowed Grounds (11 Mins).  On top of that we have trailers and TV spots, an image gallery, plus a text essay 'Stephen King and The 'Evolution of Carrie'. As for packaging the 2-disc Blu-ray set arrives in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork, featuring the original poster artwork and a new illustration from artist Nat Marsh, with a slipcover featuring the new artwork. 

Special Features

Disc One:
- NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Negative
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2Mins) 
- Carrie Franchise Trailer Gallery (4 Mins) 
Disc Two:
- NEW More Acting Carrie – featuring interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg and P.J. Soles (20 minutes)
- NEW Writing Carrie – an interview with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen (29 Mins) HD
- NEW Cutting Carrie – an interview with editor Paul Hirsch (25 Mins) HD 
- NEW Shooting Carrie – an interview with director of photography Mario Tosi (15 Mins) HD 
- NEW Casting Carrie –an interview with casting director Harriet B. Helberg (16 Mins) HD 
- NEW Bucket of Blood – a new interview with composer Pino Donaggio (24 Mins) HD 
- NEW Horror's Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Film's Original Locations (11 Mins) HD 
- Acting Carrie – Interviews With Actors Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Priscilla Pointer and P.J. Soles And Art Director Jack Fisk And Director Brian De Palma (43 Mins) 
- Visualizing Carrie – Interviews With Brian De Palma, Jack Fisk, Lawrence D. Cohen, Paul Hirsch (41 Mins) HD 
- A Look At "Carrie: The Musical" (6 MIns) 
- TV Spots (3 Mins) 
- Radio Spots (2 Mins) 
- Still Gallery – Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters And Lobby Cards
- Stephen King And The Evolution Of Carrie Text Gallery (17 Mins) HD 

Wow, the Scream Factory 2-disc Blu-ray Collector's Edition is jam-packed with not just a definitive 4K transfer but hours of cool extras. I remember listening to an interview with Jeff and Cliff from Scream Factory on an episode of the now defunct Killer POV podcast, they were posed the question what title had slipped through their fingers or what movie they would love to have a crack at, Carrie was at the top of the list. You could tell at the time it was a movie they wanted so badly to get their hands on, and now they have, and they've done right by it. When you watch this version of the movie you can feel and see their passion for the movie right there on the screen. This is hands-down the definitive version of the movie, case closed, sell-off your old versions and update immediately.  

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