Carrie's Impact On The Horror Genre Isn't Lost On Sissy Spacek

The image of a blood-soaked Carrie White, played by Sissy Spacek, at prom is one of the most striking images in horror history. Yes, this can be contested, as there are a great many horror films with powerful imagery. But no one can deny the visual impact and memorability that one climactic moment in Brian De Palma's "Carrie" has had on the collective social consciousness. In fact, the impact of "Carrie" on the horror genre and its fans has swept generations since its release in theaters in 1976.

Who can blame them? There's a universal relatability to the tale Stephen King crafted. It's already bad enough being a teenager, with all the bodily changes. But in "Carrie," we witness what happens when our society fails those it purports to help and care for. Bullied by her peers, with no one at school to care about the poor teen, and then coming home to be abused by her religious mother, there is no safe space for Carrie. It makes it all the more tragic when Carrie is finally seen happy and glowing at prom, only for some bullies to ruin it all with their cruelty.

Since its release, there has been a sequel, a television film, a remake, and stage productions based on the film. The film has also been frequently referenced in shows and films since. It's clear that "Carrie" still continues to impact the horror genre decades later, and this knowledge isn't lost on star Sissy Spacek.

Carrie's legacy

While talking with about "Carrie," Spacek reflected on the legacy that she now leaves behind as one of the most iconic and influential stars of the '70s because of the role. One of the moments that made her realize the impact that she had left on viewers was when she was walking through town and had an encounter with a fan:

"A teenage girl came up running up to me and she outstretched her arms and hugged me, then showed me her arm. She had the most beautiful tattoo of me in 'Carrie' in my prom get up carrying a bouquet, smiling and looking beautiful before the fall. I was at first shocked about it, thinking about what her mother thinks about it and wondering what it will look like when she's sixty years old! But I was honored."

The lasting legacy of "Carrie" has been one of the things Spacek has loved about the experience, but also seeing how each generation has been introduced to the film that has since become a "modern classic" and a "rite of passage" for teenagers and adults getting their toes wet in both horror and Stephen King stories.

The longevity of "Carrie" is in the character's relatability, regardless of what generation we were born into. While a modern classic, the theme of the outcast isn't rooted in our modern era. No, it is a tale as old as time, and "Carrie" will always be right there to guide us through.