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Case cover image of Carrie (videorecording),1976

Case cover image of Carrie (videorecording),1976

Excerpt from Carrie Ragtime: the horror of growing up female by Serafina Kent Bathrick, Jump Cut, no. 14, 1977, pp. 9-10, copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1977, 2004

From its beginnings, classical Hollywood cinema has relied on and reinforced the “natural” characteristics of women (reproductive or destructive) in order to motivate and propel its closed narrative structures. Certain coded behavior on screen could represent a woman as ideal mother or as lustful vamp. If she tells bedtime stories to children, she'll never be seen smoking cigarettes in her negligee. However, Hayes Codes and culture industry politics often permitted a fallen woman to die—so that her last minute suicide allowed for the rescue of her little son (THREE ON A MATCH, 1932). Or an innately possessive nurse could finally be treated for her murderous tendencies after collapsing, suffering, and surrendering to a forgiving husband and a psychiatric ward full of experts (POSSESSED, 1947).

Until recently, with the advent of the disaster film, in which “Mother Nature” herself wipes out whole cities, the individual woman has mostly been spared the capacity for large-scale destruction. But now, in the age of the crazily mixed genre film, where confused narratives tell us that humans are decadent, technology doesn't work, and nature has been ravished, there emerge whole new possibilities for ways to explain the rationalization of life and the destruction of community—again in terms of the nature of women. As Carrie White comes of age, she discovers that “she’s got the power.” With earth, air, fire, and water at her command, she annihilates a generation of all-American teenagers.

Link to the full article: http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC14folder/Carrie.html

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