Tragically, making a direct and detail-perfect novel-to-film adaptation of anything is impossible. Something will always be left out. Sadly, this is also the case with the movie Carrie.

Though both the book and the original movie are fondly remembered as being among King’s best, despite their early arrival in his canon, the movie leaves out several crucial details and features of Carrie’s life, story, and thought process that make the book that much better.

10 A Hail of Rocks

The main relationship in Carrie White’s life, in both the book and in the film, is her relationship with her abusive mother, a religious fanatic who believes that not only is intercourse a sin, but even getting your period to conceive children, a natural bodily process and a part of puberty, is also a sin. In the book, she ridicules a young Carrie for her body in a bathing suit, making Carrie bring down a hail of rocks on their home. When Carrie is later leaving for prom, she threatens another hail of rocks if she can’t go; in the end, this is the way she destroys her home. This peek into Carrie’s mind certainly makes a lot more sense than the house just crumpling in on itself as it does in the movie.

9 RIP Chamberlain, Maine

If you were Carrie White, wouldn’t you want to destroy the entire town that had not only spent years tormenting and bullying you, but also turned a blind eye as your mother continuously made your life a living hell? Of course! It only makes sense that Carrie would absolutely decimate her entire town after all that she endured. Though this was removed from the film, in the book, the town Carrie destroyed is mostly murdered and now completely deserted.


8 A Retrospective

Speaking of the structure of the novel, it’s King’s first (that he got published, anyways), and is written as an epistolary novel. You remember those — the novels made up of journals, letters, testimonies, medical records, and the like. Because of this format, King has entire segments that are written after the events of Carrie’s prom, looking at what happened in retrospect. However, the movie ends with a dream sequence immediately after the events of the prom, and doesn’t look too deeply into what happened afterwards to anyone, the mysterious and potentially not-deceased Carrie included.

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7 Another Carrie?

The literal, real end of the book doesn’t even end with these retrospectives, either. In fact, the story of Carrie White ends before the book Carrie does. In the end of the book, a woman in the South is writing a letter discussing how her young niece seems capable of moving things with her mind, suggesting that there are other girls like Carrie out there.

The movie completely leaves this information out, leading the audience to believe Carrie is perhaps a fluke, mutation, or some freak of nature. Instead, she’s actually part of something much larger than us all.

6 Carrie’s Appearance

For many, it’s impossible to imagine Carrie White looking like anything or anyone other than Sissy Spacek exactly as she looked in this film. Most King fans remember Spacek exclusively for her role in Carrie. However, the scrawny, meek, thin-haired, mousey Carrie really did not resemble Spacek appearance-wise in the book at all. Though fans of the book and movie usually let this slide because Spacek knocks this performance out of the park, Carrie wasn’t supposed to be pale and small at all. Instead, she was supposed to be a heavyset girl with very dark features, including dark eyes, and terrible skin with a lot of bad acne all over, including (especially) her face.

5 No Lawsuit?

In the book, Carrie is continuously afraid that the mean girl bullying her, Chris Hargensen, is going to bring her to court over what’s going on between them. This is because Chris’s father is a prominent lawyer in addition to being an actual character in the book. He threatens a lawsuit against Carrie and her mother, Margaret, and Carrie is terrified of this threat, both because of the implications and because of her fear of the unknown. However, because the character of Chris’s  father isn’t ever even mentioned in the movie, it completely removes this motivation and these events from Carrie’s character.

4 Tommy’s Not A Joke

When watching the movie, it’s easy to assume that Sue Snell and her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, are just trying to trick Carrie. Though audiences come to trust Sue, who truly seems to regret her role in bullying Carrie the day she got her period, Tommy really never earns that trust in the film.

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He tends to laugh off the situation a lot, seems to be actually dumb, and doesn’t really seem to care much for Carrie until the very last moment at prom. In the book, though, Tommy is actually secretly smart and kind, and he grows to like Carrie far earlier. He’s genuine, doesn’t constantly laugh at her, and gives her a really good night before— well, you know.

3 The Crucifixion of Margaret

How can one forget the image of Jesus dead on the cross in Carrie’s frightening little closet? It’s impossible; the symbol is burnt into the brains of many horror fans the world over. In the movie, the tiny statue of Jesus has him crucified and impaled, stabbed many times with a multitude of knives and other weapons. This image comes back later when Carrie kills her mother, Margaret, telekinetically sending a number of household items through her to impale her just like Jesus Christ on the cross. While the symbolism is awesome, in the book, Carrie chooses to slowly stop her mother’s heart as her mother recites the Lord’s Prayer, an intensely powerful scene (in a different way) for Carrie.

2 Sue At The Prom

Carrie doesn’t seem to think she has any friends but, in reality, she does. Sue Snell is looking out for her, even when it seems that nobody else in Carrie’s life is even trying. In the movie, this is made clear by Sue going to the prom — not to bully Carrie, or trick her, or steal Tommy back from her. She goes to see Carrie and then sees what Chris is planning and tries to stop this from happening, at which point she’s removed from the gymnasium, making her the sole survivor of Carrie’s rage. In the book, though, Sue isn’t even there;Carrie doesn’t have anybody who seems to be on her side, in that moment.

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1 What To Do?

One of the best parts of the novel Carrie is Carrie’s dramatic inner conflict about whether or not she should go to prom. She desperately wants to please her abusive, Bible-thumping mother, but even morebadly, she just wants a normal life. The book does a wonderful job exploring this inner monologue and the deep conflictof Carrie’s decision to leave for prom, the rage she feels, the sadness, and the joy. King’s emotions come across very well here. Though Spacek does give a great performance, tragically, none of this inner monologue ever gets to come out.

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