Saturday, May 9, 2009

Moment of Horror #6

Stephen King's Carrie
In 1973 the Horror landscape changed forever. Unknown author Stephen King would publish his first novel, entitled Carrie. Undoubtedly the success of the novel had a fair amount to do with the story's subject matter finding an immediate and hungry audience. Carrie, a teen aged girl, living under the thumb of her "unbalanced" and oppressive mother; ridiculed and ostracized by her peers develops telekinetic powers and uses them to exact revenge. OK I admit being a guy, and one who grew up as the younger sibling, and was intelligent enough to let my older sister challenge parental authority, and make all the stupid teenage decisions to which I could observe and myself avoid later in life, the book had no appeal. But to the millions of girls just like my sister King was writing about their lives, or more accurately, their lives as they perceived them. His writing style was new and explicit and tackled subtexts that would clearly have been taboo anywhere else. In the beginning of the book he addresses Carries discomfort with her adolescent body and the changes it is undergoing, and then goes over the edge with people stoning here in a communal shower with tampons and "sanitary napkins". The book was so evocative, that it was widely banned from numerous schools, and not just library collections, but students could face out right confiscation in many cases. Only three years after it's initial publishing the book was made into a major motion picture, again with great success, which produced one of the Horror genre's most iconic film images, Carrie standing on stage dripping with blood.

While this image, this film and more so this book are all worthy of being included in horrors greatest moments, really the most important aspect is the emergence of Stephen King the novelist. So synonymous with horror fiction today that it could be argued his name rivals the likes of Edgar Allen Poe.

Gary Macabre

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