Behind the Screams
CARRIE was filmed in Toronto during the summer of 2012. As important as any character in the movie, the house Carrie lives in with her mother needed to establish a home environment that evoked isolation and behavioral severity. Production designer Carol Spier took inspiration from King's novel in creating the White house. "We were trying to keep in mind Margaret's character, who she was, where she came from," says Spier, who found a bungalow on a Toronto residential street that came close to the style she wanted. "We put a new porch on, moved the front door and put new windows in, then added dormers to the rooftop. The interiors we built on a soundstage."
As for the inside of the house, the goal was to keep it as simple and puritanical as possible, a place where someone of Margaret's God-fearing nature wouldn't feel threatened. Says Spier, "We did very simple moldings, no embellishments, and no curves. Everything is angular. We did hide a few crosses, but not the in-your-face kind. It was very subtle. And the colors were very drab. Definitely no red anywhere. Red was being avoided because Margaret thought red was the color of sin."
Spier worked hand in hand with the special effects team as well, who needed a house that could collapse easily when Carrie goes into full retribution mode in the third act. "We had to see the house through different stages," says Spier. "We had to build everything so it could break and fall away. We did a certain amount with the construction, and then visual effects took it further."
As for the house's destruction, which involves stones dropping from the sky, visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi -- after careful research and storyboarding and pre-vizzing the sequence -- opted to go with a full-on digital takedown instead of destroying manually-built scaled models. "I scanned the house with a lidar scan and photo-surveyed it with over 6500 photos and a full lidar scan of that," says Berardi. "We shot the house destruction first, which is really rare in filmmaking. But it's great because it's such a complicated sequence, that I needed the time to do it."
Elsewhere, in terms of Carrie's telekinesis and the bloody, extended prom destruction sequence, Berardi opted for a hybrid effects package of old school camera tricks, stunt work and up-to-the-minute digital effects. "We're doing reverse printing, a lot of physical effects, but we're also trying to appeal to the modern aesthetic for an action film or effects movie," he says. "We wanted to find that place where we can do digital work that doesn't feel forced, that doesn't hijack the narrative."
For the prom sequence, for instance, actors were digitally scanned so they could be replicated during the climactic destruction as digital doubles. For scenes when Carrie uses her telekinesis -- or "TK power" -- on Margaret, the team used a combination of wire-rigging and separately filmed poses for an eerie composite-photography effect. Adds Berardi, "There's been a lot of work to find the right amount of digital work that doesn't overtake it."
Ultimately, with CARRIE, the cast and filmmakers saw a chance to deliver a powerful new interpretation of Stephen King's legendary story, one steeped in our fascination with a certain misfit who holds mysterious, dangerous powers that wreak havoc when unleashed. Because for all the ways the movie pulls out all the stops in its horrifying third act, it stems from feelings and emotions everybody can understand. Says Moretz, "It definitely has a terror aspect. Seeing everything that's happening and the things that are happening inside the character's mind that are now affecting you, that's what's so terrifying about it."
Like all memorable horror, CARRIE builds on a memorable protagonist. "I think Carrie White is an extraordinary character," affirms Peirce. "I think she's wildly exciting, I think she's amazing. I just can't wait to introduce her and Chloe's interpretation of her to a new audience. I think our movie is wildly fun and meaningful, and I think it'll just take you on a great rideā¦" especially once the blood drops.
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