Even if you've never seen the original "Carrie," you know the scene: A pretty girl is onstage in front of her classmates, only moments after being crowned prom queen, when the final, ultimate embarrassment in a lifetime of humiliations occurs: From the rafters above, a bucket of thick, gooey pig's blood comes raining down upon her and her date, drenching them both and setting up an even-bloodier conclusion to one of cinema's most-shocking ugly-duckling dramas.
That's the setup to Brian De Palma's "Carrie" (1976) — and the original Stephen King novel — largely reproduced in Kimberly Peirce's gorier, higher-octane "Carrie" remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz, out in theaters Friday (October 18).
It's not a spoiler to say the blood drop occurs: It would be odd for Carrie's journey not to reach that point, as written in King's novel. But its dynamics are somewhat different than the original incarnation (or the made-for-TV version starring Angela Bettis). Peirce's camera lingers on the slow spill of the blood, stretching out the moment to an almost-torturous length before it hits Carrie's shoulders. And when it does, we all know what's coming next for Carrie and her classmates.
"I'm definitely playing Carrie now, because I'm covered in blood, I'm freezing cold, and I'm uncomfortable," Moretz said in a recent interview with MTV News. The actress, who just came off a second stint as Hit-Girl Mindy Macready in "Kick-Ass 2," offers a take on Carrie that is a bit different from the version seen in the original: She's more proactive and more curious, she explained.
"Boys Don't Cry" and "Stop Loss" director Peirce told us the biggest challenge about remaking "Carrie," was taking "something this great, and this timely and this timeless and ahead of its time" and bringing it to life for a new generation.
Peirce's approach to the material is decidedly more kinetic than the original, a little more "X-Men" than horror fans might expect, with Carrie's abilities manifesting themselves in increasingly elaborate (and, later, gruesome) ways as she confronts her tormentors at school and at home.
So, what was it like attempting to approach one of the most memorable scenes in horror history?
In a New York Times profile of the director, Peirce admits that she took De Palma, a longtime friend, out to dinner to compare notes on their respective approaches to the material when they came upon the subject of creating the blood drop based on how it was written in Stephen King's novel.
"We were talking about the pig-blood dump," she said. "I asked him how he did the scene. He said, 'What are you talking about?' I explained that we went through five-gallon, four-gallon and three-gallon buckets. We tried a five-foot drop, a three-foot drop and a four-foot drop. We had a butterfly opening, we had three cameras, and on and on. And he said: 'I don't know. Jack (Fisk, the art director) was on a ladder, and he poured a bucket of blood.' And I asked him how many takes he did. 'What do you mean? We did one.' "
You can see how Moretz and Peirce get poor, young Ms. White bloodied up when "Carrie" hits theaters Friday (October 18).