The Many Lives of Carrie


Nico Baisley, Staff Writer

Stephen King’s first novel Carrie is, undoubtedly, one of his masterpieces, and a horror classic. It also
jumpstarted his career, especially after he received $200,000 for mass-market publication of the novel.
This money allowed him to quit his job as a teacher and take time to work on more books.

Carrie was not only an extremely successful novel, but it was also produced into four movies, a musical,
and a Riverdale television special. All with varying degrees of success.

The 1976 movie adaptation (under the same name,) was critically and commercially successful, grossing
over $38.3 million, having only a budget of $1.8 million. Critics and audience members both claim it as
the best adaptation of the novel out of the many produced and one of the best films based on King’s

The 1999 sequel of Carrie, The Rage: Carrie 2, follows a plot not included in the novel, of Carrie’s
younger half-sister, Rachel. This movie was very unsuccessful, especially compared to the first movie of
the series. It grossed only $17 million, compared to its $21 million production budget. It also received
widely negative reviews.

Another adaptation of the novel was produced in 2002, titled again, Carrie, as a supernatural horror
television film. This film is noted to be more faithful to the novel than the 1976 version. When the film
premiered in 2002, it was viewed by 12.21 million people, and while initially receiving good reviews, it
was poorly received by film critics, who criticized the film’s poor special effects, long run time, and lack
of a horror atmosphere. The film, when pitched and produced, was intended to kick off a series,
following the outcomes of the movie and its ambiguous ending. However, after the movie’s poor
reception, the series was cancelled.

Yet another adaptation, titled (again) Carrie, was released in 2013. This movie was a similar retelling of
the story, but with more modern elements, including cell phones and YouTube. It received mixed
reviews, many citing the lack of originality, but praising the modern updates. It grossed $8.48 million,
with its budget of $30 million.

Apart from movies, another adaptation was the musical, Carrie, which was produced and performed in
1988, and on a brief Broadway stint, received negative reviews, causing the show to flop. Years later,
however, in 2009, writers reworked the show and replaced certain songs with new ones. In 2010, a
developmental lab was held to work on the show, with a new cast. In 2011, a benefit preview of the
revival was presented at the Lucille Lotrel Theatre.

In 2015, the revamped Carrie was brought to London’s Off-West End theatre, there, the show received
mostly positive reviews.

Also in 2015, a new environmental-immersive version of Carrie received its Los Angeles premiere at the
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The immersive production, featuring a further revised book
and score, was renamed Carrie the Killer Musical Experience, and received largely positive reviews.
In 2018, the popular CW show Riverview, was centered around the plot of a production of the musical
Carrie, as the characters prepare to perform the show.