A frail teenage girl with psychic powers is bullied relentlessly by the girls at her high school, and browbeaten into a constant state of guilt by her fanatically religious mother. Future A-list director Brian De Palma (The Untouchables, Mission Impossible) had spent fifteen years directing shorts and minor movies before adapting this Stephen King favourite. Dealing directly with issues such as puberty and physical change (frequently alluded to via metaphor in horror) is an uncompromising but successful technique, and one that ensures Carrie's place amongst the most emotionally powerful examples of the genre. Due to her ignorance, Carrie's (Spacek) first period is a distressing and public experience, seized upon by her tormentors, and also signifies the onset of her psychic capabilities; clearly the two events are linked. Carrie's mother, Margaret (Laurie), does little to support her daughter. More than a little mad, she is too busy harassing the neighbours with prophecies of eternal damnation and warnings to wicked non-believers. She is an oppressive presence, refusing Carrie privacy and preventing her from taking part in the normal activities of a teenage girl. She has inadvertently raised a disaffected, nervous daughter, who is no more able to understand relationships than she is her strange powers. Piper Laurie is excellent, but Spacek's astonishing turn in the lead is a frank and unselfconscious career-best performance more than worthy of her Academy Award nomination.