By Frances Pheasant-Kelly
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Additional info for Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film
Her mother therefore not only controls her actions, but also compels her to subscribe to the religious fanaticism she upholds. The use of canted, low angle shots of her in these scenes emphasizes the overpowering force of the maternal body. Vivian Sobchack18 identifies the threat the home presents, especially the parental figure, as a generic pattern characteristic of several horror films of that time. Describing similar depictions of a decentralized family unit in Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Shining (1980), Sobchack attributes this to shifts in American society.
In killing the mother, Carrie attempts to reiterate the thetic break, but ultimately retreats to the semiotic space of the maternal world, signified through her immersion in the collapsed abject space of the home. The arm that emerges from the ground in the closing scenes, while commensurate with the horror genre, again suggests Carrie as a Christ-like figure through resurrection. While rituals within the home generally refer to Carrie’s repressed identity, rituals concerned with other spaces, particularly the prom, signal her developing subjectivity.
Both black and white Americans are tightly framed, with whites in one frame and blacks in another. The assembly of whites and blacks causes extreme disorder, with the voiceover of Sheryl Yoast (Hayden Panettiere) describing the city as being ‘on the verge of explosion’. The marginalization of black Americans thus leads to scenes of chaos, with whites perceiving blacks as problematic. Indeed, whenever both appear within the frame in the early part of the film, there is a tendency for hostility and disorder.
Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film by Frances Pheasant-Kelly