Sissy Spacek on why filming ‘Carrie’ shower scene ‘terrifying’

The iconic shower scene in Stephen King’s 1976 horror “Carrie” was bloody “terrifying” for a shy Sissy Spacek.

In an interview with the Independent, Spacek recalled how she made it through the nude scene where her similarly timid character, Carrie White, who unleashes telekinetic powers after being embarrassed at prom, washes off in the school locker room and discovers she’s started her first period .

“It was terrifying. I’m also very shy, and I’m an introvert,” Spacek, now 72, said.

“I went to [director] Brian De Palma and said: ‘Tell me about this scene, what is it like?’ And he turns to me and he says: ‘It’s like getting hit by a Mack truck.’ ”

Carrie, poster, Sissy Spacek, 1976. (
The official “Carrie” movie poster.
LMPC via Getty Images

Coincidentally, Spacek’s husband, designer and art director Jack Fisk, had been hit by a truck, so the actress said she went home and asked him for pointers.

“So in that scene, what’s going on in my head is [Fisk] walking along the side of the road when he was about 11 or 12. It’s snowing, and he’s looking at Christmas lights. And then he saw car lights,” she said.

“There was a car coming down the road right at him, and it ran him over. So, when Carrie’s in the shower, I’m seeing those Christmas lights, and then the horror of the blood,” she told the outlet, displaying an unsteady hand, just like in “Carrie.”

“Ain’t it bizarre that something like that could work?”

Sissy Spacek covered in blood In "carrie"
Spacek in the Brian De Palma horror classic “Carrie” based on the Stephen King novel.
Getty Images
Carrie White shut up
Carrie White (Spacek), is unexpectedly elected prom queen in “Carrie.”
Getty Images

Spacek had a number of non-traditional tricks to get herself into the mindset of her outcast high school character. In a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone, she told the mag that she wore a raggedy sailor dress from her childhood for her audition. She didn’t brush her teeth and drenched her hair in Vaseline.

Once she landed the role, according to her 2012 memoir “My Extraordinary Ordinary Life,” Spacek said she isolated herself from the rest of the cast and decorated her dressing room with religious iconography. She also studied Gustave Doré’s illustrated Bible and the “body language of people being stoned for their sins.” Sissy Spacek on why filming ‘Carrie’ shower scene ‘terrifying’

Emma Bowman

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