'Carrie' Turns 40: Secrets Behind the Iconic Horror Film

Read little-known facts about the 1976 Halloween staple.

ByABC News
October 31, 2016, 7:22 AM

— -- Nov. 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of "Carrie," which arguably remains one of the most iconic horror movies of all time.

An adaptation of the Stephen King novel, the 1976 film became a Halloween staple based on a bullied teen with supernatural powers.

Here are some little-known facts about the Academy Award-nominated classic.

Sissy Spacek was determined to become Carrie White.

Sissy Spacek was 25 years old during the casting of "Carrie." To appear younger than she actually was, the actress wore a sailor dress that was made for her by her mother.

PHOTO: Sissy Spacek starring in the 1976 horror film, "Carrie," which celebrates its 40th anniversary on Nov. 3, 2016.
Sissy Spacek starring in the 1976 horror film, "Carrie," which celebrates its 40th anniversary on Nov. 3, 2016.
United Artists/Getty Images

"I took the hem out of it so I looked a little more dorkish, but I looked very young," Spacek said in an interview with NPR. "I remember, I read the book the night before the screen test, and that was enough to really connect me with it."

In a 2015 interview with the British TV program "The One Show," Spacek said she arrived to the audition with Vaseline in her hair. She also didn't bother to brush her teeth or wash her face to mold into her unkempt character.

Some scenes were even too dark, even for the villains.

In the 2001 documentary "Acting 'Carrie,'" actress Nancy Allen, who played bully Chris Hargensen, revealed that it was upsetting to film the scene where she and Carrie's classmates antagonized the teen in the locker room.

PHOTO: John Travolta and Nancy Allen pose in a car on the set of the film "Carrie," directed by Brian De Palma, 1976.
John Travolta and Nancy Allen pose in a car on the set of the film "Carrie," directed by Brian De Palma, 1976.
United Artists/Getty Images

"To shoot it, I have to say was maybe the most disturbing thing I have ever shot because it's like a gang, it's like a tribe and a ritual or some kind of horrible thing," Allen said in the interview. "[I] did start to feel like I hated her and all of those feelings that you're supposed to be feeling as a character, but I remember shaking. It was very disturbing, very very disturbing."

The blood was a sticky situation.

In the memorable prom scene, Carrie's enemies dump a bucket of "pig's blood" over her head.

The substance was actually Karo syrup and food coloring, which would get stuck on her skin because of the hot lights, according to IMDb.

PHOTO: November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Spacek has said in interviews that she'd have to shower in order to get her dress off before re-shooting the scene.

The prom scene had some unexpected surprises.

In a 2013 interview, P.J. Soles (Norma with the red hat) discussed her fire hose death scene during prom, revealing that it blasted her in the ear and broke her ear drum.

"[T]he pain was excruciating," Soles told Vulture. "When you break your eardrum you lose your equilibrium and I remember just feeling faint and I slid down the bleachers, and that was my last take, and it looked real, too."

PHOTO: November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
IMDB

She added: "The grips came over and lifted me up and carried me over to my dressing room and I was just screaming in pain. It was outrageous, but they got the shot. You can see me wince and then they cut."

Carrie's dress was meant to be red, not pink.

Piper Laurie, who played Carrie's terrifying and abusive mother (Margaret White), said after all these years, she still "takes pride in rescuing one of her favorite lines" during the scene when Carrie is getting ready to leave for prom.

"[S]he's getting ready to go and she's made her own dress and obviously it's pale pink, which wasn't planned," Laurie said in during "Acting 'Carrie.'" "It was in the script. My line is, 'Red. I might have known it would be red' and the designer decided pink would be nicer on Sissy and no one bothered to check the dialogue."

PHOTO: November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
November 3 marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 horror film, "Carrie."
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Laurie said director Brian De Palma wanted to change the line.

"I said, 'No, no no,'" she recalled. "In her head, it's red."

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