Is A Quiet Place part of the Cloverfield Universe? No. Is Jason Voorhees a pot farmer? Maybe. Did Terrifier’s Art the Clown break “The Slasher’s Code”? Impossible to say…
Regular Dread Central readers know I’m a huge proponent of creative and innovative fan theories involving classic and modern horror movies. These explorations are sort of becoming what I’m known for around these parts. So when we reported on May 2nd that the Stephen King/J.J. Abrams series Castle Rock was premiering on Hulu July 25th, a little hypothesis that had been percolating in my brain slowly began to boil.
Based on the stories of Stephen King, the series will intertwine characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock.
J.J. Abram’s involvement almost guarantees plans to yank the carpet our from viewers feet (metaphorically speaking), even those who consider themselves Stephen King aficionados. So when it was revealed that Sissy Spacek was part of the cast, the thought hit me like a ton of bricks:
What if Carrie White never died? What if she’s alive and well in Castle Rock, where no one knows about her terrifying past?
Carrie, published in 1974, is Stephen King’s first novel, and the 1976 movie adaptation, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Sissy Spacek, was the first film based on his work. Bringing Carrie back to Castle Rock, a series that will connect many of King’s stories, would give it a feeling of completeness, of moving full circle, of making everything old new again. But aside from the fact that it would be cool, we have to ask ourselves if this theory is really plausible?
No one would appreciate retroactive continuity if it changed or lessened the impact of Carrie (King’s novel and/or De Palma’s adaption), and the idea of bringing the telekinetic back from the grave through supernatural means seems laughable. But what if the original novel and film left room for the possibility Carrie didn’t die? Impossible, you say, but how do we know this for sure?
In the movie, Carrie and Margaret White’s remains are never explicitly discussed; this isn’t to suggest that Brian de Palma didn’t infer they both died, but since we never see Carrie’s body (or a headstone, like we do in the novel), how can we say for certain? The ambiguity allows this theory to germinate, but it’s the fact that Sissy Spacek’s role in Castle Rock is said to be significant that really supports a compelling number of “what ifs”.
In the novel, Carrie was buried in Chamberlain, Maine’s local cemetery; we know this as King mentions her headstone was frequently vandalized. Of course, identifying charred human remains back in the 1970s wasn’t the exact science it is today.
What if Carrie escaped from her house before it collapsed and incinerated (making her mother’s remains unidentifiable and/or easily confused for two bodies)? Knowing that she’d never be forgiven (or understood) for the massacre she inadvertently unleashed on Prom Night, perhaps a now-hardened Carrie emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes.
What if Carrie White waved down a driver on a rural road, requested a ride to anywhere, and ended up in Castle Rock?
On the IMDB Page for Castle Rock, we learn Spacek’s character is named Ruth Deaver; while the name didn’t yield any clues when plugged into a program that searches for anagrams, it could still be an alias Carrie adopted after her escape (or the last name of an ex-husband). It’s important that the name Ruth Deaver doesn’t appear in any other Stephen King story. With so many established characters already living in the area, why bother introducing someone viewers aren’t already attached to—unless they actually are?
Ruth Deaver’s character description explains she’s “a retired professor and the estranged adoptive mother of Henry [played by André Holland]. Her fading memories may hold a key to Castle Rock’s unsettling past. Ruth is in a relationship with Castle Rock’s long-serving sheriff, Alan Pangborn [played by Scott Glenn].”
The most significant words are, of course, “fading memories”. If all we know about Ruth Deaver is that she went to and excelled in college, becoming a professor, it leaves her youth completely unknown–at least for now.
Stephen King stories that that place in Castle Rock include The Dead Zone, The Dark Half, Cujo, The Body, and Needful Things, among others. But the fictional city in Maine is also adjacent to Derry (home of Pennywise the Dancing Clown from IT), Salem’s Lot, and Carrie White’s hometown of Chamberlin. Carrie wasn’t just King’s first novel, it was the first of many that made the geography of Maine as integral as any character.
In my opinion, this makes a Castle Rock connection to Carrie not only possible but likely. Sissy Spacek’s participation is the perfect opportunity to bring back a classic character without diminishing the legacy of the original novel or film.
But what do you guys think? Do you accept that Carrie could have survived Prom Night? And do you agree Spacek’s participation is Castle Rock is too good an opportunity to connect these stories to pass up? Sound off in the Comments section!
In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.