This Halloween will mark the 40th anniversary since the release of Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma and based on Stephen King’s first novel. There has been many analyses of the film and usually with much deserved praise. Decades later, the story, acting, music, and direction still pack a wallop that was never replicated in any sequels or remakes. To celebrate the anniversary of the 1976 version, I wanted to take the time to explore the locations, but unfortunately most of the iconic spots are long gone. Although the novel took place in Maine, the film was shot in and around the Los Angeles area. You can also read about these locations in my article for Horror's Hallowed Grounds in HorrorHound magazine.
The opening scenes were shot at Palisades Charter High School at 15777 Bowdoin Street in Pacific Palisades, California. The volleyball scene was shot on the courts on the northern portion of the campus. The locker-room scene was also shot at the school according to the filmmakers.
After her horrible day, Carrie walks home and is pestered by little Cameron De Palma on his bike. Carrie is walking on East Santa Paula Street towards North 6th Street in Santa Paula, California. Unfortunately, since the original location pictures were taken, several of the trees have been cut down.
Next Margaret White makes her way to the Snell house. The good news is this location was just found thanks to location maestro "PaulH.". The bad news the house was demolished about ten years ago. Sue Snell’s house was located at 773 Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades, California. The first picture was found online and appears to be the only photo available of the original house; the second one is how the property looks now.
We go back to Santa Paula, California, for the location of Carrie’s house, located at 122 North 7th Street. According to neighbors, the house was bulldozed many years ago and nothing has been built on the lot. The house next door can be spotted in a few shots and the side walk is the same. Even though it is gone, many fans make the trek to the spot and retrace the characters’ steps.
We get our first look at the Bates High School gym where Miss Collins tells the girls about her detention deal. This is located at the Hermosa Beach Community Center at 710 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, California. They have taken good care of the gym and it looks much nicer than it did in the movie.
For Miss Collins’ detention, we move to the athletic field back at the Pacific Palisades Charter School.
Forty years later, the most shocking scene in the film is that a teacher gets away with slapping a student!
The track and bleachers also appear in scene where Sue asks Tommy to take Carrie to the prom.
Billy and Chris are having a night on the town and appear to be driving down North Vermont Avenue but end up at Kelso’s Café. Originally built in the 1940s as the S&W Wilson Building on the corner of Via de la Paz and Antioch in Pacific Palisades, it has also been torn down since filming.
We return to the Hermosa Beach Community Center for the scene where Carrie tells Miss Collins she was invited to the prom. These steps are on the south side of the gym, but there is no bench to mope around on!
We return to Carrie's house for the scene where Tommy stops by to ask her to prom. He crosses East Santa Barbara Street and drives south on 7th Street to the house.
The establishing shots of the Bates Packing plant is located at Farmer John’s at 3049 East Vernon Avenue in Vernon, California. The scene is shot on the East 37th Street side of the building. The murals have been repainted since filming, but the artwork style and some of the placement of the pigs are identical.
We return to the Hermosa Beach Community Center as the camera zooms in to see Billy and Chris setting up the bucket of blood.
Prom is nearly upon us! Carrie visits a drugstore to try out some lipstick. Located at 908 Main Street in Santa Paula, it is now H&R Block.
Tommy and the boys walk by drug store and next door to the tuxedo shop,, located at 910 Main Street in Santa Paula.
"He's not going to come." Tommy arrives to pick up Carrie at her house. The walk to the street seems to be the same when the movie was shot. The parking markings in the street, which look suspiciously like a cross, are still sightly visible on the street in present day.
The exterior of the gym at Hermosa Beach Center is used for the arrival at prom, but the interior was built on a set at Culver Studios for special effect and safety reasons.
Sue decides to check out the prom herself and runs down the same steps Miss Collins does earlier in the movie.
One of the most iconic shots is Carrie leaving the fiery gym and is one of my favorite locations to visit.
Carrie makes her way home. Again, not much to see except for some matching shots of the house next door. A model of the house was built at half-scale for its destruction at the end. As most fans now, the falling stones effect was not working, so instead the house burns and sinks into the ground.
For the film’s coda, Amy Irving was filmed walking backward down the sidewalk to the house during her dream sequence.
For over a decade, the legacy of Carrie remained dormant until the legendary musical made headlines for all the wrong reason in 1988. I did catch the 2015 Los Angeles production of “Carrie the Killer Musical Experience” and absolutely loved it. With a revised script, new score, stunning special effects, and great cast, it was a lot of fun. As an added bonus, the basement of the theatre had recreated scenes set up for the girl’s locker room, the pig farm, Carrie’s bedroom, and prayer closets!
A few years ago, Texas Frightmare had a small reunion of the Carrie cast including Betty Buckley, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, and PJ Soles. I was super impressed with their recreation of the prom decorations. It was like being on Mars...
I was lucky enough to get to see Stephen King speak on his book tour on June 14, 2016 in Omaha!