Brian De Palma, is a Hollywood director, who is famous for creating and directing horror films. De Palma has directed some of the most controversial and best known horror films of all time, taking inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock. Brian De Palma directed the movie Carrie, inspired by the book by Stephen King, which is about a young woman who is denied society’s freedoms because her religious mother does not let her indulge in things because they may be a sign from God. When Carrie gets her period, things start to change for Carrie, who learns to grow up and learns she has special powers to combat her bullies.
Carrie has many similarities to the movie Dressed to Kill, which is also directed by Brian De Palma. Dressed to Kill, is about a physiatrist who is trapped inside his own body wanting to change his gender. During this process, he murders Kate Miller, the main female character. With these films both directed by Brian De Palma, the films have similar connections for the view to observe. In the films, Carrie and Dressed to Kill, Brain De Palma characterizes women as being sexual objects, to incite the male gaze, when they are actually being the most valuable characters in De Palma’s films by embracing their feminine performance.
Dressed to kill and Carrie, both show the two females characters being “taunted” by men, when they are actually more dominant than men, who normally have an “authority figure. ” The first clip that is important to Dressed to Kill, is when Liz is accused of murdering Kate Miller in the beginning of the movie. Liz defends herself and insists that she did not kill Kate Miller. The detective does not believe her and doesn’t care to look into other suspects, considering Liz’s job.
In the book of Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, written by Erving Goffman, the author states, “Sometimes the traditions of an individual’s role will lead im to give a well-designed impress ion of a particular kind and yet he may be neither consciously nor unconsciously disposed to create such an impression. ” This means that the detective is unwilling to accept what Liz has to say because her job says the opposite. Liz is very determined to liberate herself, so does the investigation work herself. This conflicting storyline, allows Liz receive help along the way from Kate’s son Peter Miller, who is believed to be Liz’s hero, but he only saves her from death.
This strategic plot allows the audience to believe Liz is a helpless, prostitute but when analyzing the movie, Liz is the one saving herself the whole time. An example of this is when Liz is at the train station, she rescues herself from the group of males harassing her. She had the strength and will to get herself out of death situations and wants to fight for her life because she knows she did not kill Kate Miller. Similarly, in the movie Carrie, Carrie White saves herself in the end of the movie by killing everyone who has hurt her, including her mother.
Carrie and her mother, do not have a strong, male presence in their lives which makes Carrie come from a broken home and not normal because she was raised by her mother, who is a “Jesus freak. ” This scene is vital to the storyline of the film because it doesn’t go within the expectations of society norms. During the time this movie was filmed, it was normal to have a father figure in a young woman’s life. An example of this is when you see Sue, sitting with her family before she goes to the prom to witness Carrie’s downfall.
In a graph, provided by the magazine The Big Picture, it shows households by type in the 1970’s to 2012. In 1970, only 11% of households were single woman, whereas today it is 15. 2%. This is a drastic difference from households with married couples being at 40. 3% (1970). This is an aspect that makes Carrie stand out and be different than most girls in the movie, but in the end, Carrie rids herself of all men by killing them. Another similarity between these two movies is the stylistic usage of shower scenes in De Palma’s films, which alludes to being a weakness of woman.
This picture is a scene in the beginning of the film Carrie. This scene is vital to the movie, because it sets up the plot by showing Carrie got her period, a normal thing for most woman. The period symbolizes womanhood, which De Palma tries to show woman should function and act within the construction of gender. De Palma writes Carrie’s powers off as an emotional response to becoming a woman. In the article, Gender is Not Just a Performance, the author states, “… once other people started reading me as female, they began treating me very differently.
Society is supposed to have a perceived opinion on woman and this scene highlights Carrie being in this situation by using the emptiness of just a white, tiled wall being her. Carrie’s character is actually a lot more elaborate than it seems, with actual issues than just becoming a woman. In the movie Dressed to Kill, De Palma uses the choice to use these showers scenes to appeal to the woman being vulnerable, because the shower is a place of having a sense of security and safeness. In the beginning of Dressed to Kill, De Palma has Kate in the shower masturbating.
With De Palma using the choice to show both the woman’s bodies in the shower, you get to see their whole body parts. Activities performed in private spaces, like the shower, occupied by women, presents itself as a claim to a male right to objectify women and an expectation for a woman to be okay with that. De Palma zooms into Kate’s face a lot in the shower because of the sexual pleasure she is providing herself and a male cannot provide her, as we see later on in the movie. In the beginning of both movies, the woman seem to be enjoying themselves by washing themselves with soap.
De Palma uses soft, soothing music to show the enjoyment, then he turns to harsh, dark music to bring the woman back to the real world; Carrie gets her period and Kate gets grabbed by a man behind her. Lastly, in the end of Dressed to Kill, De Palma plays on Liz’s venerability and puts her in the shower. While Liz showers, she seems to have no care in the world because the killer is put away, or so she thinks. Liz keeps watching the shoes on the floor when she tries to save herself by getting out of the shower to find a weapon.
In the end, she does die because Bobbi snuck around Liz while she was focusing on the set of shoes. When De Palma wrote this scene, he was thinking of the woman and how she is portrayed in the bathroom. Liz is vulnerable, but in the end is safe because she was only dreaming. Playing up these insecurities allows the audience to feel scared with Liz, especially when she is trying to find a weapon and looking at the shoes to make sure she is safe the whole time. In an interview with Brian De Palma, the famous director was talking about the set and how he deals with creating it.
He said, “Geography is very important when you’re setting up a suspense sequence because you’ve got to know where things are,’ said De Palma to Noah Baumbach for Criterion’s Dressed to Kill release. ‘Then the chess game can begin, but you’ve got to know the board and you’ve got to know what the pieces can do. ” By De Palma zooming in on facial expressions and key things like the shoes for Liz and for Carrie the legs, then the blood shows the audience that there is an intended ending for each of the characters.
Lastly, De Palma’s films depict voyeurism, by using specific color schemes. In the film, Dressed to Kill, Kate is the woman who wears white up until her death. De Palma chose this because even though she is wearing white, which is a sense of purity and goodness, she really is the opposite of that. De Palma wants to show the audience Kate is a normal everyday woman, with the inward thoughts of sexual pleasures. By letting go of what Kate wants and feel, by hooking up with Warren, the man from the museum, she ends up killing herself.
Liz is the opposite, though she dresses in all black and is the more “ideal” horror film kill, she survives saving herself in the end. De Palma created the character of Kate to show that this sympathetic, dogood woman, killed herself out of hunger and desire for sexual pleasure. Dressed to Kill is a movie about women’s desires, and the men are only important as they relate to Kate’s or Liz’s desire. Similarly, in the movie Carrie, De Palma uses the color white in the infamous prom ending, when Carrie kills all of her fellow students.
Even though the dress she wears is supposed to be light pink, all the camera angles and light show the dress of having a somewhat of “angelic look. ” De Palma does this in this scene especially to show that Carrie is almost considered an angel, because the movie has a focal point on religion. When the turning point occurs (the blood), Carrie becomes the opposite of what she stood for throughout the whole movie, and turns into almost the devil, fending for herself, and causing harm to those her hurt her.