The film’s director Brian DePalma was a contemporary of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg,, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese in the New Hollywood era that began around the late 1960’s. They all found, or were finding, some success in film. Yet while DePalma had done several films prior to Carrie, he had not found any success until this particular film. He and George Lucas even held joint auditions for Star Wars and Carrie, with the actors often trying out for roles in both films.
His vision was for the film to be a tad Hitchcockian, with a supernatural bent. This is what viewers see in the final film. With suspense and scares that resemble Psycho, right down to the screeching notes that permeate the score. DePalma even hired Psycho composer Bernard Hermann to score Carrie, but he died before any major work could be done on the soundtrack. Instead, DePalma hired Pino Donaggio to score the film. Yet of course, the screeching notes remained in the film out of tribute to Hermann.
Another homage to Psycho can be found in the name of the high school – Bates. Named after the film’s chief villain Norman Bates. In contrast, Stephen King set the novel at Ewen High School. Yet the incidents depicted are very faithful to the novel’s central story and incidents regarding her home life and at school. Despite the fact many of the non-linear elements of the book featuring Sue Snell years later are omitted from the film. Along the with the film’s final scene being an invention by Brian DePalma and not included in the novel.
One sequence from the book DePalma tried to include was the scene where Carrie’s mother slaps her as a small child, and Carrie causes rocks to fall off the roof. The scene was later deleted in the editing stage, and there was also not enough room in the film’s budget to allow it to reoccur in the ending, as it did in the novel. Instead, Brian DePalma had the house implode on Carrie and her mother as a final solution. A solution that made a better cinematic effect than rocks tumbling on the roof of a house.