Emoji Major No. 11: “Carrie,” Then And Now (In Emoji)

How do you say “bucket of pig’s blood” in emoji? This week, spooked by the new Carrie, Zoe Mendelson goes to ’70s prom.

Carrie kills me. The 1976 classic movie is really good, and Brian De Palma made it beautiful. I feel this more strongly than ever, having just seen it because the Kimberly Peirce remake that opened Friday–a so-2013 Hollywood production involving teenagers and a lot of red syrup–made me crave a quality film with something to say (about adolescence and being an outsider).


But back to the new one, in Halloween emoji spirit, I had to check it out. The story’s an American classic, it was Stephen King’s first published novel, and a lot of effort went into the viral trailer video (emoji version below):

After seeing the completely out-of-hand gruesome, really just nasty (WHY do we need extended close-ups of gnarly bodily wounds ever?!) remake and getting so thoroughly disturbed I had to take a long walk and then watch three episodes of The Office over a glass of whisky to get myself to go to sleep, I managed to let it go and make myself watch the original. It dances elegant circles around current Carrie.

So I bring you an alternative remake: Carrie Way Smaller.

Some elements of the movie(s) were difficult to translate to emoji, namely the key character: blood. So. Much. Blood. All I really had to work with here are 1) the syringe (which had its big emoji break in the titular role of Emoji Major No. 1, the Breaking Bad premiere “Blood Money”); 2) tiny red triangles pointing up and down; and 3) a big red circle. They make the scenes pretty abstract and almost–almost–point to a fatal limit of emoji for long-form storytelling. I couldn’t convey that the blood was ON Carrie or anyone else, which is basically the most crucial visual of the second half of the movie. So now we know: Emoji don’t do prepositions all that well. (You know how I feel about breaking emoji character and using words; I’m talking to you, Katy Perry.)

The emoji in the slide show above are enacting the De Palma vision, because I didn’t want to send you, too, to The Office–to detox and to see an example of a remake that rises to meet the original instead, rather than slumping into a pool of blood.


About the author

Zoe Mendelson is a mushroom salesperson in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a weekly map column for UntappedCities.