Sissy Spacek on why filming ‘Carrie’ shower scene is ‘terrifying’

The iconic shower scene in Stephen King’s 1976 horror film Carrie was pretty damn “terrifying” for a shy Sissy Spacek.

In an interview with the Independent, Spacek recalled making it through the nude scene in which her similarly shy character, Carrie White, who unleashes telekinetic powers after embarrassing herself at prom, finds herself in the school dressing room washes up and discovers her first period has started.

“It was terrifying. I’m also very shy and introverted,” said Spacek, now 72.

“I went to [director] Brian De Palma and said, ‘Tell me about this scene, how is it?’ And he turns to me and says, ‘It’s like getting hit by a Mack truck.’ ”

Carrie, poster, Sissy Spacek, 1976. (
The official “Carrie” movie poster.
LMPC via Getty Images

Coincidentally, Spacek’s husband, designer and art director Jack Fisk, had been hit by a truck, so the actress said she went home and asked him for tips.

“So what’s going on in my head in that scene is [Fisk] walking along the side of the road when he was about 11 or 12. It’s snowing and he’s looking at the Christmas lights. And then he saw car lights,” she said.

“A car came straight at him on the street and ran him over. So when Carrie’s in the shower, I see those Christmas lights and then the fright of the blood,” she told the outlet, showing an unsteady hand, just like in “Carrie.”

“Isn’t it bizarre that something like this could work?”

Sissy Spacek covered in blood "carrie"
Spacek in Brian De Palma’s horror classic Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel.
Getty Images
Carrie White still
Carrie White (Spacek) is unexpectedly elected prom queen in “Carrie.”
Getty Images

Spacek had a number of unconventional tricks to get into the mindset of her high school outcast character. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1979, she told the magazine that she wore a tattered childhood sailor dress to her audition. She didn’t brush her teeth or soak her hair in petroleum jelly.

After getting the role, Spacek said she isolated herself from the rest of the cast and decorated her wardrobe with religious iconography, according to her 2012 memoir My Extraordinary Ordinary Life. She also studied the Illustrated Bible by Gustave Doré and the “body language of people being stoned for their sins”.

Leave a Comment