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The Psycho References You Missed In Carrie

The year was 1960 and moviegoers were in for the fright of their lives as they filed into cinemas to watch the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, "Psycho." The twisted tale of a motel owner with a fairly unhealthy mother-son relationship had many peeking around the curtain while showering (60+ years later, some of us still do). Since its release, "Psycho" often tops people's lists of the greatest horror movies. As Entertainment Weekly points out, "Psycho" changed the horror genre in many ways, especially by ending the long history of "monsters" as antagonists to focus on the darkness within humanity.

Flash forward to 1976, and we have Brian De Palma's "Carrie," which would go on to become another classic horror film. Given the influence "Psycho" had on the genre, it comes as no surprise that "Carrie" features two homages, or Easter eggs as we now call them, to Hitchcock's film – and we're kicking ourselves for not noticing them until now!

Psycho and Carrie sound a lot alike

One of the most iconic scenes in "Psycho" – and arguably in cinematic history – is the shower scene in which Marion (Janet Leigh) is brutally murdered by a kitchen knife-wielding Norman Bates. Each element of the scene – from the camera angles to the indistinct, enshadowed outline of the killer – work to create a spine-tingling moment that burns itself into the viewer's memory. Aiding that iconic moment is composer Bernard Herrmann's musical score. The four-note violin screech that accompanies Leigh's death screams are both jarring and chilling.

When De Palma began work on "Carrie," he reached out to Herrmann, requesting the composer's talents. Though Herrmann signed on to the project, he died shortly before production on "Carrie" ended and was replaced by Pino Donaggio (via IMDb). De Palma, however, wanted to honor Herrmann's legacy and impact. To that end, he used the four-note violin screech Herrmann had composed for "Psycho" to mark the moments when Carrie (Sissy Spacek) used her powers (via TribecaFim). The four notes are looped when Carrie reacts to her mother's refusal to allow her to attend the prom. The same notes are slowed down when Carrie lashes out at the prom.

Carrie should have known her school was trouble

Brain De Palma's homages to "Psycho" extended beyond a subtle musical nod. As fans know, Carrie is a telekinetic and pyrokinetic 16-year-old, who, like Norman Bates, has a challenging relationship with her mother. Despite her mother's fanatical parenting style, Carrie longs to be a regular high school girl. Unfortunately for Carrie, high school is as much of a torment as the home her mother created. She's bullied by her classmates after experiencing her first period in the school's communal showers (though her shower scene isn't as fatal as Marion's). She's tricked by supposed friends, who arrange for her utter embarrassment when she's crowned prom queen. 

Carrie's high school experience was hellish. But, the name of the school should have warned her. When De Palma adapted Stephen King's book, he changed the name of Carrie's school from Thomas Ewen Consolidated High School (via Stephen King Revisited) to ... Bates High School. Not surprisingly, neither Marion nor Carrie survived their time in a Bates building.