Through the Black Hole » LIKE BEING ON MARS: An Oral History of the film CARRIE (1976) – Lee Gambin

LIKE BEING ON MARS: An Oral History of the film CARRIE (1976) – Lee Gambin

Written by Tony Northrup


Author Lee Gambin loves pop culture. His knowledge for television, movies, books, as well as his high regard for many actors is very impressive. I love that Lee also shows his appreciation for those actors who have less prominent roles…those many of us would overlook. Lee brings them into the spotlight as well. His books are diverse, and have covered many subjects including animals in films, television shows, actors, movie musicals, and horror films, which includes the 1980′s horror classic,THE HOWLING. That being said, Lee Gambin has done something else that’s notable as well.

He’s written three books surrounding the making of Stephen King’s most beloved stories adapted to film: CUJO, CHRISTINE, and CARRIE.

NOPE! NOTHING WRONG HERE:The Making of CUJO (2017), is one of the most informative “making of a film” books I’ve read about the film CUJO that was released in theaters in 1983! Also, HELL HATH NO FURY:The Making of CHRISTINE (2019), covers the 1983 John Carpenter film from the opening credits to the last name on the closing credits. Both books are packed full with interviews with the cast, director, the film crew, and more! As the saying goes, many good things come in 3′s. Lee Gambin has brought us his latest book based on the Stephen King story adapted to film CARRIE, which was released in theaters in 1976.

LIKE BEING ON MARS:An Oral History of CARRIE (1976), was released June 2023 and uses the same great formula as Lee’s first two Stephen King “making of” books. It’s an over-sized treasure, packed with interviews with cast and crew members, director Brian DePalma, the film’s music composer, and much more. This book gives us a closer look into the making of this 1976 horror classic from that very first scene in the girls locker room, to one of the most classic horror film endings on film! There are quotes from author Stephen King himself, telling us about the film CARRIE, as well as some insight into the basis of his book.This novel was Stephen King’s first number one bestseller, and would pave the way for his very long, and successful career.

From cover-to-cover this book nails it! The in depth interviews with the main cast, their background stories, where they are now, the beautiful photos, and all the detail Lee brings to the forefront of each scene in the film makes it feel as though you were on set. Lee pulls out answers from the cast that some fans of the film have always wanted to know. He’s also taken the time to bring us interviews with those who had smaller roles in the film, right down to the extras who were cast. One of the highlights of this book is that Lee Gambin includes details of deleted scenes that didn’t make it into the film. For those of you who are die hard fans of CARRIE, you’ll find this especially interesting and exciting! Lee also includes an array of great behind the scenes photos from the film CARRIE, as well as some very rare photos most Stephen King fans have never seen until now. This was of particular interest to me, and I’m sure those of you who are CARRIE buffs will find them an added bonus as well. The book wraps up with movie posters, promos, and responses from critics, fans, and even the cast themselves about the film, the final outcome, and how the film affected their careers.

One has to remember, this was the mid-1970′s, a very different time for the horror genre. This film was released before the tidal wave of “slasher films” took over the box office in the 1980′s, and a year after the mega-hit JAWS, in 1975. CARRIE was a huge success, and launched many successful careers, including that of Stephen King himself, who would become the greatest horror author of our generation.

I asked Lee Gambin, “Since you’ve done CUJO and CHRISTINE, why did you pick CARRIE as your next Stephen King film to write about? Lee’s reply “CARRIE is one of my favorites, and definitely one of the best of the King adaptations, and is one of the most important films of the 1970′s, and the then new Hollywood movement.”

I then asked Lee, “Now that you’ve covered three of Stephen King’s films, will you be doing another?” Lee replied with a laugh, “No!” With this book, Lee has reached into the heart of CARRIE and brought us a very special piece of film history, as well as literature. For that…we will allow him to say this was his final in this trilogy.

All three of Lee Gambin’s books based on Stephen King’s stories adapted to film have something for everyone. If you’re a horror fan, a Stephen King fan, a fan who likes to learn about movies, sets, how things work, a peek behind the scenes, and trivia about your favorite actors, then you’ll enjoy all of these books. I find Lee Gambin to be fascinating, extremely knowledgeable on what it takes to adapt a book to film, he displays genuine appreciation for the cast and crew for allowing him to share their stories, and I truly enjoy his style of writing.

LIKE BEING ON MARS: An Oral History of CARRIE (1976)…is a true polished gem for horror fans and Stephen King fans alike. This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and I highly recommend adding it to your own library of great reads!

Posted in Nonfiction by Tony Northrup on September 4th, 2023 at %I:%M %p.

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