I have been tasked with the super fun “job” of seeing almost every entry of Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn’s Terror Tuesday’s and Weird Wednesdays this month. First of all, I have always been a fan of The Alamo Drafthouse since the initial texter got thrown out of their Austin theater. People talking or playing around on their phones during a movie in the theater is pretty much the bane of my existence, plus the ability to drink in the movie theater without sneaking a beer in your purse (not that I have EVER done such a thing) is always a plus.
Tuesday, May 8th offered up the opportunity I didn’t get during high school when this film was originally released; seeing THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 on the big screen. I can imagine a number of thoughts people might have about this, but let me just ask you…have you seen the movie? As a femme-presenting-human and especially as a teenager, both CARRIE and CARRIE 2 can be oddly empowering for those who had to experience the usual horrors of “becoming a woman” in addition to being ostracized for whatever ridiculous teenage group-think reason.
Rachel Lang (Emily Bergl, who I had no idea is also in Taken) is the “Carrie 2” in question. Orphaned by her crazy, fanatically religious mother (sound familiar?) to live in a foster home with some truly delightful working class foster parents, Emilyn and Boyd, played respectively by Kate Skinner and John Doe who is probably more well known for playing J.W. Brown in Great Balls of Fire or for being one of the best punk singers of all time in the band X. Rachel is what most people who went to high school in 1999 might refer to as a “freak” (does anyone else remember that…just me?) who has maybe two friends amongst the student body, including her best friend with a matching tattoo, Lisa, played by the one and only American Beauty Lolita clone, Mena Suvari.
Lisa commits suicide at the beginning of the film, lighting the fuse to a whole rip-roaring stack of insane telekinetic dynamite, when she is dumped by Brad from (*Tim Allen Grunt *) Home Improvement …oops I mean Zachary Ty Bryan. One would assume that the typical trajectory of this film would immediately have Rachel start tearing shit down left and right WITH HER MIND…but THE RAGE is extremely ambitious and somehow throws in more plotline than just Carrie, oops, I mean Rachel, getting fake accepted by the popular crowd a la the original Carrie or if we’re speaking 90’s She’s All That/10 Things I Hate About You. Similarly to both films, an actual nice guy amongst all the Neanderthal jocks, Jesse Ryan played by Jason London (the London twin that was in Dazed in Confused as Randy “Pink” Floyd, not the one from Mall Rats, I had to check) falls in love with this freak, when he absolutely “should” be dating cheerleader Tracy, played by Charlotte Ayanna (Liz Purr in Jawbreaker). Also throw in some mental institution scenes, Amy Irving as a guidance counselor, and Romeo & Juliet because WHY NOT?!
Kat Shea, most well known for her Poison Ivy oeuvre steers this crazy ship narrowly past being embarrassingly dated (nu-metal and ska soundtracks anyone?) into being hyper-relevant with it’s focus on rape culture and toxic masculinity which is still somehow prevalent almost 20 years later.
Daphne Gardner and Kate McEdwards of Ladies Horror Night Podcast hosted the screening. Both former employees of video stores, the two horror film aficionados did their homework before the film and gave us all something to think about. Would this film get made today? Have we made strides towards ending rape culture? Something I didn’t know which is incredibly disconcerting is that according to Kate McEdwards “The film is actually based on a true story about a bunch of high school guys called the ‘Spur Posse’ in California who created a point system in order to document their sexual assaults”. Daphne and Kate are awesome and I’m so glad they had the idea to screen this film in 35mm for a new audience. I absolutely recommend listening to their podcast, as a former video store clerk myself (Mondo Kim’s East Village RIP).
I would definitely recommend hunting down THE RAGE, it has its cheesy exploitation moments, it might be a little too ambitious and the suspension of disbelief is almost literally nonexistent…but I love it. Funnily enough, the next night when I was at Alamo, I accidentally eavesdropped on some older horror fans that were seated behind me just ripping the film apart, saying that they even enjoyed Urban Legend (sorry Jared Leto but NO) more than THE RAGE which made me think that maybe I am excessively personally attached to this film because of a twisted nostalgia for my teen years. That however, is most definitely a story for another time.