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culture

Reel Toronto: Carrie

Blood flows in the streets of Toronto when a horror remake comes to town.

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

2014 01 28carrie prom

What can you do about remakes? It’s pretty rare that anyone anywhere sees one and says, “Wow, we really needed that film done again!” Usually, the best that can be mustered is “It wasn’t so terrible, but still, what was the point?” Toronto is ground zero for these sorts of films in the 21st Century, having already hosted Total Recall and the soon-to-be released Robocop. Last year brought Carrie, a remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic that, at the very least, brought some good talent to bear with Julianne Moore, Chloe Grace Moretz (who practically lived here in 2012, between this and Kick-Ass 2), and helmer Kimberly Peirce. And yet for all that, even the best reviews amounted to “It wasn’t so terrible, but, still, what was the point?” Other critics were less kind, but whatever they make of Carrie, they can’t deny we helped them get it done.

2014 01 28house 396

We might as well start with this, Carrie’s house, one of the key locations. Can we tell you a little about this house? After the filming, the Toronto Star did a fine article about the real owners of this house and how private homes get scouted and used for movies. We thought that would make the spot awfully easy to find when time came to write this column, but give ‘er a read. You’ll note that the article is very coy about where the house actually is—beyond mentioning that it’s in Mississauga—and that it was extensively modified by the filmmakers; the only recognizable feature is a centre-framed window, and you can see the actual colour in the carefully framed picture that accompanies the article.

2014 01 28house prom

We supplemented that scant evidence with a few shots of the adjacent (and thankfully unmodified) houses you can see next door and across the street and spent enough time Google-walking around Mississauga to make us question our priorities in life, folks. And then we found it! It looks so little like what’s in the final film that you can’t help but wonder what the heck they’re up in Hollywood and if they couldn’t have found another house that looked like what they wanted, except for the window but…that’s showbiz! (We’ll just add our proviso that if you’re actually so hugely into Carrie you have to go tour all the locations, this is a private house, eh).

2014 01 28pool3

Carrie goes to high school, of course, and they used two different locations to portray her school. The pool seen in the opening scene…

2014 01 28jarvisclass 1

…and this classroom, were shot at Jarvis Collegiate…

2014 01 28library2

…as is the library seen here…

2014 01 28librray

…and here.

2014 01 28school hall

But, a lot was also shot at Northern Secondary, easily recognizable thanks to its yellow walls, as in this hallway.

2014 01 28school gym

The gym, where the big prom bash will take place is seen here…

2014 01 28prom

…but was a built as a set, so they could, you know, blow it up, and spray blood, and all that kind of stuff.

2014 01 28northern field

The exteriors were also shot at Northern, including the football field…

2014 01 28northern

…and the front door…

2014 01 28northern ext prom

…also seen on prom night…

2014 01 28school mtpleasant southview

…and you can even see the kids having a grand time on Mount Pleasant Road.

2014 01 28newmarket mainstreet

When Carrie goes shopping for her prom dress, she ends up on Main Street, in Newmarket

2014 01 28newmarket shop int

…and ducks into this erstwhile running store.

2014 01 28dryclearner

Julianne Moore is working here at a dry cleaning shop, actually Your Butler, on Annette Street.

You can see the other side of the street out the window and it’s amusing to note that the shop with the striped awning served as a film location on its own, as Norm MacDonald’s office in Dirty Work.

2014 01 28finale aerial

Finally, as we all know, things go rather to pot in the final act, and the school burns—though this shot is CGI, not actually Mount Pleasant in flames.

Interestingly, there’s some behind-the-scenes footage here (starting at around 6:00), that shows them setting up a shot, clearly from the same sequence, involving a taxi and a pickup truck on Lennox, at Bathurst, but we never noticed it.

2014 01 28finale blowupstreet

Easier to spot, however, is the big revenge finale, where she confronts the two meanest baddies, out on this street.

2014 01 28finale gasststreet lakeshore islington

It’s actually Islington, at Lakeshore, and this gas station…

2014 01 28finale gas2

…is really the local Green + Ross.

For us it’s a career, but should you watch Carrie? You could certainly do worse, but if you’ve seen the original and can imagine it with cell phones and CGI special effects, you probably already get the idea. But we’re thankful all the same.

UPDATE: January 30, 2014, 9:10 AM The dry cleaner location we couldn’t originally establish has been identified as Annette Street. The article has been updated accordingly.

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