by Walter Chaw If you were to boil down Brian DePalma's work, at least his earlier work, into a few ideas, you'd land on the way he took Hitchcock's subterranean perversions and made them perversion perversions, transforming pieces and suggestions into themes and declarations. Looking at DePalma's Carrie today, what's there is a clear attempt--often successful--to elevate B-movie tropes to the status high art, or high pulp: What Godard did to gangster films, DePalma did to Hitchcock, turning the already formal into formalism. When DePalma was at his best, his movies evoked in daylight what Hitchcock inspired in shadow. Of its many technical innovations, his Carrie, an adaptation of Stephen King's not-very-good but vibe-y debut novel, was aided immeasurably by pitch-perfect casting: Sissy Spacek, P.J. Soles, John Travolta, Amy Irving, and Nancy Allen. Hip then, it's hip still--and sexy as hell, as befitting a story that's ultimately about a girl's sexual awakening and, let's face it, really bangin' first orgasm. On prom night, no less. What could be more American?