The Black Prom

The Black Prom

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"The Black Prom" is a slang term for the massive and horrific fire that occurred at Ewen High School in the small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine. It is an event in both the 1976 supernatural horror movie Carrie and the controversial 1974 horror novel by Stephen King. It was here Carrie White used her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her tormentors, but ended up igniting a conflagration within the gymnasium where the senior prom took place. Not everyone was caught and killed in the aftermath--depending on either version of the story, some students survived (in the films' or the novel's version).

One of those survivors was Sue Snell, Tommy Ross' girlfriend. She was the one who suggested taking Carrie to the prom in her place. She is the only character known to have survived all installments.

The prom is known to be the first incident in a nightmarish trail of destruction that unleashed itself throughout Chamberlain, turning this modern American community into a ghost town in most installments.

Ewen High School Prom (1974)

Unknown individuals poured one or the 2 buckets of what appeared to be blood onto the top of Carrie White's head while she and Tommy Ross were on stage for the prom king and queen crowning ceremony. After members of the student body (and some of the staff) began to laugh, Carrie ran from within the gym building, only to return moments later to witness the building erupt in flames. Many say that Carrie was responsible for the fire and the deaths that resulted.

Afterward, an enormous amount of collateral damage struck the city. Power lines were cut and went out of control, electrocuting many. The destruction met its head when both the school and a nearby gas station exploded, setting the town ablaze. Many fire hydrants were completely de-bolted from the ground, making it even more difficult to put out the fires.

Among many deaths, the few people to survive claimed that the image of a girl greatly resembling Carrie White was burned into their mind. These include those who never met Carrie.

Two of the survivors included Sue Snell, a popular student at the school, and Ms. Rita Desjardin, the school gym teacher. 4 notable deaths include Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan, who both died in a surreal car crash into a strip club, Margaret White, who died of a heart attack in her bathroom, and Carrie White, who died of unknown causes. Sue Snell faces blame from some of public who believe that she contributed to the disaster.

The event hits America hard, even more than the assassination of J.F.Kennedy. 440 people died and Chamberlain becomes more and more a ghost town due to the unwillingness of its inhabitants to rebuild it after what happened and whose only attraction have become the ruins that this event and the actions of Carrie White have inevitably caused. It also pushes scientists to take the theory of psychokinesis itself seriously.

Bates High School Prom (1976)

Black Prom

The Black Prom as seen in Carrie (1976).

During the crowning ceremony of Carrie White and Tommy Ross for prom king/queen, Ross's ex-girlfriend, Sue Snell, witnesses a rope attached to a bucket directly above Carrie's head and attempts to stop it from falling. Ms. Collins, the gym teacher, believes she is attempting to disrupt the ceremony, and throws her out of the prom. Moments later, a bucket of pigs' blood tied to the rope was dumped onto Carrie White's head. Tommy Ross, who was enraged, was then hit by the falling bucket and became unconscious, maybe even dead.

Many of the students were disgusted that someone would pull such a brutal prank, but many of them also laughed. This leads to Carrie hallucinating all of the prom-going students (in general) laughing at her misfortune, and she begins crying aloud on stage.

Carrie focuses on the onlookers once more, now in a state of complete catatonia. All of the doors then slam shut by themselves right after Sue, Billy and Chris, exited the building.

Later, a high pressure fire hose supposedly activates itself and begins spraying down several of the students and staff unlucky enough to be in its path. Norma Watson was even knocked unconscious (presumed killed) after the high-impact stream hit her face.

Staff members trying to calm the students down, Principal Morton is then electrocuted and killed. Miss Collins was chopped in half by a basketball score boar whilst the students are knocked out of view. Many others were burned in the inferno that followed this tragic chain of events.

About an hour after the fire, Billy Nolan and Chris Hargensen were killed when their car seemed to slide off of the road, flip over, and explode on its own. The White residence, where Carrie and her mother resided, was found buried into the ground. They are both dead.

73 people died from the incident. Sue Snell was the sole survivor of the prom and suffers from nightmares of Carrie as a result.

Ewen High School Prom (2002)

Black Prom Tragedy

The horrific Black Prom tragedy as seen in Carrie (2002).

A bucket of pigs' blood tied to a rope was poured on Carrie White while she and Tommy Ross were on stage for the prom king and queen crowning ceremony. Then Tommy was killed because Chris let the bucket fall which hit Tommy in the head.

After members of the student body (and some of the staff) began to laugh, Carrie went into a shock-induced trance as the student council president, Helen Shyres and Miss Desjarden attempted to help her off stage. As they try to do that, a mysterious wave pushes them back.

All of the gym doors are shut as chairs and tables begin to fly in the air. Eventually, a fire is started and a drain filled with water is cracked open mysteriously and poured onto the floor. Miss Desjardin helps several students escape. Upon noticing the falling stadium game sign, she orders the remaining students to get off of the ground. The people who did not died of electrocution.

According to Desjarden's story, she and Shyres noticed Carrie standing is a daze at all the events and witnesses her leave calmly as the school falls apart behind her.

Coincidentally, the entire town is stricken with disaster after the prom. As Carrie walks home, the town is set ablaze when a nearby gas station randomly explodes.

Miss Desjardin, Sue Snell and several other people remain the sole survivors of the incident. 241 people died in the incident and Carrie White's body was never found.

Ewen High School Prom (2013)

The Black Prom Tragedy

The Black Prom tragedy as seen in Carrie (2013).

Like the other adaptations, a bucket of pigs's blood was poured on Carrie White and Tommy Ross after they were voted prom king and queen, except they both were not crowned yet.

This time around, someone played a video of Carrie's shower incident on the 2 large projector screens beside the stage, causing a majority of the crowd to laugh and/or some feel puzzled.

When Miss Desjardin came forward to try to help Carrie, Carrie suddenly puts out her hand and simultaneously, Desjardin falls backwards. Then, Tommy is hit in the head by the falling bucket which saddens Carrie even more. She notices Billy Nolan´s sunglasses above the stage, supposedly realizing that Chris and Billy were behind the prank and that everything was intentional.

Several survivors state that they saw droplets of blood rising up in mid-air from her body just before Carrie started to scream, releasing an immense shockwave toward the crowd, causing nearly everything to be blown to the back of the gym.

The doors then shut, trapping people as they were crushed, hit, electrocuted, burnt and killed in the gym. Several attempted to escape using the bleachers, but the bleachers closed at an alarming speed, crushing their legs, possibly dismembering them while others fell from the height.

A miracle occurred when Miss Desjardin was lifted up from the wet and electrocuted floor and thrown aside onto the stage as Carrie herself levitated off the ground and floated outside.

2 students, Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan, during their failed attempt to leave town, were found dead and their bodies horribly disfigured in a burning car not far from the disaster.

Carrie White and her mother disappeared when their house sank to the ground. Most of the promgoers perished and Margaret and Carrie White are presumed dead.

Known Casualities


  • Rhonda Simard
  • Josie Vreck
  • Tommy Ross
  • Dale Norbet
  • Billy Nolan
  • Chris Hargensen

1976 Film

  • Norma Watson
  • Freddy DeLois
  • Helen Shyres
  • Kenny Garson
  • Rhonda Wilson
  • Cora Wilson
  • Ruth Gogan
  • Tommy Ross
  • Miss Collins
  • Katie O'Shea
  • Trudy Borne
  • Patricia Pollack
  • Mary Lila Grace
  • Dale Norbert
  • Alice Litten
  • George Dawson
  • Frieda Jason
  • Mr. Morton
  • Mr. Fromm
  • The Beak
  • Ernest Peterson
  • Julia McDermitt
  • Tim Winxless
  • Elenor Richmond
  • Pete Tabor
  • Chris Hargensen
  • Billy Nolan

2002 Film

  • Tina Blake
  • Tommy Ross
  • Kenny Garson (assumed)
  • Helen Shyres
  • Roy Evarts
  • Principal Morton
  • Donna and Mary Lila Grace Thibodeau
  • Rachel Spies
  • Lou Garson
  • Jessica Upshaw
  • Rhonda Simard
  • Fern

2013 Film

  • Tommy Ross
  • Tina Blake
  • Nicki & Lizzy Watson
  • Jackie Talbot
  • Heather Shyres
  • Kenny Garson
  • Freddy Holt
  • Mr Ulmann

Unkown Fates (Novel)

  • Helen Shyres
  • Donna and Mary/Fern Lila Grace
  • Myra Crewes
  • Fern
  • Sally McManus
  • Jeanne Gault
  • Maureen Cowan
  • Frieda Jason
  • Cindi
  • Fern
  • Jessica MacLean
  • Rachel Spies
  • Jessica Upshaw
  • Stella Horan
  • Sandra Stenchfield
  • Don Farnham
  • Lennie Brock
  • Frank Grier
  • George Dawson
  • Peter
  • David Brackin
  • John Swithen
  • Billy Bosan
  • Mr Lublin
  • Mr Stephens
  • Mrs Lublin
  • Miss Geer