Altman was deeply impressed by her performance, having stated: "She's remarkable, one of the top actresses I've ever worked with.Her resources are like a deep well." Brian de Palma added: "[Spacek is] a phantom.Once you experience something like that, you’ve experienced the ultimate tragedy.
She has this mysterious way of slipping into a part, letting it take over her.
She's got a wider range than any young actress I know." Spacek also helped finance then-brother-in-law David Lynch's directorial debut, Eraserhead (1977) and is thanked in the credits of the film.
Spacek had previously been the set dresser for De Palma's film Phantom of the Paradise (1974).
After Carrie, Spacek played the small role of housekeeper Linda Murray in Alan Rudolph's ensemble piece Welcome to LA (1976) and cemented her reputation in independent cinema with her performance as Pinky Rose in Robert Altman's classic 3 Women (1977).
She appeared in a non-credited role in his film Trash (1970).