Christine (1983)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Ranked #1,516
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In 1957, in Detroit, a red Plymouth Fury is built and is the cause of two accidents, one of them fatal, still in the assembly line. Twenty-one years later, the outcast and bullied nerd Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham is getting a ride with his best and only friend Dennis Guilder and he sees the wrecked car for sale in a garden. Arnie immediately falls in love with the car. The car was given the name Christine by its first owner. He brings the car to a repair shop of the despicable Will Darnell and works hard to restore the classic car. While he works in the restoration, he changes his personality to a cocky teenager and he dates the most beautiful girl in the high-school, Leigh Cabot. Soon Arnie becomes selfish and jealous of the supernatural Christine that kills everyone that is a threat to them. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 06, 2007
Back in 1983, there were few authors more popular and more successful and more profitable than Stephen King. He had just come off a string of box office successes: "Carrie", "The Shining", "Creepshow". He was hot. And, there were fewer horror directors more revered or more consistent than John Carpenter. "Halloween" and "The Fog" and "The Thing" were already considered classics by many and he needed something with which to follow them up. A Stephen King adaptation seemed like the perfect choice for a guaranteed success. And, the film was successful. It more than doubled its budget -- a big deal for a horror film in 1983. And, while many people still consider "Christine" to be one of Carpenter's weaker films, we must appreciate it for what it is.

Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is the epitome of a high school nerd. He doesn't have a girlfriend. He doesn't have a car. Lucky for him, his one friend in the world is Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell), one of the most popular guys in school. They've been friends since they were young, and now their friendship seems based more on necessity and the desire to keep things going than anything else. They really have very little affection and true feelings of friendship for one another, other than what's on the surface. One day, Arnie sees a car for sale on the side of the road -- a bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury. Arnie insists they stop to check it out. The man that is selling the car, George LeBay (Roberts Blossom) tells them the story behind the car. Something is drawing Arnie to it. He doesn't know what. He eventually buys the car and names it Christine. And that's when things go haywire. Friends and family start noticing sudden and severe changes in Arnie's personality. And, as local people start disappearing, they all start to realize that 'Christine' is far more than a car...it's more like pure evil on four wheels. The car serves as a sort of a parasite, sucking the life from Arnie and growing stronger.

This was always one of Stephen King's most unusual and most intriguing stories. The whole idea of the car taking control over the owner was something we hadn't seen before on the screen. He would later attempt this same kind of thing with "From A Buick 8", which is being turned into a motion picture by George A. Romero. What John Carpenter did with this adaptation is actually pretty faithful to the King story. He didn't stray too much, though the screenplay by Bill Phillips does take substantial liberties with the text. Carpenter manages to turn this car into a rolling nightmare, with the way he films the car moving along at a snail's pace. That's what makes Christine so terrifying is how methodical the car stalks and then attacks. Carpenter also did a fine job of casting, with Keith Gordon doing a fantastic job of showing his own descent into evil. We see this character go through numerous changes throughout the film, and it ends on the opposite side from where it began. Carpenter trademark music is also in full affect here. Carpenter is a brilliant composer, and "Christine" is no exception there.

I would agree -- this is not Carpenter's best film. Nor was it King's best novel. However, the blending of these two horror geniuses together produced an outstanding horror film nevertheless. There were only a handful of films I watched over and over again as a child and "Christine" and "Cujo" were two of them. Whereas "Cujo" dealt with an evil assaulting someone in a car, "Christine" dealt with evil inside a car assaulting people on the outside. Amazing how King can manage to do things like that. You can currently find "Christine" on DVD, but the release is nothing special. We don't really get anything. I am hoping for a John Carpenter box set one day soon that actually does justice to his work, as a whole. And I would be very upset if "Christine" was not included in that. How do you follow up "Halloween", "The Fog" and "The Thing"? "Christine" is how you follow it up if you're John Carpenter. Very good horror flick, all the way around. 8/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added 10/24/2007, 03:37 PM
Much better than I remember it being, so if I've trashed this elsewhere... whoops. 8/10.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 10/24/2007, 03:43 PM
I saw this before I'd ever read any Stephen King books. It's probably what got me into King's work, to be perfectly honest. But yeah, fantastic movie. 7/10
effin #3: effin - added 11/26/2007, 11:21 PM
I kinda liked it. In very few words, I don't really like horror flicks, no one has the subdlety that can really messes my mind up like politics, but yeah, i kinda liked it. 7.5/10
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