We all have our guilty pleasures, right? Well, I think I have found one in Christine.
Christine is a 1983 supernatural horror film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, which was published earlier that year. The film was directed by John Carpenter and stars Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul and about one minute of the late, great Kelly Preston.
The film focuses on Arnie Cunningham, who is the stereotypical awkward teenager that gets bullied by everyone in school. One day, when he’s driving home from school with his best friend Dennis, he spots a 1958 red Plymouth Fury in a garage. While he is not told any background of the car, Arnie buys it anyway, works on it and eventually becomes obsessed with. However, we find out that the car actually has a mind of its own and goes on in epic killing spree.
Now, this movie is as campy as it gets. We don’t have memorable characters here except for Christine, the car. Arnie (Gordon) does deliver a riveting scene when he’s talking to Dennis while driving Christine toward the end of the movie but that is all we really get in terms of depth from our characters.
As a car guy myself, I understand why this movie exists. There’s just something about a glistening, red car that is attractive. Whenever you see Christine in peak shape, you fall in love with her because she is a beautiful vehicle. When it comes to Arnie, however, his whole personality changes the more he’s around the car. He becomes stuck-up, agitated and neglects his best friend and his girlfriend.
The best parts of this film, obviously, center around Christine chasing down her victims. The windows are tinted fully so we are left to wonder whether or not Arnie is driving the car or if Christine is driving herself. My favorite scene comes in the from of the chase of Moochie Welch. You get this eerie echo of the song “Little Bitty Pretty One”, by Thurston Harris, as Moochie spots Christine underneath a freeway and it’s actually quite terrifying. In terms of scares, it’s the peak of the film.
There’s also marvelous stunt coordination after Christine plows through the gas station after attempting to kill off the rest of Arnie’s bullies. When the gas station blows up, we see Christine on fire but still moving at a high-rate of speed and it is as glorious as one would expect. It’s all practical. None of it was CGI and it’s all the better because of it.
Finally, you can’t talk about the film without all the classic rock-and-roll music playing from Christine. Each song was carefully chosen to feel like the car was speaking to whoever the music was playing for. There’s a lot of love songs for Arnie and then when you look at the lyrics for the some of the people she tries to kill, they all fit with how we would think she is feeling. It’s great stuff and easily gives the film its quality when the characters don’t.
Christine is a good film. It is, by no means, winning any awards and the characters are pretty forgettable. However, due to how fun all the scenes with Christine are, you are going to have an absolute blast with this film if you watch it with a couple of friends.
14 down, 17 to go.
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