21 April 2015

John Carpenter's CHRISTINE


Alternate Title:
John Carpenter's Christine

USA, 1983
Director: John Carpenter


When people talk about their favorite John Carpenter fims, they mostly
mention / talk about "The Thing", "Halloween", "In the Mouth of Madness" or "Big Trouble in Little China", but only in rare cases you stumble upon someone who really loves "Christine", a movie that isn't exactly forgotten or underrated, but... well, I think it never really got the love that it actually deserves.

Carpenter's adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name is definitely one of the director's coolest flicks and also one of the best car-themed horror films ever made AND one of the few King-adaptations that is better the book. "Christine" was actually the very first King-book I ever read. I remember liking it, but not so much as the film which is IMO so much better, thanks to some great major changes made by Carpenter and screenwriter Bill Phillips ("Fire with Fire").

"Christine" revolves around the friendship between the jocky Dennis and uber-nerd Arnie which is in danger of falling apart after Arnie bought and restored an old red Plymouth Fury, nicknamed Christine. Arnie is so completely in love with the car, he spends more and more time with it and slowly starts to change into a cocky and rude semi-greaser, not knowing that it's all the fault of Christine who seems to be alive, has a mind of its own and quickly starts to get jealous when Arnie starts to date the school's most beautiful girl...

In the book, the car is possessed by the ghost of a previous owner, a rather annoying character that always irritated me during reading. Gladly, there's no such ghost in the film. As the glorious opening scene in the car factory shows, "Christine" is more of a living creature than a simple car, born evil and ready to kill, almost invincible and able to restore itself. Ok, it's not that evil. It also wants to be loved by the right owner, shows him its love by 'talking to him' via playing old rock tunes from the 50s and it kills all of its owners' enemies.
Oh Christine, you sweet bitch!

Compared to all of Carpenter's other 80s horror flicks, "Christine" is the calmest and most subtle one, which is probably one of the main reasons why people often forgot about it. There's hardly any deaths and kills, hardly any gore and violence. Hell, it's not even a typical horror film. Yes, the movie's main attraction is a killer car, and yes, there are a few people get murdered, but that's not what this movie is about. It's more of a character piece about love and hate, popularity and outsiderdom, envy and jealousy, justice and revenge, friendship and loneliness.

The movie's atmosphere is captivating and mesmerising, thanks to the competent direction, the stunningly beautiful cinematography by Donald M. Morgan ("Starman"), some of the best-looking lens flares in cinematic history (Screw you, JJ Abrams, that's how it should be done!), and a subtle but eerie and immensely effective synth score by Carpenter himself. There's also lots of fabulous rock tunes, like George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone", Little Richard's "Keep A-Knockin'", Larry Williams' "Bony Moronie" or the Rolling Stones'
"Beast of Burden".

Acting-wise, everyone does great work, especially Keith Gordon who delivers a remarkable Jekyll-and-Hyde-like performance, John Stockwell as worried and slightly rattled jock, a wonderfully lovely Alexandra Paul, a wonderfully grumpy Robert Prosky, a solid-as-always Harry Dean Stanton and a bafflingly creepy performance by Roberts Blossom (best known as the old man in "Home Alone").

Highlights: the incredible special effects work when Christine restores herself (who needs CGI anyway?), the supersexy scene where Christine 'shows her body' to Arnie ("Show me!"), the gas station explosion, burning Christine hunting down one of the bullies, Christine slicing one of the bullies in half in a forklift bay, the football match knock-out, the super-bright choking scene and the fantastic bulldozer vs. Christine finale.

She'll possess you. Then destroy you. She's death on wheels.
She's "Christine", one of the coolest women... erm, cars in horror history! :)

Wiki ~ Imdb

Oh btw: as you can clearly see below, "Christine" obviously influenced filmmaker & music video director Jonathan Glazer on his video
for Radiohead's "Karma Police"...

 ...and, hey, why not conclude this post with pics of John Carpenter and producer Richard Kobritz cutting a "Christine" cake? :-)


  1. I adore this movie! Keith Gordon's "transformation" is just so freaking good, and the "Show me." scene will forever be one of my favourite movie scenes, ever. Great review!

    1. Thanks :)
      Yes! The "Show me" scene is definitely one of the sexiest scenes in movie history. Carpenter is such a genius!

  2. YES!! Great review of another of my favourite book/film adaptations. :)

    Love the cake pics, too.

  3. Nice review. I love this film. A perfect B-Movie. The scene at the end, when Christine is being destroyed, and Johnny Ace is playing, is just tragic; somehow I always feel bad for the killer car!

    BTW, I think the Karma Police video was inspired by a scene in Blood Simple. At least, that's what I always assumed.

    1. Well, I don't feel bad for Christine, but... well, of all the car-themed horror films ever made, this is definitely the most emotional one, and of all the killer cars ever created, Christine is probably the most human one.

      I admit, I haven't seen Blood Simple yet, even though I'm a Coen-fan and saw most of their films so far.

  4. "That's the last time you run that mechanical asshole in here without an exhaust hose." "You do it once more and I'll throw you out on your fucking ass." "I know you ain't exactly got money falling out of your asshole, if you did you wouldn't be here." "Don't think you've got the gold key to the crapper."
    Darnell Rules.


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