Retro Review: Christine (1983)

It looks like this week’s podcast will feature Stephen King.  There are so many works done by Stephen King books and novella’s made into motion pictures, I wanted to tackle one I hadn’t see in many years.  Christine has always had a place in my heart, I have always claimed to have seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 first, but there were a couple of Stephen King movies I had seen really early, I guess Freddy’s Revenge was the first I remember.  Christine and Children of the Corn, I remembered fragments of each movie and Christine was always one of the movies I wanted to revisit with a fresh vision.  I finally had the chance after, possibly 25 years.

Becoming a bigger part of the horror community, I think of different horror team-ups I’d like to see. Recently I was talking about a great creator team-up I’d like to see happen.  I mentioned John Carpenter and Stephen King, I would love to see them work on a project together.  Little did I know, Christine, was of course written by Stephen King and the film is directed by John Carpenter.  While, Carpenter calls Christine a “paid” job, it has equal parts King/Carpenter mixed in.  It has the signature Carpenter feel and sound, wrapped in a King story.

Christine is about a nerdy guy named Arnie who is treated badly by his parents and people at school.  His best friend, Dennis is on the football team and he has a sweet car.  One day they see a beat up old car in some nasty looking place and Arnie bought the car known as “Christine” from a crazy person selling it for his dead brother.  Arnie isn’t aloud to keep the car at his home, so he takes it to a junk yard and keeps it and works on it there.  He has this bond with Christine and everyone is disturbed by this bond.

A fun part that is set up in the beginning, Christine talks through songs on the radio.  Someone would be knocking on the window and a song would come on, “Keep on knocking but you can’t come in.”  Everything someone gets in the car the Christine doesn’t want or when Arnie leaves Leigh int he car, a song would come on and you knew something bad was coming.

Eventually the school bullies find out about the car and destroy Christine, but when Arnie finds out, Christine resurrects herself.  The next night Christine takes her revenge on the bullies and there is a great scene, along with the terrific pacing of the score during the moment, Christine is completely covered in flame and chasing the main bully down the road.  The scene feels like a scene from Halloween, Michael Myers chasing Laurie Strode at the end of Halloween, the stalking before the kill is excellent, that is total Carpenter.

Everyone around Arnie sees he is changing, his friends and family are worried.  Dennis and his girlfriend, Leigh plan a show down between themselves and Christine.  I think they were under the impression Christine would come, even if Arnie would not. During the final showdown, Christine is destroyed and Arnie dies, spoiler, sorry.

I am not really sure what people think of Christine in the horror community.  It fits in nicely with if you’re going to have a Stephen King movie marathon, I would suggest Carrie, Christine and Pet Semetery marathon.  But you could add it to a night of John Carpenter, The Fog, The Thing and Christine.  It may not be a straight up horror, but there is tragedy with Arnie, he falls in love with the car and dies for the car.  Poor guy had a bright future.  But, I think Christine works well as a slow burn, it is not scary, just a good thriller, but it is a horror movie.

I would actually like to see Christine remade, but keeping it taking place in late 1978.  I would like see what they could do with this one.  Because, I would add this to the list of movies that would never need a remake.  It is set in 1978 and filmed in 1983 and looks old, it for sure has the feeling of being set in the late 1970s.  I really enjoyed Christine.  Find a copy and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Remember a couple of things.  The book came out in April of 1983 and the film in December 1983.  This seems like one of the fastest turnarounds from book to screen.  The opening scene with Christine on the assembly line is not in the book.  The book jumps four years into the future with Dennis looking back on the events, I wish that would have remained.  Although, there is some fun with the ending of the film, seeing Christine crushed and the music playing.

IMDB.com has a rating 6.6

I give Christine a solid 7.0

About Ray Marek III 230 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.