There are some movies that just stay with you through life. For me, Christine is most definitely one of those movies. John Carpenter’s adaption of the Stephen King novel is a bonafide classic from the moment the credits role. It has everything; a great story, a killer car (literally), memorable characters, classic dialogue, an abundance of violence, bloodshed and, of course, some cute girls (Kelly Preston and Alexandra Paul) thrown in for good measure.
The movie is a well told story about Dennis Guilder (a football jock and a ladies man) and his best mate, Arnold ‘Arnie’ Cunningham. While on their way home from their first day back at school, Arnie sees a car for sale; a 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine. The car belonged to the brother of this crazy old guy named George LeBay (played by Roberts Blossom) who tells Arnie it’s $300, but $250 for him. Without hesitation and against Dennis’ better judgement that he could get a decent car for that kind of money (I don’t know what world he lived in but who am I to argue with Dennis), Arnie buys the car and the crazy old guy calls Dennis a “shitter” for trying to talk him out of selling it to Arnie on the grounds that Arnie’s just a stupid kid. Poor Arnie! Things get worse as Arnie’s parents don’t approve of his new purchase and therefore he takes the car to an auto wreckers called Darnell’s so he can work on it away from the evil watchful eyes of his unfair parents.
While Christine looks like a heap of junk to begin with, after some hard work scrounging through Darnell’s junk pile and grabbing a hub cap, the car cleans up well and is absolutely stunning. It’s sure to please any car enthusiast. It is possibly one of the greatest cars to have ever become a screen icon and I’m sure nobody sees a 1958 Plymouth Fury these days and doesn’t make the connection between the car and this film, unless of course they haven’t seen it and that indeed is a travesty in itself. If you’re one of these people, do yourself a favour because it’s brilliant and you’re currently failing at life. Hell, if Arnie knew about this, he’d call you a “shitter” and Christine would probably curse you and play some Little Richard.
Not to give the game away too much but one night, Christine gets trashed by the school bullys and Arnie goes crazy bonkers and becomes possessed by his car. Any person that comes between Arnie and his car not only gets called a “shitter” but they start finding themselves dead, or at least injured. Actually, there’s a lot that one can learn from the dialogue of Christine. For example, this movie was the first time I ever heard the term “Cuntface” used and the delivery by Cunningham’s highschool bully, Buddy Repperton, is nothing short of brilliant. In true American cinema style, no one actually looks young enough to still be in highschool, but it doesn’t matter cos Moochie gets cut in half and they had to wipe up his legs with a little shovel, as investigator Rudolph Junkins (played by Harry Dean Stanton) explains to Arnie outside school. Oops, spoiler alert! I’ll stop there. So how do they stop him? How does Arnie go from being a nerd with a penset in his left pocket to being the guy with the coolest car and the hottest babe in school? How do they stop him? How do they stop Christine? All valid questions and you should watch it yourself to find your answers.
I had this movie on VHS for years and then eventually got it on DVD and then jumped at the chance to own it on Blu Ray. They have a done a good job on the transfer and the sound is amazing. Backed by a great soundtrack of classic 50s rock n roll, Christine sounds pristine. This is a fantastic transfer and seeing it in such definition is a blessing. Sure, some films rely on the grittiness of VHS to give it that real feel of the movie but Christine has benefitted from this, mostly in the sound department cos really, it’s just that good. Well played to those involved.
The Blu Ray extras are similar to the DVD release and include audio commentary, 20 deleted scenes and three featurettes. Still a healthy addition to one of my all time favourite cult movies, the only difference being that they’re in HD which is never been a bad thing.
Again, if you haven’t seen Christine, well you are doing yourself a great disservice. Easily one of the best Stephen King books put to film and John Carpenter is no doubt pleased with the results of this classic piece of cinema in all it’s Blu Ray HD glory.
Maybe I am biased because I love the car and this movie is part of my growing up but regardless, I give Christine ten lunches in brown paper bags destroyed by Buddy Repperton in the workshop out of ten. There is no reason to fault this film as it encompasses everything that is great about 80s horror.
You can buy Christine on Blu Ray through JB Hifi (Australia) or through Amazon (rest of the world). It’s cheap. Buy it!