Christine (1983)

christine poster 1983 movie stephen king john carpenter
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Nice looking, good adaptation

Still don't find a car very threatening

Movie Info

Movie Name: Christine

Studio: Columbia

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): December 9, 1983

MPAA Rating: R

christine arnie dennis keith gordon john stockwell

Just to clarify…I’m a geek and he’s a jock…

Christine isn’t like other cars.  When Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) sees the 1958 Plymouth Fury, he tells his best friend Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell) that he has to have her at any cost.  Dennis finds Arnie clashing with his parents and changing before his eyes as he goes from “loser” to having a girlfriend in Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul).  Christine seems to change Arnie, and Dennis and Leigh don’t like it…but Christine doesn’t like them either.

Directed by John Carpenter, Christine is a horror thriller.  It adapts the 1983 Stephen King best-selling horror novel.  The movie had average to positive reviews, but it has gained a cult following over the year.

I read Christine a lot as a kid.  We had a copy of the book and reading it as a kid made you feel adult (it is a rather basic Stephen King book).  Despite reading Christine, I never found it very scary.  I enjoy watching Christine, but it is a lot of nostalgia, and it isn’t very shocking.

christine killer car plymouth fury

Well, I could have tried to enter a building…or maybe climb on top of something…maybe just some steps…oh well, let’s just run

Carpenter realized the difficulty of making Christine scary.  In a world before PG-13, the movie was threatened to be a PG film and Carpenter had a lot of f-bombs dropped into the script to prevent that from happening.  While a car or truck can be scary (in something like Duel), Christine doesn’t seem to be used right.  Half the time, the characters end up getting run-down because they are running down the center of a road…jump over a wall or something!  If the car is slowly approaching you in an alley and can crush you, climb onto the hood and climb over it.  The film lacks the urgency of the high-speed chase like it needs to be.

The cast isn’t bad.  The challenge is making the lead character a geek at the beginning of the film and reasonably cool at the end of the film, and Keith Gordon doesn’t seem geeky enough or cool or dangerous enough.  He is a decent actor even if he is generic much like John Stockwell as the lead.  Alexandra Paul is kind of bland, but it is always nice when Harry Dean Stanton shows up.  Robert Prosky plays his always kind of slimy character and Kelly Preston has a small role.  I do like William Ostrander as the bully Buddy Repperton (who seems more threatening than the John Travolta of Carrie).  For the plot and the film, the cast works though they aren’t very dynamic.

christine burning plymouth fury

Hell hath no fury…like a Fury

Christine does look great.  The visuals of the car repairing itself cannot be done better and the car’s nice bright look does feel threatening at points.  I love the sequence with the burning car going after Buddy and there is one nice, genuine jump when Christine reveals she’s been hiding in the garage all along.

Christine is a fun movie even if it isn’t the greatest movie.  It is dated, but the script intentionally sets it in the 1970s, so the dating of the film doesn’t seem as problematic as some of the other films that attempt to be timeless but end up looking old.  It is the type of entry-level horror movie that kids can watch and not get too horrified by…plus, it teaches the lesson “don’t run in the street” (which apparently none of the character’s never were taught).

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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