Release Date: Dec. 9, 1983
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Bill Phillips
Premise: A magic car messes with some people.
Pick My Brain
It was only recently that I learned John Carpenter directed the adaptation of Stephen King's Christine, and the fact surprised me. I've never read a Stephen King book, but I knew the premise of Christine was a car that kills people. It just sounded like an unspectacular episode of Tales From The Crypt, and I was curious why a director known for such distinctive work would take such a generic story. Now that I've watched the movie, Carpenter was a really logical choice for this story. I didn't think about how a movie centered around a car would need considerable stunt work and special effects, the kind the guy who had just made Escape From New York and The Thing could easily handle. Also, the story has a lot of personality to it. '50s nostalgia is a huge component of the movie, including multiple memorable scenes involving Christine's radio. I imagine that could be appealing to a director who also composes like Carpenter. Christine's owner, Arnie, also undergoes a drastic character change, allowing actor Keith Gordon to ham it up hard at two ends of the character spectrum. This reminded me of the sort of heightened reality in Carpenter's Escape series or They Live. So in the end, I liked this movie. It's better than I expected. Keeping in mind I haven't read any of his actual books, I feel like this still isn't the absolute best Stephen King story though. Carrie, The Shining, It, Pet Sematary, and Misery are all more appealing to me. I also don't like cars and don't have any '50s nostalgia though, so that might be playing a role in my assessment.
Sometimes They Come Back... Again
John Carpenter is the director of numerous notable horror films: Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Prince Of Darkness, They Live, In The Mouth Of Madness, the remake of Village Of The Damned.
The Book Was Better
As I've mentioned, I haven't actually read the book. However, what I gather from this blog post and this wiki page is that the biggest difference between the two versions of the story is that the film takes a hard stance on Christine being evil before it ever left the factory, while the book leaves it unclear whether Christine or its original owner, Roland LeBay, influenced a change in the other.
The book also contains more details about what each character is struggling with in their life.
It Came From The IMDb Trivia Section!
- Since the movie predated the creation of the PG-13 rating, multiple uses of the word "fuck" were inserted into the dialogue to avoid a PG rating.
- Kevin Bacon turned down this movie to do Footloose.
- 28 cars were used to play Christine and the various damage it goes through in the movie. They constituted 15% of the movie's budget, and only 2 hadn't been destroyed by the end of filming.
- The movie was shot in the same neighborhood as Halloween.