Christine (1983) Poster

(1983)

User Reviews

Review this title
268 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
music
sttrhm29 July 2008
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, but the 50s music was interesting in that most of it came from artists who suffered untimely, tragic deaths....Buddy Holly and Richie Valens of course were killed in a plane crash at the height of their careers...Johnny Ace ("Pledging My Love") died playing Russian Roulette with a pistol....Larry Williams ("Bony Maronie") was killed in 1980 by a gunshot wound to the head; he had been involved with drug dealing for years and it was thought to be a gang execution....I think Dion was still alive at the time this movie was made("I Wonder Why"); I'm not sure about the rest of the Belmonts....
38 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Keith Gordan and John Stockwell shine in this classic horror movie
Smells_Like_Cheese14 November 2003
Ah, do I remember the day that I saw Christine, which is disturbing since I was only 6 years old, but my sister said "Do you wanna watch Christine?" and I was confused, my name is Kristine, but she told me about this little horror movie and thanks to her I couldn't go near our family car for a few months. This is a movie that has always stayed with me and still scares the heck out of me when I watch it in the dark. Who knew that even before taking a driver's ed class that cars could scare me? But this isn't just any ordinary car, this is a killer car! This is a car with ghosts in it and you wouldn't like them if you make them angry or try to take their owner away. Christine is the car that you definitely don't wanna mess with, otherwise you may have to face those bright lights and loud rock and roll music, what happens next, you may not wanna know.

Arnie Cunningham, a typical high school nerd with only one friend, a childhood companion named Dennis Guilder, a popular jock. Arnie's life begins to change when he discovers Christine, a red 1958 Plymouth Fury in serious need of repair. Arnie begins to restore Christine to her original beauty, but as he spends more and more of his time repairing her, those in his life notice that he is changing as well. Formerly shy, Arnie develops a cocky arrogance. Dennis, as well as Arnie's new girlfriend Leigh, discover that the car has a deadly past. The previous owner, Roland LeBay, became consumed with Christine and he paid for it with his life. Leigh and Dennis try to save Arnie from a similar fate. They realize that the only way to save Arnie is by destroying Christine. Christine, however, isn't ready to give up Arnie without a fight.

Christine is a classic horror movie that for me will always deliver on the good scares. I still have a hard time watching it. I think the scariest scene for me will always be the last scene where Leigh and Dennis face off with Christine and you see that Arnie just completely gone. I'm honestly shocked that Keith Gordon didn't continue on with his acting career, he just blew me away as Arnie, reading the book I couldn't picture anybody else. He's absolutely incredible. John Stockwell also pulls in a good solid performance as well. This is one of the rare horror movies that is over all very enjoyable and if it doesn't scare you, I still think you will like it, it has a great story and a very good cast and crew. I highly recommend that you see this movie if you get the chance, it's a classic.

8/10
110 out of 127 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
One slick killing machine.
michaelRokeefe16 May 2000
John Carpenter adapts Stephen King's novel with skillful precision. A high school kid becomes obsessive in his feelings for a very strange car he has bought. The car is given the name Christine and repays her owner's adoration by "taking care of" his enemies.

It is fun watching Keith Gordon, owner of Christine, go from wimp to self proclaimed stud. Also in the cast are: John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Harry Dean Stanton and David Spielberg.

It is super cool watching Christine repair her damaged parts. This is an underrated movie that deserves a repeat viewing.
71 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Gotta love it
Roboby2 August 2003
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I had read the book and loved it, so therefor I was reluctant to see the movie. I didn't want to see the big screen dishonor the book in any way. But, as it happens, I loved it! A lot of people would say "This is a horror, it's supposed to be scary!!" And a lot of people are right in this regard, it wasn't very scary at all. At least to me. But...the way Arnie turns from such a geek to a cool, tough, bad-ass was pretty awesome. Also I liked the depth of all the characers relationships with one another. It definately stirred some serious emotions when Buddy and his goons tore up Christine. Most of all though, I think the car herself was what made the movie as good as it is. Just the style and freshness of the '58 Plymouth Fury kicked ass. If you're reading reviews (like this one) trying to decide if you even want to see it, I say go for it. What have you got to lose, after all? The hour and a half you would be spending trying to find a review for a movie you decide to see, you could have already watched Christine. That's my advice.
58 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One of the Best Teen Angst Love Stories of the 80s.
ChrisSimpson16 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
*Possible Spoilers*

I hope John Carpenter appreciates what he did with this film. I saw the film before I read the book, and I must say I liked the film better. Stephen Kings books usually have the same "why" behind the "what", and Christine was no different. However, John Carpenter took all of the "why" element found in the book out and made it a love story between a nerdy teen Arnie Cunningham(Keith Gordon) and a run down car named Christine, which I believe added some substance and improved the story in ways King never imagined.

Watching Arnie's transition from nerd to almost greaser is a tense and creepy process, with a huge nod going to Gordon. Carpenter makes the atmosphere with his directing, and the mood is always somber with one of my Favorite Carpenter Scores. While movies like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles were showing one side of the coin, Christine showed the other. What most look at as a "killer car" movie is really much deeper and in my opinion the subtext shows a side of the teen years that most would be more likely to remember. This is a under-rated movie that shows more about isolation and life in high school than anything that happened in Shermer, Illinois.

Check it out!
26 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
When Complusion Leads To Obsession
jamesbourke597 April 2005
Remember when you were young and movies where your only friend? Well such is a case in point when it comes to John Carpenter's "Christine" Now as a rule, and a longstanding one at that, I could never read a Stephen King novel but i could always find time to watch an adaptation of the same, if and when it either came to video as was the thing before the wonders of DVD or if it arrived at the local cinema.

My personal highlights from the Stephen King Oeuvre are "Silver Bullet" if only to see the likes of Gary Busey and Everitt McGill ham it up beyond the call of duty. Stanley Kubrick's version of "The Shining" complete with a knockout performance from the maestro of barnstorming himself Mr Jack Nicholson, as we already know there have been so many translations from page to screen of everything and anything the king of horror writing has penned some good, some not so good.

However, when it comes to "Christine" it was pitch perfect in every way, shape and form. Directed by John Carpenter, who has been hit and miss down through the years. A wonderful array of golden oldie classics playing throughout the movie itself, a truly wonderful script written by Bill Phillips, containing many a gem which still lingers in the mind even to this day.

Which leads me finally to the actors, casting down to a tee, and as i said ably assisted by a good script, well drawn characters, of course from the mind of Stephen King, but brought to vivid life by the likes of Robert Prosky who appears as the junkyard owner Will Darnell, a true standout in the whole movie. Why even Roberts Blossom, think all the way back to Bob Clarks's take on Ed Gein "Deranged" the man still lends a sense of deadly menace to his character, even though his role is primarily a cameo role but in fairness quite pivotal in terms of progressing the story.

However, those two being character parts, we need to see the story unfolds. We begin in prologue fashion, as we see upon fade in, superimposed, the year is 1957, We see a car assembly line, all the new cars are being overseen and given the once over by the foreman, from a distance we get our first glance of how beautiful and intoxicating "Christine" the car is to look at.

Of course that illusion is soon shattered when firstly a foreman shatters his hand, then one of the workers decides to take a little rest and relaxation in the front seat, all the while smoking his cigar, when ash from the cigar drops onto the plastic covering, so it begins, and the true nature of "Christine is revealed.

Flash forward to present day and we see Arnie Cunningham the nerdish lead character played with aplomb by Keith Gordon, who would later go on to direct the really excellent "The Chocolate War" as well as many more. However when it comes to acting, Keith Gordon would never better what he had done prior to this or even after.

We have all at one point, either been or have known someone like Arnie Cunningham, perennial book worm, not exactly a ladies man, but when he catches first glimpse of the wreck that will forever alter his very being, It is at that point we see that compulsion leads to obsession when Arnie falls under the spell of that 1958 Plymouth Fury.

Watch as Arnie emerges from his shell, argues with his parents, something that he would never have done or even finds his first and last girlfriend. All this achieved upon the influence and presence of what would appear to be a car, but for teenager Arnie, it represents his first steps towards independence, but underneath the surface of it all we already know the motive and inevitable end.

With wonderful turns by William Ostrader as chief bully Buddy Reperton and Malcolm Danare as Moochie, along with John Stockwell as Arnie's only friend Dennis and Alexandra Paul long before she donned the lifeguard bikini for Baywatch as Arnie's suffering girlfriend Lee.

Watch and be amazed, time has not taken it's toll on John Carpenter's finest hour.
56 out of 67 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A Movie Any True Car Lover Can Appreciate
VALGAL69au1 February 2005
There are no words that can truly describe the power and passion of Christine.

Anyone who owns an older car will be able to associate with the obsession that takes over nerdish Arnie's life when he restores Christine, the beautiful Plymouth Fury.

John Carpenter's excellent directing brings the car to life to such a point where as you're watching, you become so entranced that you forget she isn't alive.

The actors are well chosen for the roles they play, and give excellent performances. This, accompanied by excellent photography, special effects, timing and musical score make Christine a definite must-see movie.

Please Note: The Australian TV edit cuts out some of the best scenes, so this movie is best seen on DVD or video.
47 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
how could it be better?
benferriere8 January 2005
Let's face it. Christine is far from the best novels of King, especially this creepy dead former owner, sitting on the backseats, and teasing Arnie.

Carpenter chose not to put this character into the movie. What a great choice. Which other movie has shown a true love between a human and a machine ever since? I mean, a film with no ridiculous situations and tired old gags. None.

Big John created a weird teenage movie, with a great cast (Keith Gordon has never been better) and a hypercool soundtrack. One of a kind you won't easily forget!
80 out of 105 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Don't Mess With Christine!
ccthemovieman-120 December 2005
I'm not particularly a fan of horror movies and I couldn't fix an ailing automobile if my life depended on it so the workings of cars don't fascinate me.....but this movie fascinated me. The '58 Plymouth Fury, alias "Christine," is absolutely gorgeous. What a piece of machinery!

This is a horror story but there are no ghosts or monsters nor is there any gore. A car is the star of the film, a very jealous and vengeful one at that. Man, that sounds silly but, if you're reading this you have probably watched the movie so no sense going into details. It's hard to describe the story in a paragraph without it sounding stupid....but it's not. Maybe the quickest way to explain it is that it is about a car that is alive, like a human, and you mess with it, you pay!

It is definitely one creepy, well-made, unique and always-entertaining film.

The car is a lot better than any of the people, sad to say. No, I didn't like any of the kids in this film (high schoolers who all look 30 years old!) and the language is a little too rough in spots, but that can be filtered out.

The car, the '50s music, the unique story, the satisfying revenge angle all make this very watchable.
43 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Hell hath no fury like a Fury scorned...
Jonny_Numb14 April 2006
For my Smart Money, "Christine" is one of John Carpenter's most underrated efforts (up there with "Assault on Precinct 13"), and also one of his most effective. Even though its modest look and relative restraint in gore came as a result of "The Thing"'s box-office failure the previous year, and Carpenter has all but admitted his heart wasn't in the project, it ultimately turned out VERY well (if this is an effort from a sleepwalking Carpenter, he's better than most directors when they're awake). As someone who was knocked out by Rob Bottin's intricately gruesome FX work in "The Thing," but left cold by the shallow characters, "Christine" fills in the gaps of suspense and human story with ease. In retrospect, some of the absurd plot elements ("a haunted car," as Carpenter constantly reiterates) lends the film an odd humor that doesn't detract from things (and indeed, it was Stephen King's own infatuation with cars and rock music that inspired this story of obsession). Scenes are composed with great skill by Carpenter (making wonderful use of the widescreen image), and there are many striking images sprinkled throughout (the most incredible being the flaming Christine speeding after a villain). The excellent cast gives their all in making a potential B-movie premise glow with A-list polish: Keith Gordon's Arnie (the painfully square high-school senior who buys the titular vehicle), John Stockwell's Dennis (the resourceful jock and best friend), Alexandra Paul's Leigh (the earthy girlfriend who sparks Christine's jealousy), and Harry Dean Stanton's Junkins (the snooping P.I.) provide this tale with a lot of propulsive force. In a sense, "Christine" is a nice even ground between the zaniness of "Escape from New York" and the FX extremes of "The Thing," and exemplifies Carpenter's range as a director. A very underrated effort that is very much worth your time.
19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Christine, The Car-Killer
claudio_carvalho4 December 2014
In 1957, in Detroit, a red Plymouth Fury is build and causes two accidents, one of them fatal, still in the assembly line. Twenty-one years later, the outcast and bullied nerd Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is getting a ride with his best and only friend Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell) and he sees the wrecked car in a junkyard. Arnie immediately falls in love with the car and calls it Christine. He buys the car and brings it car to the repair shop of the despicable Will Darnell (Robert Prosky) and works hard to restore the classic car. While he works in the restoration, he changes his personality to a cocky teenager and he dates the most beautiful girl in the high-school, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul). Soon Arnie becomes selfish and jealous of the supernatural Christine that kills everyone that is a threat to them.

"Christine" is remarkable and unforgettable feature from John Carpenter and it is difficult to find out who that has not seen this movie at least once. The classic story of a supernatural car that fall in love with its owner is not dated and has outstanding special effects for a 1983 movie. This is practically the first successful feature of the gorgeous Alexandra Paul and Keith Gordon and John Stockwell have great performances. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Christine, O Carro Assassino" ("Christine, The Car Killer")
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
King + Carptenter = GOLD!
TheScottman3 May 2006
I loved Christine as a book, but that was in part to the movie, Since I grew up watching this movie. When I read the book I was surprise it was so different. But I didn't have a problem with that, it was a very good adaptation with one of John Carpenter's trade marks Great special effects. I know how they had christine put herself back together, but it's still amazing for the 80's, even by today standards(Because it would be all CGI and look terrible).

I am also surprise that not many horror fans (at least around this area) don't talk about this movie or like it. This is one of carpenter's best, it's up there with "The Thing", "halloween", or "Escape from New York". There arn't too many bad Carpenter movies.

Stephen King has a lot of good stories that are just messed up when they are made into films, but not Christine. King should just let Carpenter or George A. Romero, do all his movies from now on.

P.S. The world will be a sad place once John Carpenter leaves us.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Killer Car.
vamptrampzombie4 November 2000
This is a great adaption of a great book. The book, however, was more of a ghost story, while the movie keeps the focus on the killer car. I liked the movie alot. Buddy Reperton is one of the greatest jerks in horror movie history. He is a good bad guy, if he could be called that. And the evolution of Arnie from nerd to semi-greaser is fun to watch. Keith Gordon was also in the movie Back to School, and did a similar turn. The oldies soundtrack was good, if you're in to that sort of thing. A recomendation for any Stephen King, or John Carpenter fan.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
I liked it better than I thought I would
p-jonsson17 November 2014
I was not sure whether this movie was my type of movie or not. I have not read the book and, even though it is considered one of the classic horror movies, I have kind of put off watching it expecting not to like it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

As I wrote I have not read the book and thus I do not know how well the movie interprets the book. In my experience it is usually best, when it comes to movies based on books, not to have read the book though.

The story is probably well known by most fans of the genre. To me it was well implemented. Fairly predictable but still enjoyable to watch. Keith Gordon characterized Arnie Cunningham very well as far as I am concerned. His journey from quiet nerd to insane madman was quite well done and at the end he flipped between looking almost normal to madly possessed with an ease that was almost scary.

I did like the car as well. As a person that have always liked American cars I have to say that it is a beautiful car if nothing else. Also I actually found myself sympathizing with the car for a good chunk of the movie. Those assholes that terrorized Arnie truly deserved what they got. Then of course it got out of hand when the cars influence on Arnie took on more sinister proportions.

The ending was a bit disappointing though. It felt rushed and unintelligent. Up until then both Arnie and the car had shown evidence of some intelligence. That went out of the picture in the last couple of scenes with the car first behaving like a bull with its balls in a tight squeeze and then like it was drugged allowing a slow moving Caterpillar to just move up behind it and start to trash it. That was rather disappointing and it is a star less for that alone.

Otherwise I am not unhappy that I spent two hours of my life on this movie.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Never read the book, but watching this movie is making me want to read it...
justin-fencsak1 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I never read most of stephen king's horror novels except the one about the Boston Red Sox and their broken curse called Unfaithful which i found at a dollar store, and it was a great book. Most of his horror stories have been turned into classic movies, both good and bad. One of them is Christine, filmed after the book came out in 1983 and released during the Christmas holiday season only to be a cult classic when it was released on home video. This movie is pure car-nage, as Christine is a 1958 plymouth fury that is possessed by the devil. This movie is not for kids as it is a typical Carpenter movie with sex, gore, and car violence not to mention bad language. Oh, and the soundtrack is great!!! Worth buying if you're a fan of John Carpenter and Stephen King. This was the first movie to use Bad to the Bone for its soundtrack, and the bluray is amazing!!! 35 years later, Christine still shines.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Hey! Remove your grubby hands from my freshly waxed Christine man! Vrooom Vroooom
Ed-Shullivan17 April 2018
I like a creative storyline in which the viewer really is not sure what (to expect) will happen next but when the film rolls along we get to see a very interesting and unique film. The characters in this film starting with the dorky Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) who transforms into a super cool dude strangely just like his beat up old car Christine does.

So the new and cool dressed Arnie with his super cool car Christine drive around town with the prettiest girl in school Leigh Cabot, (Alexandra Paul) as his eye candy. As Arnie transforms from the geeky high school kid into Mr. Cool whose only friend seems to be a jock named Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell) Arnie loses touch with his own reality and is blind to the fact that his souped up Christine seems to be possessed with a mind all of its own.

My wife Ms. Shullivan is not a fan of horror/science fiction films but even she put her book down as the films content has a little bit of everything for everyone to draw the film goer into. Christine is not only a classic car, but John Carpenter has another classic film on his lofty resume.

I give this classic film an 8 out of 10 rating. Vroom Vroooom
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Superb phantasy for it's genre!
Roman1117 September 2002
Sure it's hokum and make believe but extremely well done. The plot is about a 1958 Plymouthbut that's not all by a long shot. Keith Gordon is marvelous in the role of Arnie Cunningham making the transition from a spectacled nerd to a,weird,handsome,possessed maniac. The friend played by John Stockwell,the girlfriend played the beautiful Alexandra Paul are very real and convincing in their protrayls. Not to be omitted are the three villians of the high school They are menacing. Robert Prosky's crude, rude and profane junk yard owner is a standout.

I find no fault in the film. Even though I didn't mention all the cast members they deserve kudos. I'ts fascinating and really holds. Great entertainment!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Honk if you like this girl Christine
Coventry17 August 2004
I re-watched John Carpenter's adaptation of Stephen King's novel again for the first time in over ten years and it's just as I remember it to be. Not much of a compelling horror film but merely a black comedy and a homage to the typical 50's teenage lifestyle. Carpenter and King seem to share a common interest for the dazzling 50's atmosphere and this perfectly translates itself in `Christine'. First and foremost, there's the beauty of the 1958 Plymouth Fury, a car that almost represents this decade entirely by itself. But also the music, hairstyles and dress codes make you feel like you've landed in the fifties, even though the movie is entirely set and timed in the early 80's. The nerdish teenager Arnie Cunningham falls head over heels in love with the wreck of a gorgeous car and decides to restore it. Pretty soon, Christine's influence (Christine is the name of the car) makes Arnie go through a complete metamorphosis. Positively, at first, as Arnie impresses girls and turns into an attractive rebel. But it doesn't take that long before he becomes totally obsessive over Christine and starts acting like a psychopath.

If you're not expecting an eerie and tense chiller from the creator of `Halloween' and `The Fog', you won't be disappointed. Christine is a totally different kind of horror and not nearly as intense as Carpenter's previous work. I mean, how scary is it to see a wrecked car rebuild itself?? The few exiting scenes featuring in this film are when Christine independently stalks some John Travolta look-alikes who trashed and violated her earlier in the film. Christine should be considered as a fun and well-made satire, with a brilliant golden-oldies soundtrack (watching this film feels like listening to a juke-box) and decent acting performances. Keith Gordon does well as Arnie and Alexandra Paul looks gorgeous as the high-school hottie. Veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton (Alien, The Green Mile) has a tiny role as a police detective. And finally, cinema buffs might recognize Kelly Preston in her meaningless role of cheerleader bimbo.
21 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Brilliant cinematic reduction of King's great novel
fertilecelluloid15 February 2006
I lost interest in John Carpenter many years ago because his films started looking and feeling like the work of someone who no longer cared. "Christine", on the other hand, is the work of a director at his peak. It is a brilliant cinematic reduction of the King novel's strongest elements. It is still a love story about a boy and his car, and it is still a study of teenage angst and high school cruelty, but it is also spare, stylish and uncluttered. Keith Gordon is totally believable as Arnie Cunningham (a name often mispronounced), a stuttering nerd who is given a supernatural injection of confidence by the mysterious Christine. His transformation into an assertive, confident teenager and then into an arrogant, foul-mouthed, narcissistic a-hole is a pure joy to behold. William Ostrander is simply amazing as Buddy Repperton, an over-sized machine shop jock who takes great delight in the torture and psychological abuse of Arnie. The final comeuppance of Repperton and his gang of mindless goons is deliciously satisfying. Also raising the performance bar is Robert Prosky as the indefatigable Will Darnell, a gruff, gross, cigar-chewing human troll whose garage ("for workin' stiffs!") Arnie uses to rebuild his precious automobile. Prosky's numerous dialog exchanges with the nerdish schoolboy -- "That's the last time you bring that mechanical a**hole in here," for example -- are hilarious. Arnie's disintegrating relationship with his parents is very well handled by Carpenter and writer Bill Phillips, as is his doomed romance with the stunning Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul). Carpenter's score is brilliant and Donald Morgan's cinematography (especially the night scenes) is dazzling. A masterpiece.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not Carpenter's best, but pretty good
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews28 June 2004
Let me make this clear right away: I haven't read the book, nor do I intend to. You won't find any comparisons between the book and the film in this review. This film combines two of the biggest names in horror from two different medias; Stephen King is pretty much legendary for his written horror work. John Carpenter is also a pretty well-known name, but as a horror director rather than writer. Having not read the book, I have no idea how true Carpenter stayed to the source material, but I can understand from various sources that he changed a lot, and the changes were very big, so fans of the book might not like the movie. Whenever I hear about a film being made that is based on a King novel my response is usually that of someone who lacks any interest in it whatsoever. When I hear that it's directed by John Carpenter, one of my favorite directors, particularly within the horror genre, I develop an interest. Carpenter does a great job of turning something as potentially lame and goofy as a possessed car into something that you really fear. I was at the edge of my seat for a lot of the scenes, and I jumped at several shocking moments. The story revolves around a nerd buying a car, and the car significantly changing his personality. He changes enormously throughout the film, and I must say, the actor does a great job of capturing the emotion of the character. The plot is great, it doesn't move along very fast, but rather deliberately slow, building up atmosphere, building to a climax that is every bit as exciting as the build-up promises. The acting is great, especially by Keith Gordon, who portrays the nerd-like Arnie, who buys the demonic car. The film has pretty much the same sense of humor that Carpenter's films usually have, albeit slightly less of it is present than in several of his others, less serious films. The special effects are very good, they are almost impossible to tell. Had I not known better, I could have sworn that they were real. They probably could be more well-made had they been done today, but I still think it's amazing how real they look. They don't look the least bit dated. All in all, a good Carpenter film that probably won't be to everyones liking. I recommend it to fans of Carpenter, and fans of atmospheric horror films in general. 7/10
16 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Love is more than chrome-laden deep.
lost-in-limbo27 July 2009
Probably not rated as one of John Carpenter's best (more so middle ground)… but I thought otherwise as it's definitely my second favorite (just after 1982 remake of "The Thing") of his long-listed horror output. Yep… I put it ahead of his influential 1978 slasher 'Halloween'.

Anyhow Carpenter did a seductively low-key and restraint job with this Steven King adaptation, by streamlining it with hypnotic visuals (like the flaming car) and getting able performances from his cast. Keith Gordon and John Stockwell make for a likable pairing, and watching Gordon's character's compelling transformation is convincingly staged from the once placid dweeb to an obsessively psychotic controller that goes on to hurt those who care for him. It's big change in attitude with a downfall spiral that sees him not going back. The basic plot might get on the silly side and move on too suddenly, but Carpenter keeps our affection towards the purring red and white 1958 Plymouth fury and its strangle hold over Arnie (a worthy Gordon). Total infatuation. In the end I liked how it just didn't focus on revenge with it weaving in elements of humane qualities involving teenage angst, rebellion and love. A well told story.

Carpenter confidently straight-up direction (which is far from stylish or slick) passionately lets the possessed car take over… with its own vivid personality and just listen to those swinging 50s rock 'n roll tunes. This car does feel like if it had a mind of its own! Atmosphere is little and while there's a real sinister nastiness lurking underneath it never really shows, to only take place in off-screen shocks. He tries building suspense (mainly those scenes involving Arnie getting revenge on some punk bullies), where it sometimes works and if it didn't it still had the mesmerizing imagery. Watching the car get torn apart in scenes, to only repair itself was eye-candy (if haunting) and it finishes on a bone rattler of a climax. The music score was another interesting touch, quite spaced-out but rippling in affect and Donald Morgan's cinematography held a crafty edge.

Rounding off the cast was a solid Stockwell, a reasonably modest Alexandra Paul and a perfectly gruff Robert Prosky. Buddy Repperton was right on the mark as the main goon picking on Arnie. In smaller roles were the reliable Harry Dean Stanton and an early appearance by Kelly Preston. Christine Belford shows up as Arnie's strict, but concerned mother. Also appearing is Roberts Blossom.

What can I say … Christine is number one in my eyes.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
If a boy's best friend is his mother, a boy's best lover might be his car...
ElMaruecan8219 October 2018
So they can say what they want about a brand new car being the finest smell in the world... after a woman (that's for the synecdoche), Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) make these two certitudes converge in a performance that both channels Norman Bates and foreshadows Private Pyle except that Arnie's 'Charlene' was a car, Christine was her name and Stephen King her creator. And if John Carpenter's adaptation has the body of an 80s teenage horror flick, its engine is a fascinating study on the strange attraction between a man and his car.

Indeed, seldom do movies approach fetishism with such a pervert sensitiveness. "Christine" is a nightmare on wheels yet we're drawn to HER power (no way I wouldn't treat her like a person). Gene Siskel nailed it the best when he said it's something we wish it could exist or happen, except not to us. And the reason we might wish it could happen is because Carpenter's directing and Gordon's acting make it feel real and oddly attractive. I felt the power of the autumn-red 1957 Plymouth Fury because I could "feel" Arnie. And that transferring process reminded me of another classic movie with a villainous vehicle: Steven Spielberg's debut "Duel".

Remember, the black truck was monstrous enough but you had a better taste of its vileness from the stressful state of Dennis Weaver. "Christine" works on the same level except that it both shows the terror of the victims (or targets) and the soul-abandonment of Arnie. Call me crazy but the encounter between Arnie and Christine's owner George LeBay (Roberts Blossom) features what I consider one of the most unforgettable love-at-first-sight moments ever and yes, it involves a guy... and a car. And the reason why the chemistry seems to work is that the two lovers (and life partners) had their establishing-moments.

Thinking about it again, Carpenter played it exactly like a romance where you first meet the two separately before the pivotal moment where Cupid throws the arrow. Arnie isn't even born when Christine comes in all shining red from its assembly line, she has not even been driven that she manages to slam the hood on an inspector and kill a cigar-smoking worker, whether it's from suffocation or sheer terror we'll never know. The clue might be in the choice of music though, the sound of "Bad to the Bone" has the same effect as "Born to Be Wild" in "Easy Rider", we get the point about Christine, she's like a 'mechanical' Jessica Rabbit who was 'assembled that way'.

Then we get to 1978 where we meet Arnie, the nerdy kid bullied at school, tormented by bossy parents and best friend with school's jock Dennis (John Stockwell). And the immersion in Arnie's not-so-quiet suburban life shows how high Carpenter is aiming in spite of the critical failure of his previous movie "The Thing", "Christine" doesn't try to be the spiritual successor of "Friday the 13th" but "Carrie" as it takes time to let Arnie grow on us, as a poor bird trapped in the cage of a pampered education, whose seeming insecurity hides a good sense of humor and the repartee of a young Woody Allen, if only self-pity hadn't trapped his persona and made him the target of brutal physical bullying.

Yes, there's some déjà vu with the scenes involving Buddy and his gang but it all sets up that crucial moment when Arnie meets Christine (sounds like some cute rom-com, does it?). The two wrecks are in the worst possible shape but in a sort of mutual and symbiotic back, they rebuild one another (and if that's not love, I don't know what it is). And like in real life, parents disapprove relationships but Arnie, improving already, confronts them and move his beloved new car in Darnell's garage. Darnell (Robert Prosky) doesn't get an instant liking on Arnie but appreciates his dedication to work and hires him for a few daily jobs. Interestingly, instead of showing Arnie's metamorphosis, Carpenter changes the flow of the narrative and starts focusing of his friend.

We see Dennis attempting (and failing) to get a date with the new girl in school, Leigh, played by Alexandra Paul who has the homely concealed sexiness of a then-Katie Holmes. The cuteness doesn't slow down the film as it all pay-offs in the football game, when we see from Dennis' perspective, Arnie who turned out to be a real greaser engaging into a deep passionate kiss. When Dennis sees them, he freezes and get injured then the film gets makes a splendid U-turn and takes the same road of regular slasher movies with less blood but no less thrills, and another winner score from Carpenter. Sure some killings get rather predictable but they're done with a sense of evil glamour as Christine gets more and more prevalent as a character, with her headlights of doom and the way she use Rock as subliminal messages, even when she's almost defeated, her "Rock and Roll is here to stay" sounds like her saying "I ain't dead yet, suckers!".

The film features many great oldies' songs that work like a second language to the iconic vehicle but for all its great special effects and suspenseful scenes, I've got to say that the performance of Gordon, turning slowly into a ghoulish loner is one of the best things about "Christine". He embodies the way isolation can push any weak soul to make a deal with the Devil, the film could have been called "Christine and Arnie" and be labeled as a romance to hell.

Watching again, it plunged me back to my memories 25 years ago when I first saw I and hid my head under the blanket during some scary scenes, and from that night, whenever someone told me he hated Rock and Roll, you know which movie moment instantly popped in my head.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Treat Your Cars Right!
MichaelMRamey4 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm surprised I like this and the reason it took me so long to watch was because of the outlandish concept. Christine was surprisingly good, with a good cast and likeable characters. I was worried about the killer car storyline, but it does become more about the people involved than anything, especially the change of Arnie from need to a James Deen-esq psychopath. That is a character arc you don't often see in films. A Stephen King classic!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Loved it
Bored_Dragon17 April 2018
Deeply romantic story by Stephen King about true love and how jealousy and possessiveness can become fatal. True love between man and his car in all its glory. Carpenter made right choice by leaving previous owner from the back seat out of this movie, cause "three's a crowd". To me, this movie is awesome. :D

9/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Be Afraid of Muscle Cars
chimera38 September 2017
To this day, I both love and fear muscle cars because of the way that they were built. I guess my love and fear for them started after I first read this book (I was about 9 or 10) and then watched the movie. Whenever I see someone selling a muscle car (and that is usually a rare occurrence), I smile and then just walk away. You may never know the history behind those cars. As I said, they are meant to be revered and to be feared because while they are truly beautiful to look at, they are also dangerous to be near because they don't have seat belts and you would definitely be in a world of hurt if you ever got into an accident. They are also made of solid steel, not like fiberglass with today's cars.

If a car like "Christine" were to be on the road today against our modern-day cars, it would be no contest. That is the beauty behind a good Stephen King story. You have to be very careful whom you encounter, whether it be an animate object (like a person or an animal) or an inanimate object (like a car or laundry machine). Without giving anything away, it is just that simple. When you have someone like King team up with John Carpenter for one of these stories, you have to really watch your step. Like with so many others, this one will definitely have you watch your back when you walk down the street and see a red muscle car that looks like Christine.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed