“It’s that car — I swear, it’s the car.”
A football star (John Stockwell) is concerned when his bullied friend Arnie (Keith Gordon) purchases and restores a run-down 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine from a local coot (Roberts Blossom), begins dating a beautiful new girl (Alexandra Paul) at school, and shows increasingly car-obsessed behavior. But a detective (Harry Dean Stanton) sent to investigate wonders: is it Arnie or Christine that’s causing so much mayhem and murder around town?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Character Arc
- Harry Dean Stanton Films
- Horror Films
- John Carpenter Films
- Stephen King Adaptations
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that Stephen King’s “undistinguished” novel “about a killer automobile — a subject that’s been done to death on television and in film — is given a visually impressive but extremely impersonal treatment by John Carpenter.” He argues that this “unpleasant film has few surprises” (I disagree) and that it “lacks an important transition scene in which the shy Gordon becomes a ladies’ man capable of approaching someone like Paul” (agreed). Peary adds that “also missing are scenes in which Gordon at least tries to ward off Christine’s control — Gordon becomes thoroughly obnoxious so quickly that we don’t really care what happens to him” (though I’m not sure this is so important, given that Christine-the-car is clearly possessed by a malevolent spirit that has infected Gordon as well). Ultimately, Peary posits that “Carpenter paid so much attention to the special effects relating to Christine” (which are nicely handled) “that he forgot about character development”, which I would concede is the case. However, it’s undeniably freaky watching Christine take her revenge on those she feels have wronged her — and the film is well-made enough to recommend to those enjoy this type of fare.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Several exciting chase and hunt sequences
- Fine special effects
No, though it’s worth a look by fans of the genre.