Films where cars go and kill people are strangely popular here at T8MC and Christine, which is based on a novel by Stephen King, is one of the best known films in this odd little sub-genre.
Set in the ’80s, it tells the story of Arnie Cunningham, a college student who is a little too nice for his own good and eventually ends up getting a knife pulled on him by Buddy Repperton, a particularly nasty bully. On his way home he and Dennis, his best friend, stumble upon Christine, a beaten up 1958 Dodge Plymouth.
Despite it being a piece of junk, Arnie is desperate to buy the car and eventually does, much to the annoyance of his family. As he spends more and more time restoring Christine, his friends and family begin to notice a change in his personality. He becomes arrogant and unpleasant and even lands himself the hottest girl in class, Leigh. He also starts dressing in a ’50s style. As the tagline says She’ll possess you. Then destroy you. She’s death on wheels.’
Dennis eventually gets hospitalised in a football match (the American sort) and the film focuses on Arnie’s relationship with Leigh. She begins to comment on his obsession with the car and it all comes to a head in a ridiculous scene where Christine magically makes Leigh almost choke to death.
Eventually, Buddy the bully and his gang decide to go and smash Christine up leaving Arnie distraught. However, Arnie encourages Christine to fix herself (uh?) which she does. Spooky. Then they go looking for revenge.
The film then settles into revenge pattern where Christine goes around killing folk and this is the film’s best period. Especially when Harry Dean Stanton turns up as a police detective asking awkward questions.
Eventually, Dennis and Leigh decide to trap Christine and destroy her using a bulldozer. Dennis scratches ‘To be honest you’re wondering why Leigh isn’t just going out with Dennis who is much better looking and not possessed by an evil car (which is a definite bonus). Anyway, all hell breaks loose when they realise that Christine is waiting for them though and their final battle with Christine and Arnie ensues.
I really liked watching Christine. It had been at least twenty years since the last time and I barely remembered any of it. The violence and harsh language (added to get the film an 18 certificate, oh how times have changed) are pretty strong, the characters are little more interesting than the usual student archetypes you get in these things and the action is expertly directed by the mighty John Carpenter.
Christine is definitely one of the best killer car movies and we’re planning on watching ALL OF THEM so stay tuned, poppets.