Christine, American movie (1983)

If you have never heard of the name Stephen King then you really should be pretty ashamed of yourself. Erm, no offense of course. Seriously though, he is awesome. One of the best known writers of our time, he has written so many classic horror novels that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. I do have one though, and my choice is not one of the obvious ones like for instance The Shining or The Stand. As much as I love those, for me it has so far always been the novel Christine that is my alltime number one King book. There is a very good reason behind my choice, but I will get to that later. However, as you might have noticed above, I’m not going to talk about the novel, but I will instead talk about the movie. Made by director John Carpenter (yes the same man who is behind Halloween), this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations and a film that I have seen more times than I can count. So what is it about this film that makes it such a compelling watch? Let’s hit the road and find out.

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Some people take losing weight to the extreme. 

Arnie Cunnigham is a highschool student who just isn’t one of the most popular guys around. In fact that is quite the understatement. Arnie is a bit of a nerd, a fact that is exploited by the school bully Buddy Repperton. There is one bright spot though and that his friendship with the football jock Dennis. His friend always stands up for him and protects Arnie whenever possible. After a particularly nasty confrontation with Buddy, Arnie is driven home by Dennis. But while driving along Arnie all of a sudden screams out at Dennis begging him to stop. Having no idea what’s going on, Dennis stops, and looks on in bewilderment when his friend rushes out of the car towards an old beat up vehicle that has a for sale sign on it. It becomes even crazier when Arnie tells him he’s going to buy it. The old wreck is a Plymouth Fury from 1957 that goes by the name Christine. Dennis just can’t believe what has gotten into Arnie, buying a car that looks like it won’t live past tomorrow. However after a few weeks Christine looks as if she just rolled off the assembly line. A fact that is almost impossible to believe. The scary thing is though, that the car seems to have a life of it’s own. Arnie’s personality also changes overnight, and when people start dying under suspicious circumstances, it soon becomes clear that Christine is no ordinary car….

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Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this car? 

Everyone who has ever been bullied at school must have once had thoughts of taking revenge on the people that mistreated them. I know I sure have. And that’s one of the things that I enjoyed about this story, and why it’s still my favorite King novel. Bullying has an impact on your life, it certainly did on mine, and it’s extremely satisfying to see the revenge Arnie (or more accurately Christine) takes on his nemesis Buddy Repperton and his lackeys. That’s not to say that this doesn’t take things to the extreme though. There is also an underlying tone of deep sadness to this film. Dennis asks his friend in the beginning what Arnie sees in that beat up old car. He answers by saying that he has finally found something that is more ugly than he is. That line gets me every time. It’s so powerful, and extremely sad. All this goes to show how people change after being bullied and start believing in things that aren’t there.

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One advice: don’t say this car is a piece of junk. Trust me on this.

But before this turns into a straight up sobfest, let us not forget that this movie is also a horror movie. And a very good one at that. One of the most fascinating things about this story is Arnie’s change in personality. While this is explored much better in the book, we still see it in the movie as well. In the beginning of the film he is a shy and nerdy young man, who is afraid to stand up for himself. But then, after buying Christine Arnie changes into a cocky, selfcentered and quite frankly obnoxious person, who even gets to date the most beautiful girl in the school. Of course with Christine’s influence becoming more and powerful, everything goes down hill faster and faster. It’s a scary journey to behold, but also one of the best things of the film.  The other being Christine of course. No matter what happens to her, getting smashed, burned, it all matters very little. Christine always comes back. Something that is brought to life in a wonderful way by the special effects.

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I’m going to be in Baywatch? Oh God….please tell me it isn’t so. 

Carpenter manages to create a tense atmosphere throughout the entire movie. The score for the film was made by him as well, and only adds to the experience. All the actors in the film, no matter how small their parts, played their roles to perfection. Strangely enough most of the cast never really made big progress in their careers after the release of this movie. A fun note is that Alexandra Paul, who would later appear in quite a few seasons of Baywatch, played Arnie’s girlfriend. She is almost unrecognisable here. So if it hasn’t already become clear, I love this film. For me it’s always been one of Carpenter’s best movies and even after all these years it’s lost none of it’s strength, nor is it in any way dated. Important to note is that the film is not gory at all, but more a very tense thriller. I highly recommend this movie and it can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone. So go and watch it, and don’t forget to put on your seatbelt. Always watch responsibly.

I give Christine a 9 out of 10 score.

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57 thoughts on “Christine, American movie (1983)”

    1. Totally true: I’m still amazed at how good the special effects still are for this film. They aren’t dated for even a single moment. And yeah, that car was definitely scary…but also in some way quite beautiful. But then again Carpenter os pretty mich a master in this genre. Really too bad that hasn’t made good films anymore lately 😢

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  1. I haven’t read the book for this one and I really should at some point. I love how much personality they manage to give the car in this film. It just works so well.

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    1. The book really is even better. Things are different, and the change in Arnie’s personality is even better played out then in the movie. But yeah…it’a almost as if the car is alive and an actor in the movie. Which of course in a strange way she is 😀

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  2. I saw this years ago on TV. It’s always shown in October as prelude to Holloween night. This is also very much like Carrie, isn’t it ? May these movies be a lesson to bullies all over the world. I’d been bullied, too, but fought back magnificently. I never feel any empathy for bullies who die in movies.

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    1. Yeah in a way it really is like Carrie. Especially the way in which it deals with bullies. I could not agree more: I hold no empathy whatsoever for them as well. Hmm, I wish I could have fought back to back in those days, but it unfortunately wasn’t always the case. Wish I would have had this car though: would have been a big help lol 😂😂

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      1. Thank you, I’m placing old drawings this week which may be encouragement for those who want to start their adventure with drawing or any other form of art, which showing how skills might be developed through the years.

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  3. I saw this around the time the first live action Transformers came out. And I’ve always wondered how they did that car regeneration scene near the end (I just searched the web today and found out how) and I thought Carpenter achieved a lot more than Michael Bay did with CGI’d robot-cars.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. Having rewatched this, I was seriously amazed at the way the special effects don’t look dated for even a single scene. It’s almost as if this movie was made in this year. I’m more a fan of practical special effects as well. Carpenter is just a ver accomplished director, much better than Bay. Thanks for your comment 😀

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    1. Haha, thank you. Yeah, crazy isn’t it. Even though I had seen the movie quite a number of times I found out years later that itnwas Alexandra Paul though. Go figure 😂😂
      It’a a great movie though, and one that has withstood the test of time very well 😀

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  4. A lot of people have experience with bullies so perhaps that is why King novels/books like Carrie/Christine resonated with folks.

    Wow, Alexandra Paul looks so different in that photo. A different hairstyle, and covering your skin, makes a lot of difference haha.

    This car sounds like the black Spider-Man suit – it turns the nerd into a cocky, obnoxious prick.

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    1. Yeah : I guess that might be true. As sad as that is if I’m being honest.
      Honestly I did not even know it was Alexandra Paul until years later. But after looking at her filmography on IMDB this was her second role ever. So I guess it explains a lot 😉
      Haha: yeah that is actually a pretty good comparison. Never thought of it that way. Maybe they should have given her a black paintjob 😉

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  5. “No matter what happens to her, getting smashed, burned, it all matters very little. Christine always comes back” Good point, and a good life lesson! I think this film tends to get overshadowed by other 80s Carpenter movies, which is a pity, because while Christine isn’t super scary, it does tell a captivating story.

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    1. Absolutely agree. I think it is a highly underrated gem in my opinion. The story itself is what makes the movie so good. Sure it moght not be superscary, but it’s tense and gripping enough. Thanks for the great comment 😀

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  6. I like how Stephen King chooses such timid and seemingly ‘weak’ people in his novels which in turn, make for a great impact when they come out of their comfort zone be it for better or worse. I have the novel and it is a brilliant read, much like the adaptation Carpenter managed to produce on screen. Equally a very enjoyable review to have read here Michel. People better watch out what they say about Christine..she’s real sensitive.

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    1. Thank you again for providing such a wonderful comment. I’m sorry that I haven’t yet replied to your email. I haven’t forgotten about you, but currently my own situation has been going downhill 😢 My blog is the one thing that is currently keeping me a bit in the uplift so to speak. But I promise to give you a response hopefully this weekend. As for Christine: yeah the book is terrific. The characters that King manages to create are awesome, which is a pretty big part of why he is such a terrific writer. The movie was done well too, and still one of my favorite Carpenter films. But yeah…..she is waaaayyyyy to sensitive lol😂😂

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      1. You’re quite welcome. I am very rarely on to post or comment as of late due to my health but it is always a pleasure to read your articles and try to participate in something that intrigues me. As mentioned, I understand so please take the time you need. I am sorry to hear about your circumstances but humble to keep a candle lit through your blog which is great. Yes he certainly is a ‘king of horror’ for the right reasons.

        Carpenter is no doubt a masterful visionary and I love how he still keeps his youth for many things at heart, notably realising he is a fan of playing Sonic the Hedgehog and playing the drums in bands.

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    1. It’s both a great read and a great watch. Hard to say what to do first, read the book or watch the movie: but both are awesome. If you do check them out at some point, I hope you will enjoy them 😀

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    1. Haha…yeah, but a very angry red jetsons car. But this definitely is a very good film. It falls into the category horror, but I would call it more of a thriller than a horrormovie. It is an incredibly good fiom though, and one that is not in any way dated whatsoever 😊

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  7. Haha well I know I just told you over on my blog I’ve not read many of his books- but I have actually heard of him and watched some of the films based on his work (I think the films are awesome btw, I’m just not into the writing style of his books). This sounds like his typically awesome storytelling fare! 😀 haha I’ll make sure to watch this responsibly 😉 Awesome review!

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    1. I can respect that 😀 Stephen King certainly isn’t a writer that everyone appreciates. Many of his books have been worked into films. Not all of them are very good though unfortunately lol. Still, this one definitely worked. It’s a real good film, and one that is certainly worth the watch. Thanks again for the awesome feedback 😀

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  8. Hoi, Michel! My first visit to your blog!

    I have been meaning to rewatch Christine for so long. I saw it when it came out, all those 34 years ago! I still remember the bullies calling him “Cun*igham” and “Mom, they took a shit on my dashboard!”, and I can still picture Keith Gordon’s sneering, weird face so clearly even though I’ve never seen him in anything else since.

    I had no idea this was made by John Carpenter, the AMAZING John Carpenter, who’s made so many of my absolute favourite films.

    I have to watch this tonight. I just have to! Thank so much for the excellent write-up, Michel. I’ll be back!!

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    1. Wow, thank you so much for these very kind words. Really appreciate this, and of course thanks for visiting my blog as well 😊
      I hope you enjoy the rewatch. It is still an amazing film, and truly one of my alltime favorite Carpenter flicks. I know a lot of the lines by heart as well lol 😂

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