Christine (1983)

   

Directed by: John Carpenter

Written by: Bill Phillips
Stephen King (Novel)

Starring:


Keith Gordon .... Arnie Cunningham
John Stockwell .... Dennis Guiler
Alexandra Paul .... Leigh Cabot
Robert Prosky .... Will Darnell
Harry Dean Stanton .... Rudolph Junkins
Christine Belford .... Regina Cunningham
William Ostrander .... Buddy Reperton
Malcolm Danare .... Moochie Welch

Special Appearances:

Kelly Preston .... Roseanne
David Spielberg .... Mr. Casey

Release Dates: Theatrical: December 9, 1983; Avoriaz Film Festival: January, 1984; Travelling Festival de Cinema de Rennes: January, 1999; Torino Film Festival: November, 1999

 

Rating:

 

A nerdish boy named Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) and his friend Dennis Guiller (John Stockwell) arrive on their first day of school.
During lunchbreak Arnie is tormented by a gang of punks led by the nasty Buddy Reperton (William Ostrander) but then the gang are sent to the principals office as the teacher found out that Buddy had a switchblade knife. Buddy swears on getting even with Arnie and Dennis.
While Arnie and John are on their way back home they see an old wrecked up 1958 Plymouth Furyfor sale at a cheap price and Arnie insists on buying it since he feels that the car has a thing for him. He does so and takes it to a car shop to fix it up.

Before you know it, it looks shiny and brand new. But the car is alive as Arnie names it Christine.
Christine once killed someone in 1957 at the same car shop she's in now and the car has been put to rest ever since.
Christine only plays tunes from the 50's in the car radio. Also, Arnie starts dressing up as a 50's greaser and becomes obsessed with Christine, starts turning nasty and even rebels against his family.
Christine also has deadly plans as she nearly kills Arnie's date named Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul) out of jealousy at a drive in, kills the car shop owner.

Buddy's friend Moochie (Malcolm Danare) tells Buddy where Arnie keeps Christine at and so Buddy and his gang of friends trash Christine.
However, the gang doesn't realise that Christine is almost immortal and fixes herself up and then goes on a killing spree killing Buddy and all of his friends.

The police thinks that Arnie is a suspect and questions him but Arnie is very fresh with the officer.
John and Leigh gets very suspicious with Christine as they try to help Arnie about it but Arnie doesn't listen and the two try to put an end to Christines evil deeds.

 

A nicely drawn in story when we have a prologue taking place in the 1950's at a car shop and what a certain vehicle whom is of course Christine as to what she does to a fellow going into the vehicle which leaves off to a nice horror start to the story.
Then when the story takes place present day between two friends Arnie Cunningham and Dennis Guiler are driving on their first day of school. Then lunchbreak happens as Arnie is being pitted against the biggest school bullies in a mechanics c;assroom.
There's a realistic look at a bullying moment with Buddy Reperton taunting Arnie Cunningham by taking his lunchbag away from him in Autoshop classroom. Also perfect moments when Buddy gets caught by the teacher and a rage breaks out as this looked realistic with a bully acting ruthless and rebellious.
When the two drive on their way home after school Arnie spots a run down vehicle with a sketchy old man trying to sell it which is of course Christine which is a nice start to a horror story since this old geezer was very mysterious in his presence.
There's an effective quarrelling with Arnie towards his parents about when he buys the car Christine.
A good scene with a garage owner Will Darnell was well done by being nasty and making himself not so pleasant towards Arnie as this looked strongly done along with showing signs on him being a hippocrit and Arnie's friends Dennis Guiler making smart remarks about his rules which also was a nice attention grabber while watching this scene.
Perfect well focused moments with Dennis talking to his friends in a library and finding some way of an excuse to talk to the prettiest girl in school which happens to be Leigh Cabot as it was good and natural while watching everything that goes on here and making you feel by being in a position to find the courage to ask someone out for the first time.
We see a nice change in Will towards Arnie when he offers him some small work to earn some money as if you don't want to turn it down to get him aggressive again.
There's a good reaction on Dennis Guiler running in the football field staring at Arnie and Leigh whom is his date as I could never understand as to how a popular hot looking babe would go for a nerdish boy like him as the story doesn't explain itself as to why. Things did for sure look mildly suspenseful when Will not paying attention to his game and gets injured in a tackling accident.
A good discussion between Arnie and Dennis in the hospital looking like real teenage friends having a chat.
Then Arnie is on his date with Leigh at a drive in and while he goes to fix his windshield wiper the car lights up with an oldies song playing and she ends up choking as this was a great attention grabber adding nice horror to the plot since she didn't feel comfortable being in his new car.
After Arnie parks his car in the shop and leaves there are then great shots on Buddy and his gang sneaking into the garage and vandalising Christine. Buddy looked perfect standing on the roof of the car with a sledge hammer.
The most disturbing scene of them all was with Arnie towards his family when they offer to buy him a new car and he gets in a rage disrespecting them causing his Mom to cry and Arnie nearly acting violent towards his Dad which makes you cringe and wonder if you were ever like that with your parents when you went through a rebellious phase with them. It's almost hard to watch and Stephen King's book is way more extreme with it. Totally psychological close to it's best.
A perfect shot on Moochie Welch
walking in the dark night and Christine's headlights shine on him all of a sudden. Then the terror begins on this bully which really looked suspensefully entertaining by what happens here.
The next day Detective Rudolph Junkins questions Arnie about a murder in which this was well written in when Arine gets sarcastic and fresh about his questions which was also nicely done imagining if you wished one of your school bullies were dead.
Great camera shot on Buddy and his buddy Richard Trelawney driving in their car and Christine's headlights shine on them from their back window. This looked quite bone chilling.
A scene that I really loved is when Buddy stood at a gas station screaming "C'mon you prick!!!!" picking up a crowbar towards Christine and then we have a good shot on the car smashing up the station causing it to explode.
Great shot on him running away in the middle of the road with Christine blazing with fire on his tail. I wanted to see more of this bully as this character really made the story come to life.
There's a nice and dark conversation between Arnie and Dennis cruising in Christine. Things looked really strong by Dennis being upset with him and discussing on how he changed since he bought the car which was perfectly put into the story and adding a great horror feel towards everything.
Bottom line is that this is a great movie to watch. Stephen King keeps his tradition for teenage plotlines like he did with Carrie and Bill Philips was terrific bringing it onto screen.
The action in it is suspenseful. The car looks like a total threat when the lights shine on high beam.
Plus it was awesome that the story took place in 1978 which was one of my favourite era's of style.
It was very disturbing on how Arnie was being crude and aggressive with his parents over his obsession with his car which brings alot of psychological elements to the story and reading Stephen King's novel even more disturbing. The story really shows a good dysfunctional relationship growing more and more intense with his family the slower he gets possessed by the car. We also encounter school bullies too which is a great plus for the film showing his revenge on them.
I was always hoping that a sequel would arise with this flick as a door seemed open for one once you watch the final ending. A shame one never arose.

The acting is great! Keith Gordon (Arnie Cunningham) is a natural character as Arnie at first playing a nerd and then becoming a smart mouthed bad ass as he shows perfect intensity to his part as well as his energetic and crude aggressions too. Reacts well to an actor in a garage being unpleasant with him and by being nervous about it all. Shows a nice shocked reaction to his battered up car and was perfect losing his sanity. Knew how to act fresh towards an actor as a detective when he is questioned about the first murder case. Behaved really nasty and intense with a phone conversation towards his onscreen girlfriend.
John Stockwell
(Dennis Guiler) does great too as he is very natural and fits the part as a popular outgoing teen. He shows good facial expressions and brings his lines across nicely too. Was good at associating with the other actors playing his friends at the library staring at an actress and is nervous when he tries to ask her out on a date and does his speech very well towards her with good expressions too. Really knew how to let out a frightened sob about his friend changing and acting evil with his car.
Alexandra Paul (Leigh Cabot) is both beautiful and talented (A bonus for Carpenter) showing a nice senstitivity and charm to her part in the story as well as expressing good emotions too. Perfectly soft spoken as well. She knew how to act scared and upset by an intense phone call.
Robert Prosky (Will Darnell) did a bang up job as a grouchy obnoxious car shop owner when he makes insults and idle threats. Not a person to mess with for sure and knew on how to act believeably dysfunctional. Had the right looks and appeal to this role and really grabs your attention with what he does in the story.
Harry Dean Stanton (Rudolph Junkins) portrayed a good detective in which he shows a nice calm and serious attitude as well as not taking any type of crap to top it off. All of this looked nicely performed and looked right for the role.
Christine Belford (Regina Cunningham) had the perfect motherly looks as well as knowing on how to bring this role to life. She does well with her emotional sobbing in the film as she is someone you can feel bad for during some intense situations.
We also have a supporting role by William Ostrander (Buddy Reperton) who resembles John Travolta in almost every way and plays a similar character like Travolta did in Carrie as the nasty head bully. He did a great job. At first he was a tiny bit rusty but he really picked up his character. He really showed a nice rage towards a couple of his actors when he is sent to the office. He brought it out greatly while screaming towards the car with a crowbar which is his best performance in the movie offering perfect raging energy within this and can be well remembered for this scene the most to anyone who watched him by acting like this. Unfortuately, he remained a virtual unknown doing only a handful of shows.
However, Malcolm Danare (Mooch) who played his friend needed more inspiration as I didn't believe he was a nasty one too like he was supposed to be. Shows some nice forceful blocking though while grabbing someone and really getting into this. However when he acts obnoxious he seems a wee bit dorky.
Also there's a smaller role by Stu Charno (Don Vandenberg) as another creepy friend of Buddy's who had a bigger role in Friday the 13th Part 2 as one of the camp counsellors in training. He was in almost all of the scenes with Buddy's gang but isn't as big of a part in it.
He however seemed to present himself well onto the screen with whatever he had in this one.
David Spielberg (Mr. Casey) had a nice cameo in the film as a school teacher with his stern attitude towards the onscreen bullies in which he knew on how to handle a situation and needing to get tough about it all.

A piece of glass is cut in Arnie's stomach and a corpse is on fire which is Buddy but really it isn't gory as the plot is suspenseful and good the gore isn't necessary.

The music was composed by John Carpenter of course and makes his music similar to the music he composed for Halloween 3 (Of course it didn't sound as effective for that one) and The Fog. There's also additional music by Alan Howarth. I loved the screeching sound effects when Christine turn on her headlights ready to kill her prey which will always stand out to anyone who saw this film.

We also have a soundtrack by many oldies including the hits "Keep a Knockin'" by Little Richard and "Rock N Roll is Here to Stay" by Danny & the Juniors as they played on the radio in Christine before she tries to kill someone. These songs were loud and offered a great touch to the terrifying moments.
Plus there are other oldie artists like Buddy Holly, Thurston Harris, Dion & the Belmonts, Richie Valens, Larry Williams and Robert & Johnny.

We also have more currents tracks as the movie opens up with Tanya Tucker's version of "Not Fade Away" as this sounded nicely doen for what we spot into the story..
Also, while Buddy and his friend Richard are listening to the Rolling Stones classic "Beast of Burden" in their car when Christine is on their tail. Perfect touch as many juvenile delinquents listened to the Stones through the 60's and 70's cause of the band's bad boy image.
During the closing credits we have George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" which was used in many other films like Terminator 2 and Problem Child.
However this song for this film brought it on greater with the buzzing guitars as I will never forget this track to be playing while I first watched it.

Regina Cunningham: [Dennis' is playing loud music in his car] That's noise pollution, what you're doing... you might as well be dumping toxic waste on our lawn!

Mr. Casey: [after being told that Buddy Repperton has a switchblade] Empty your pockets, Buddy.
Buddy Repperton: Fuck I will. You can't make me.
Mr. Casey: If you mean I don't have the authority, you're wrong. If you mean I can't turn out your pockets myself...
Buddy Repperton: [interrupting him] Yeah, try it, you little bald fuck and I'll knock you through the wall! Fuck!
Mr. Casey: [turns to Buddy's friends] You two boys go up to the office. Stay there. Don't go anywhere else. You got enough trouble without that.
Mr. Casey: [turns back to Buddy] Now... if you don't empty your pockets right now, I'm gonna call the cops.
[Repperton reaches into his pocket, pulls out a switchblade and drops it on the floor]
Mr. Casey: Go to the office, Buddy.

[Towards Arnie] Buddy Repperton: I'll fix you... you're gonna wish you were never fucking born!

Arnie Cunningham: [commenting on the altercation with Repperton] All in all, it wasn't a bad first day.

George LeBay: Her name's Christine.
Arnie Cunningham: I like that.
Dennis Guilder: Come on Arnie, we gotta get goin', huh?
George LeBay: My asshole brother bought her back in September '57. That's when you got your new model year, in September. Brand-new, she was. She had the smell of a brand-new car. That's just about the finest smell in the world, 'cept maybe for pussy.

Dennis Guilder: Forget it Arnie. This baby's got 93-thousand miles on it. Probably 193.
Arnie Cunningham: I don't care.

Regina Cunningham: How could you have let him do this?
Dennis Guilder: I didn't let him. I mean he wanted the car and he bought it. I tried to talk him out of it, in fact.
Regina Cunningham: Mm, I doubt that you tried very hard.
Dennis Guilder: Yeah, well I'm going home.
Regina Cunningham: I think you should.
Arnie Cunningham: OK that's it, I'm getting the fuck out of here!
Michael Cunningham: Oh, Arnie, now what kind of language is that?
Regina Cunningham: WHAT did you say? What did you say?
Arnie Cunningham: Look, you wanted me in college courses, I'm there. You wanted me in the chess club instead of the band, OK, I'm there too. Now I managed to get through seventeen years without embarrassing your bridge club or landing jail! Now I'm telling you, I'm gonna have this, this one thing!
Regina Cunningham: You are not keeping any car at this house!
Arnie Cunningham: Fine!

[Arnie is pulling a worn out, smoking old Christine into Darnell's Do It Yourself garage as Darnell and Dennis look on]
Will Darnell: 'Kiddo, you sold him that piece of shit, you oughta be fuckin' ashamed of yourself.
Dennis Guilder: I didn't sell it to him. I tried to talk him out of it.
Will Darnell: You shoulda' tried harder.
[Will and Dennis are approaching Arnie who has just parked Christine in Will's garage]
Will Darnell: [to Dennis] I knew a guy had a car like that once. Fuckin' bastard killed himself in it. Son of a bitch was so mean, you could've poured boiling water down his throat and he would've pissed ice cubes!
[to Arnie]
Will Darnell: Okay. That's the last time you run that mechanical asshole in here without an exhaust hose... I catch you doing it one time, and you're out, you understand? HUH?
Arnie Cunningham: Yes, sir.
Will Darnell: And I'm gonna tell you something else right now. I don't take any shit from you kids. This place is for working stiffs gotta keep their cars running so they can keep bread on the table, it's not for rich-assed, snot-nose kids who wanna go dragging around on the Orange Belt. I don't allow no smoking in here, neither! You wanna' butt, you go out in the junkyard!
Arnie Cunningham: Oh, well I don't sm...
Will Darnell: [interrupting] Don't interrupt me, punk! Don't interrupt me, don't get smart!
Dennis Guilder: Uhh, sir?
Will Darnell: What?
Dennis Guilder: [points at Darnell's own men who are smoking at a card table] Those men over there smoking. You better tell then to stop.
Will Darnell: You trying to help your buddy right out of here, jerk?
Dennis Guilder: Nah.
Will Darnell: Then shut your pie-hole. I know a creep when I see one. I think I'm looking at one right now.
[turns back to Arnie]
Will Darnell: You're on probation... you get it? You screw around with me once, I don't care how much money you paid up in front, I'll throw you out on your ass! Now you got it? HUH?
Arnie Cunningham: Yessir, yessir.
Will Darnell: Good! Now, get the hell out of here, we're closed.

Will Darnell: Look... uhhh... I know you don't exactly have money falling out of your asshole. If you did, you wouldn't be here.
[pauses]
Will Darnell: Maybe we can work out some kind of deal... Why don't you sweep up around the place... do a few lubes... put the toilet paper on the little spools, shit like that. Do that and you can raid my junk pile for whatever you want. I might even throw in a few bucks.
Arnie Cunningham: Well, I'll have to think about it.
Will Darnell: Well, don't think about it too long, I'll throw you out on your fuckin' ass!

Arnie Cunningham: [after Leigh hits Christine's cushions in anger] No, no. Don't do that.
Leigh Cabot: What? You don't like me slapping your girl?

Leigh Cabot: I'm not going in that car again.
Arnie Cunningham: Wait a minute. wait a minute. don't you blame your choking on Christine.
Leigh Cabot: It happened, Arnie. when I choked, something happened. the radio came on. everything got bright.

Arnie Cunningham: [Christine won't start] Come on.
Arnie Cunningham: [Christine still won't start] Come on, Christine.
Arnie Cunningham: [Christine still won't start] Come on, baby, please. It's all right. Everything is the same.
[Christine starts and the radio comes on]
Arnie Cunningham: [smiles] Okay.

[after Christine is completely wrecked]
Arnie Cunningham: It's your fault. If you hadn't been so damned selfish you wouldn't let me park my own car, in your precious driveway, this never would have happened.
Regina Cunningham: Arnie, that's not fair.
Arnie Cunningham: Oh, it's fair.
Regina Cunningham: Can't we even talk about this like rational human beings?
Arnie Cunningham: One of them took a shit on the dashboard of my car, mom! Now, how's that for rational, huh?
Michael Cunningham: Your mother and I have decided to buy you a new car.
Arnie Cunningham: [to his mother] That's what everyone wants isn't it? Well, fuck you. I'm going to fix up Christine.
[walks away, his dad gets up and confronts him and grabs him by the shoulder]
Michael Cunningham: Listen, mister me and your mother have taken disrespect from you once too many times! Now, you go in there and apologize right now!
Arnie Cunningham: [grabs him by the neck] Keep your mitts off me, motherfucker! I'm hittin' the sack.
[walks upstairs]

Moochie Welch [While spotting Christine] Cunningham is that you???...... You're not mad are you?

Rudolph Junkins: The kid was cut in half Arnie, they had to scrape his legs up with a shovel.
Arnie Cunningham: Well, isn't that what you're supposed to do with shit? Scrape it up with a little shovel?
Rudolph Junkins: Don't get smart with me, son. Your girlfriend is a hell of a lot more convincing than you are.
Arnie Cunningham: [laughs] She's not my girlfriend. And since when is it against the law to fix up your own car when somebody else busts it up, huh?
Rudolph Junkins: ...since never.
Arnie Cunningham: Then you get off my back.
Rudolph Junkins: [pause] Okay.
[Junkins walks away. Arnie rubs at the spot where Junkins leaned on Christine]

George LeBay: What the hell do you want?
Dennis Guilder: I know about your brother. I know he died choking on exhaust fumes.
George LeBay: You don't know shit, kid. My brother died because he wanted to. He ran a rubber hose from the exhaust pipe.
Dennis Guilder: Arnie would have never bought that car if he'd known somebody died in it.
George LeBay: Either you're dumber than you look, or you don't know your friend very well. He had the same look in his eye that my brother always had. Probably the only thing my brother ever loved in his whole rotten life was that car. No shitter ever came between him and Christine, if they did... watch out! He had a five-year-old daughter choke to death in her... he wouldn't get rid of her. He just rode around with the radio blaring, not a care in the world except for Christine. Only time I ever interfered with it was when Rita killed herself.
Dennis Guilder: Who's Rita?
George LeBay: His wife! He didn't care a rat's ass about her! She died the same way he did... then I made him get rid of it... for decency, ya know? Of course, the car came back three weeks later.
Dennis Guilder: What do you mean "came back"?
[Lebay looks back as if to say, "You know what I mean"]

Buddy Repperton: Some shithead's following me!

Buddy Repperton: Come on, prick! We're not finished yet!

Arnie Cunningham: Hi Leigh, huh I, I need to see you.
Leigh Cabot: Arnie, I care about you.
Arnie Cunningham: Look, I love you, Leigh. And I think we deserve one more try. Don't you?
Arnie Cunningham: [shouts] Will you give me a fucking yes or no?
Leigh Cabot: Arnie, please don't do this to me.
Arnie Cunningham: Why don't you just be straight with me, you've had it, right? WELL FUCK YOU, BITCH!
[he hangs up and picks up the phone again]
Arnie Cunningham: Leigh? Leigh? Leigh...

Arnie Cunningham: Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car. She's real sensitive.

Arnie Cunningham: [after taking hands off the steering wheel at high speed, realizing that Dennis is panicking] Don't be scared.
Dennis Guilder: [Voice begins to crack and mildly begins crying] I'm scared for *you*, man, for what's happened to you. It's this fucking car!
Arnie Cunningham: [coldly] I know you're jealous.
[Dennis gives a look as if he's saying "Why would you say that to me? I'm your best friend!"]

Leigh Cabot: [Last line of the film] God, I hate rock and roll.