Put-upon high-school student Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) buys a decrepit 1957Plymouth Fury named Christine, and sets about restoring her. He does a remarkable job, and asChristine becomes shiny and new again, so Arnie loses his geek image. He goes beyond beingself-confident, however, becoming more and more unpleasant as Christine exerts her hold onhim. She is a jealous lover, and will kill anyone who interferes with her and Arnie.
When you think about, it’s surp…ising that there haven’t been more than a mere handful ofkiller car movies. Stephen King’s tale is a damn entertaining one, and Carpenter’sadaptation is lively, even though the compression is rather painfully evident. One is frequentlyaware that major character development occurred off-screen. Christine is a fine, menacingcreation, however. For an intriguing double-bill, watch Christine back to back with1977’s The Car. While the latter is generally regarded as inferior to Carpenter’s flick, itdoes, I think, possess a greater feeling of dread, since all its victims are innocent, while most ofthe bodies ini Christine are the result of a (undeniably satisfying) Carrie-stylerevenge.
Special Edition this may be, but the sound is still only 2.0, and needs work. There’s troubleright off the bat, during Christine’s creation scene, when George Thoroughgood’s “Bad to theBone” comes off sounding weak and anemic. Much higher volume, and much more bass areneeded throughout. There is a fair bit of good, solid surround, but everything, including theexplosions, sounds too thin, sucking energy out of the film. As well, some of the placement ofthe surround effects is questionable.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is better than the sound. The colours, flesh tonesand blacks are excellent. The image is sharp. There are some speckles now and then, but for themost part the print is in fine shape, and there is very little grain. The widescreen is veryimportant, as Carpenter is a filmmaker who loves to use the edges of the CinemaScope frame.One can only imagine how terrible the movie must look in fullscreen.
Carpenter and Gordon’s commentary is a trip down memory lane for both men, and the tripseems to be a very pleasant one. In between personal memories, there is plenty of backgroundinformation, and discussion about the differences between the novel and the film. There are 20deleted scenes, which are actually footage removed from scenes that are still present. Threefeaturettes trace the making of the movie from pre-production (“Ignition”) to production (“Fastand Furious” — the longest of the three at 30 minutes) and post-production and reception(“Finish”). Problem is, the three are presented in jumbled order: “Fast and Furious,” “Finish,”“Ignition.” Watching all three in that order makes little sense. There are selected filmographiesfor Carpenter, King, writer Bill Phillips, and cast members Gordon, John Stockwell, AlexandraPaul and Harry Dean Stanton. There are trailers for Asylum of the Damned,Hellboy, Secret Window and Kingdom Hospital. The main screen of themenu is animated and scored.
This isn’t John Carpenter at his peak, though this is a long way from being his worst, too. AsStephen King adaptions go, this is pretty solid.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- 3 Making-of Featurettes
- 20 Deleted Scenes