When I’m feeling under the weather, I can usually rely on Stephen King or John Carpenter to make me feel better. Today was such a day, and I decided to go with both. My neighbors got rid of all of their DVDs a few years back and let us pick through them. This was one of the lucky ones to make it into my collection.
Christine, released in 1983 and directed by John Carpenter, is based on the novel written by Stephen King. The cast includes Keith Gordon, Christine Belford, and Harry Dean Stanton. It’s about a 17-year-old nerdy kid, Arnie, who’s bullied at school and has no luck with the girls. On top of that his parents are always on his back. Teen life, am I right?!?! One day he sees an old junker for sale by the side of the road, so he decides to buy it and fix it up. Something seems a little off with this car though. Sometimes the radio starts up on its own and the car repairs itself. It doesn’t help that the previous owner killed himself in it. Gradually, Arnie becomes obsessed with the car to the point where he seems possessed. People start dying, and no one can figure out what’s going on.
John Carpenter and Stephen King are a match made in heaven. As we’ve seen in the past, it’s easy to turn Stephen King’s stories into a wacky pile of garbage, but John Carpenter gives it the treatment it deserves. You wouldn’t think a horror movie about an evil car would be creepy, but the cinematography and John Carpenter’s signature synth music will convince you otherwise. Arguably, the scariest scene is when the car flies down the road on fire in pursuit of its victim like some demon straight from hell. It makes you wonder what kind of world we might be in had John Carpenter directed more Stephen King movies.
If this isn’t a fable about toxic masculinity, I don’t know what is. Arnie gets more and more aggressive any time someone even suggests he chill out with the car (obviously a symbol for his ween). Don’t you dare take away the only thing that gets him babes and makes him “cool!” You might as well castrate him. Of course, his testosterone-fueled obsession inevitably hurts people and destroys him in the end. But, you know. Boys will be boys!
Honestly, I liked this movie more than I thought I would. Maybe my illness is adding to it, but I was glued right from the beginning. Im not a car person, but I do love demolition derbies and at times Christine scratched that itch. Now I can’t wait to get a haunted car of my own and ram it into things.