Sunday, 27 February 2011

Film Review: CHRISTINE (1983)

Director: John Carpenter
Running time: 110 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
UK release date: 2nd March 1984

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 27th February 2011.


This is one of those movies that I’ve seen bits and pieces of over the years, but never all the way through, until now. You see, it’s always on late at night when I get home from the pub and I either see the start, or a bit in the middle, or the start and the end (having fallen asleep in between). And so, for the first time I’ve seen it all the way through. It’s actually pretty good, not great, but certainly worth watching sober sometime. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please help Arnie fix that beat up old Plymouth Fury while I write the next paragraph).

It is 1978 where Arnie Cunningham is a bit of a dork, he wears glasses and can’t get a girl to save his life. His best friend, Dennis Guilder, tries to help him out, but he’s just not cut out for that kind of thing yet. After a run-in with some bullies at school one day, Dennis is giving Arnie a lift home when Arnie spots a car for sale. It’s a beaten up red 1958 Plymouth Fury nicknamed ‘Christine’ by the owner whose brother, the former owner, had recently died. Arnie is instantly in love with the car and pays the asking price there and then. His parents don’t want the car at home and so he keeps it at Darnell’s ‘Do It Yourself Garage’ nearby. There is something strange about the car that Arnie can’t quite put his finger on, but he works hard to bring her back to her former glory. As time goes by he begins to become more and more confident in himself as his obsession with the car grows. By now he has a girlfriend, Leigh Cabot, but woe betide anyone that gets between Arnie and Christine. Now, you remember those bullies I mentioned earlier, well… Looks like that’s all you’re gonna get from me, you didn’t expect the entire thing did you? Sorry to disappoint.

Based on a novel by Stephen King I found this to be a pretty good adaptation of the story. The characters are well rounded and, of course, it’s a damn good tale. John Carpenter did an excellent job with the special effects, no CGI back then, but you wouldn’t know. Pretty good performances all round, particularly from Keith Gordon as Arnie Cunningham, he really had to ring the changes in this one. John Stockwell did a pretty good job as Dennis Guilder, as did Alexandra Paul as Leigh Cabot. I also have to mention Robert Prosky whose almost comic-book performance as Will Darnell was excellent and it was nice to see a younger Harry Dean Stanton as Detective Rudolph Junkins.

At the end of the day the star of the show is definitely the car, Christine. It has its own personality and a big role to play in the film. This is brought across very well by some excellent direction, some brilliant special effects and the performances of the human cast. It’s far from perfect I know, maybe a little long, but at the end of the day it’s still worth a watch (or two… preferably sober, but not essential)… Recommended.

My score: 6.5/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:
Official Site:

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