CHRISTINE (1983) Reviews and overview

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‘She’s a killer’
Christine is a 1983 American supernatural horror film directed by John Carpenter (Halloween; The Fog; The Thing) from a screenplay by Bill Phillips, adapted from the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The movie stars Keith Gordon (Jaws 2), John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien).

Set in 1978, the film is about a sentient automobile named “Christine” and its effects on its teenaged owner…

“There’s just enough Carpenter (and a great score alongside frequent collaborator Alan Howarth) to make this movie worthwhile. It’s not the best of his films. Nor the best King film. But it’s an enjoyable enough way to pass ninesome someodd minutes.” B&S About Movies

“The film is notable in that, aside from one or two outright shock sequences, the horror here is not especially graphic. In fact, the film coasts much more on mood than anything that’s actually depicted (again, with a couple of notable exceptions), which may be why it’s both scary and weirdly charming.”

“The early parts of the film are engaging and well acted, creating a believable high-school atmosphere. Unfortunately, the later part of the film is slow in developing, and it unfolds in predictable ways.” The New York Times

” …by the end of the movie, Christine has developed such a formidable personality that we are actually taking sides during its duel with a bulldozer. This is the kind of movie where you walk out with a silly grin, get in your car, and lay rubber halfway down the Eisenhower.” Roger Ebert

“Overlong, but propelled throughout by a few effective sequences, Christine succeeds thanks to John Carpenter’s competent direction […] Coupled with a fairly strong supporting cast – Gordon gives a great performance – this Carrie-esque “revenge of the nerd” tale is certainly entertaining, if not always a complete masterpiece.” The Terror Trap

“All of this works rather well as black comedy. But from the horror perspective, Carpenter is only the latest in a long line of filmmakers who have been seduced by King’s sheer plausibility as a writer. Off the page, a 1958 Plymouth is no more scary than the St. Bernard which romped through Cujo.” Time Out Film Guide


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” …Gordon’s transformation comes on a bit too quickly (and is never really focussed on enough), it manages to waste dependable character actor Harry Dean Stanton (as a detective) and we could have used a bit more backstory as to just how the car became possessed; but overall it’s a watchable effort that stands as one of the better King adaptations out there.” The Video Graveyard

Choice dialogue:
George LeBay: “She had the smell of brand-new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world. Except maybe for pussy.”

Cast and characters:
Keith Gordon … Arnie Cunningham
John Stockwell … Dennis Guilder
Alexandra Paul … Leigh Cabot
Robert Prosky … Will Darnell
Harry Dean Stanton … Detective Rudolph Junkins
Christine Belford … Regina Cunningham
Roberts Blossom … George LeBay
William Ostrander … Buddy Repperton
David Spielberg … Mr Casey
Malcolm Danare … Moochie
Steven Tash … Rich
Stuart Charno … Don Vandenberg
Kelly Preston … Roseanne
Marc Poppel … Chuck
Robert Darnell … Michael Cunningham
Richard Collier … Pepper Boyd
Bruce French … Mr Smith
Douglas Warhit … Bemis
Keri Montgomery … Ellie
Jan Burrell … Librarian
Charlie Steak … Shoppie (as Charles Steak)

Filming locations:
Christine was shot largely in Los Angeles, California, while the location for Darnell’s garage was located in Santa Clarita. Filming began in April 1983, merely days after Stephen King’s novel had been published, the rights having been purchased based on the author’s manuscript alone.

Technical details:
110 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1
Audio: Dolby Stereo | Dolby Digital | Dolby Atmos

Box office:
Christine grossed $21 million at the US box office against a reported budget of $10 million.



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