Bill Phillips (Screenplay), Stephen King (Novel)
Keith Gordon as Arnie Cunningham John Stockwell as Dennis Guilder Alexandra Paul as Leigh Cabot
Stephen King is a hit and miss writer. Some of his novels are fantastic (i.e. The Shining,Misery, Salem’s Lot , etc.) and some are really tough to finish (i.e. The Tommyknockers,Dreamcatcher, etc.). The movie adaptations are also hit and miss. Cujo was great andGraveyard Shift wasn’t. When you mix together the writing talent of King and the directing genius of John Carpenter however, you get the perfection that is Christine.
We start our tour by seeing an assembly line where a red 1958 Plymouth Fury stands out as a beautiful one of a kind vehicle. On this line though, we witness two ominous occurrences that would lead anyone to believe that this car is “special”. First, an inspector is injured when the open hood slams down on his arm. Second, a worker decides to sit down in this car and proceeds to suffocate after he allows cigar ashes to fall on the upholstery.
Fast forward to the 1980’s; Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is the walking epitome of the term “nerd”. The only thing that keeps him from being beat up by everyone in school is his friendship with school football player Dennis Guilder &40;John Stockwell). While riding home from school (in a gorgeous Challenger) Arnie makes Dennis stop and pull into a driveway where he sees a very dilapidated 1958 Fury. To Dennis it is a rust bucket that should be sent to the junk yard but to Arnie it is love at first sight. For $250 Arnie purchases Christine and begins to work on it every day at a local garage located at a junk yard.
As Christine begins to change, so does Arnie. He loses the glasses for contacts, he starts to back talk his parents, and he starts to date the new girl, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul). When some school bullies decide to destroy Christine other things start to change as we see that she is very capable of taking matters into her own hands.
Anyone who has read my work knows that I am a big fan of John Carpenter. I believe that he is the poster child for independent film work. He writes, directs, edits, produces, and composes. He does not let the big Hollywood types dictate how his films should be and he has shown that you can gain real power and still remain independent. Christine the novel was one of Stephen King’s middle-of-the-road stories. It was neither a yawner nor was it a page turner.
With the combined efforts of Bill Phillips (screenwriter) and John Carpenter, Christine the movie becomes, in my opinion, a great example of taking a different view of what is considered horror and running with it. No apologies, no excuses, just filming what you want to film and enjoying every minute of it. I find that very commendable, and we have the classic horror movie Christineas a result.