Monday, October 06, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 6 - Movie 1

According to Stephen King, the notion behind his 1983 novel, Christine, is that some things are just born bad. In this case that something is a 1958 Plymouth Fury christened "Christine." John Carpenter's movie adaptation, Christine (1983) is a heavily condensed version of the novel, with all of the character development truncated down to some effective high notes as nerdy Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) grows suave, cool, and finally murderously deranged, as his co-dependent relationship with his lovingly restored car grows more and more unhealthy. The movie alternates its story between a number of couples; Arnie and his friend Dennis, Arnie and his girlfriend, Leigh, Leigh and Dennis, and mostly Arnie and Christine. The movie effectively uses music to accompany its story, from carefully selected classic rock and roll of the same vintage as the car which expresses Christine's emotional state, to the electronic score by Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Christine's ability to repair herself is also done so with some pretty impressive pre-CGI practical effects. The real problem is that it's not very scary. Overall, the people killed off by the sentient car are presented as people who deserve it, and because the rest of the characters are presented in a very shorthand fashion, there's no way to effectively build up a sense of suspense. When the climax comes, it's rather matter of fact and has no suspense at all. Like Christine, this movie is well put together and nice to look at, but when you open the door, no one is inside.



Eric Stettmeier said...

One of my favorite movies. You are right that it's not very deep, but it is damn beautiful to look at!

Lori G. said...

Not a bad movie. For whatever reason, Stephen King's books, while scary and unsettling, do not make good movies. Which is too bad, because I really like his books.

John Rozum said...

Agreed. His non- horror books work as movies just fine - Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, but overall for all of the movie adaptations there have been, there are only a handful of good ones: Carrie, The Dead Zone, Misery, The Mist, Creepshow, the Salem's Lot tv miniseries, and that's about it. A few others have some good moments in them, but overall, are just really flat.