I recently watched a “trailer” on YouTube for a sequel to Stephen King’s classic car movie “Christine”. I suspect this was taken from real movie footage and cobbled together with some basic desktop movie editing software. The movie is slightly fuzzy due to the film stock, but the title cards are pretty crisp. The dead giveaway was the title cards telling us that “Christine’s back.” and she’s “Angerier than ever”. Angerier? Dude, check your spelling before you float a fake trailer out on the internet. Authenticity is pretty key for this type of thing.
Anyway, crappy videos aside, I got to thinking about the original movie and what has made me watch it a zillion times. I sat down and came up with my list of 7 reasons why “Christine” is the best movie adapted from a Stephen King novel.
1. John Carpenter.
I love this guy’s work. Halloween spawned countless imitators, including its own franchise, which changed the landscape of the contemporary horror movie. I guess he knows what he’s doing.
2. The Soundtrack.
Very cool indeed. I especially like how the first song we hear is the “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly then it morphs into the “current” Tanya Tucker version playing on the stereo in Dennis’ car. Each one of the songs has its own voice and tells a story for whatever scene they’re in. If you like rock and roll, you’ll like the soundtrack. Well, we could probably leave out the ABBA number.
3. Keith Gordon.
His acting in this movie is pretty fantastic. With Christine’s help, Arnie Cunningham transforms from a spectacled dork (with the required tape on the bridge of the glasses, courtesy of Buddy Reperton), who is controlled by his mother, to an ultra-cool dude. He starts wearing cool clothes, has a flashy ride and the hottest girlfriend in the school. He also loses the glasses and stops taking shit from his mom and physically threatens his dad. BADASS! Lastly, how can you not admire the guy who directed the best TV show ever made – Dexter?
4. Harry Dean Stanton.
I think that from the late 70s to the late 80s, HDS appeared in every single movie made. Fact. Seriously, how can you not respect a guy who’s been in: Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, Two Lane Blacktop, The Godfather part II, Alien, Escape From New York, Paris, Texas, Red Dawn, etc. etc. He is simply a great actor.
5. The cars.
Even if you hate the actors and the soundtrack, the cars are prominent characters in the movie. They just don’t have speaking roles. If you’re a fan of American Iron, then the car cast will be sure to please. First, naturally, is Christine. There is some question about what she really is. The movie claims she’s a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Enthusiasts claim she is a 1958 Plymouth Belvedere, which is a similar model. Basically it comes down to trim levels as they’re pretty close. Either way, Christine’s personality and style have secured her fame into perpetuity.
There are numerous car clubs that exist today that are dedicated to the old red Plymouth. Arnie’s best friend Dennis owns a pristine 1969 Dodge Charger. It’s almost the same as the General Lee from the “Dukes of Hazzard”, just a different colour. Detective Junkins drives an updated version of Christine; a 1977 Plymouth Fury. Not to be overpowered by the boys from Mopar, GM gets a few beauties in there as well. Buddy Reperton drives a killer 1967 or1968 Camaro. Will Darnell drive an older 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. Which leads us to the next point . . . .
6. The Villains, part 1.
Will Darnell is a complete bastard. Even when he’s being nice, he’s a bastard. Every line he has is beautifully crafted; not a kind word comes out of his mouth. Everything is negative, crude or a put-down. He’s cynical, arrogant, dishonest, abrasive and he’s a bully. You love to hate his character.
7. The Villains part 2.
Buddy Reperton. This is the guy we all hated in high school. He’s a below average student who spends his time in auto shop; the quintessential hangout for a future high school dropout. Buddy with his friends terrorize the meek and timid Arnie, including stabbing his lunch bag with the pinnacle of thuggish weapons – the switchblade knife. Buddy’s only saving grace is that he drives a classic muscle car. He may be a hooligan, but he has good taste in cars.
That’s my list, feel free to comment!