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There’s always been a love affair between automobile young American men. Having lived in New York City most of my life combination of congested roads, insufficient parking and ample mass transit resulted in me never experiencing this phenomenon. Still, I can appreciate it and understand that obtaining your first call was right passage. It turned a boy tended to his parents’ home direct authority into a young man capable of venturing to places of his own choosing. In 1979 young author gaining momentum in the horror genre, Stephen King, began his long relationship with movies returning another teenage milestone into one of the most memorable hall films ground, ‘Carrie’. By 1983 is written works have been turned into screenplays at an astounding rate. One of the most memorable films during this prolific. Mr. King examined a rather dark example of a teenage boy and his first car, ‘Christine’. Although initially released to DVD and subsequently Blu-ray some time ago, Sony Pictures has decided to release the Blu-ray edition. Those aficionados of the macabre and supernatural that have missed this classic now is your time to edit your collection and more importantly experience a frightening film that has become incorporated into the collective consciousness of pop-culture. The film was directed by the undisputed masters of horror, John Carpenter. This film was part of his golden age of classic cars that would go on to include such encompass such films as ‘Escape from New York’, ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and ‘They Live’. The movie represented the intersection of two genres most notable and most respected leaders in the horror community.

Most American high schools there are always one student that is representative of the social outcast. Arnold Cunningham (Keith Gordon) as the school’s nerdiest student was assigned a dubious position. Fortunately for Arnie he did manage to retain one very loyal friend, Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell). On his life was about to change the saved up enough money to purchase his own car. Bonnie discredited possession was a used vehicle, a red-and-white 1958 Plymouth Fury. The previous owner had named the called Christine. The opening scene had shown the birth of this car in Detroit will shortly venture against an autoworker callously permitted the ash of his cigar to form Christine’s brand-new upholstery. From the point of view of this demonic automobile such callousness was a capital offense. Now this car with a proven predilection for revenge and murder is found the new owner, or perhaps more accurately, victim. It doesn’t take very long before Christine begins exerting its evil influences on Arnie. He’s always been a rather timidly polite boy but since obtaining your car he has taken on the crudely vulgar persona former owner, Will Darnell (Robert Prosky).

Not all of the changes imposed upon awning or psychological or necessarily considered evil. His acne begins to clear up in his vision that once required large horn-rimmed glasses improves. Unfortunately, it is impossible for such superficial improvements to offset the dark recesses of Arnie’s mind that are assuming control of his personality. Dennis begins to become suspicious over the sudden makeover is best friend is undergoing. There was one event in particular that heightened his suspicions. Everybody in the school had become interested in the new transfer student, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul). Dennis musters up the courage to ask before the date only to discover she has a previous commitment. Much to his shock Dennis learns that Leigh is going on a date with Leigh. His suspicions overtake Dennis and it leads them to concluding the car has some dog hold over Arnie. This prompts him to go back to the car’s seller in hopes of finding a clue. There he learns that Christine’s original owner, Roland LeBay, had become obsessed with the call particularly its involvement with the death of his wife and daughter. Eventually LeBay died in the car himself.

Leigh and Arnie continue to date until they are now really perceived as a couple by most the student body. When they arrived at the school’s football game, Dennis, one of the leading players, is amazed to see them together. Even more amazing is that Christine has somehow been brought back to showcase condition. He knew that Arnie had neither the time nor money to complete such repairs, particularly in such a short amount of time. The sudden changes in his best friend the inexplicable repairs to his car diverse his attention from the game resulting in a serious injury. Later on he visits his friend in the hospital only to find out that Dennis is been paralyzed will never play football again. The romance between Arnie and Leigh seems to be going well until they have gone a day to the local driving. There Leigh informs Arnie that she is uncomfortable making out with him in Christine. She popped out of the car only to be followed by Arnie. When he catches up to her she explains that she is so uncomfortable within the car that there is no way she is able to have sex with him while in it.

There is one thing that John Carpenter excels at the next pacing his stories. As so ideally demonstrated this movie, Mr. Carpenter begins with a strongly established premise defining the parameters of the supernatural events to come. He then builds very detailed characters that can be readily identifiable with the audience. This nicely complements Stephen King’s literary style of imputing horror into scenes of serene Americana. Many in the audience understand the situation and relate to it by identifying with the joys of owning their first car. Mr. Carpenter and Mr. King are both recognize the masters of this genre through the expertise in taking extremely mundane yet relatable characters and situations and subjecting them to the devastating supernatural evil that engulfs them. Whereas Stephen King is allowed to do this at a more leisurely rate in a novel the timeline must be compressed as a matter of necessity for translating the story to film. This is where the talents of John Carpenter come in. He has an understanding of the media and how to keep audiences attributed to their seats throughout the running time of the movie. The changes in Arnie are somewhat accelerated but in such a fashion as to create a title effects sweeping the audience into the story. By the time Christine has complete control over Arnie the view was now completely accept Dennis as their point of view character. Christine goes on a killing rampage picking off the tough kids and bullies that have always made Arnie’s life miserable. Unfortunately this extends to anyone that Christine perceives as a menace or even rude. When Leigh begins to eat a hamburger in the call the dashing emits a preternatural white light as the radio begins to blare. The girl begins the choke to death. Even Arnie is unable to open the doors for stroke of luck Leigh just manages to pop the lock. Initially Christine’s supernatural repairs happen while Arnie is out of sight but it a turning point in the film he stands in front of his car "and by stating" show me" is permitted to see the dense unfold themselves, the bumper become straight as the damage corrects itself. As the death toll increases it is now possible to Arnie as a helpless pawn in an evil far greater than usual.

The film much like a 1958 Plymouth Fury is a timeless classic. Once again the audiences to be found in taking something that is so much a part of American life and turning it into something so horrific that many of the images remained etched in your mind. For example the scene of Christine squeezing through a narrow passageway in pursuit of her prey was not only considered exceptional special effects for the time but it’s one of the shots that are so well done that is difficult to forget. Now with the Blu-ray upgrade to 1080p and much cleaner soundtrack, this film has been restored to the point that can rival what we watched in the theaters. Among the best aspects of the high-resolution is it is possible to better appreciate the meticulous details that fit into creating the car and its surroundings. If you put off buying this movie for a while now is the time to correct that decision.

Posted 09/22/2015                Posted 09/03/2018

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