Film Review: Christine (1983)

Rating: 18
Length: 1hr 50
Release: 2.3.1984
Dir: John Carpenter
About: Arnie restores an old car and names her Christine, but he is unaware that she has an evil presence within her. When anyone tries to come between her owner and her, they are not spared.

The Good

  • Visually, the opening is awesome. The birth of Christine is something quite unexpected. While there’s no real explanation as to why its that car in particular, it still hooks you in.
  • Christine riding around on fire looks absolutely amazing. I also do really like that those who are singled out by Christine are those who ‘attack’ her and also have issues with Arnie; allowing you to question how involved Arnie actually is.
  • I really liked the hints to Dennis being gay. They were subtle and, had that thread been followed through, could have added a layer to the plot and given us a better insight into the character.
  • Harry Dean Stanton as the detective. I don’t know what it is about Stanton, but I really like having him appear in films. He has that ‘granddad’ stature, almost. The scene in which we’re introduced to him is quite possibly my favourite in the whole film. Not for the dialogue, or for him being involved, but for how the cars are in the frame.

The Bad

  • Totally not the film’s fault, but the song ‘Bad to the Bone’ by George Thorogood and The Destroyers for me is synonymous with Al Bundy and Married … With Children. In fact, I’ve just gone to google the connection hoping to find a clip to illustrate my point and it promptly informed me that it’s considered almost as Al’s theme song. For those who aren’t familiar with Al Bundy or the tv show he inhabits; it’s a comedy show that ran for 11 seasons over 10 years. By having this association, it throws off the tone of the film for me, right from the get go.
  • Keeping with this song as the opening number, there is another clash. This time between the song and the era that is presented on the screen. The film opens in September 1957, however the song is from 1982. Yes, some songs are timeless. Bad to the Bone is not one of those. It’s a very 80s number, and for a film that is firmly set in 1978, it just doesn’t fit for me.

The Ugly

  • I don’t get the character of Arnie. I don’t like him and find him a bit of a dick, even before his involvement with Christine. His negative interactions with anyone other than Dennis means what is meant to be a massive personality shift just doesn’t translate to the viewer. While his fate is as it should be, I don’t like that we don’t see the final moments of his relationship with Christine. This is more frustrating to me, as I feel it is his relationship with his car that’s the core of the story.
  • It’s so not scary! In fact, at times, it feels ludicrous and boring. The only thing bringing it up to the 18 rating is the use of language which feels gratuitous at times. That’s from me who has spent the last three months trying to make HanCOCK happen.
  • Why is everybody so pissed about the car?! Dennis’ apprehension could have been explained by the feelings he has for Arnie. I certainly feel it was hinted at that Dennis may have been gay and attracted to his best friend. However, its almost abandoned half way through.

Final Thoughts

A great concept that just falls short of its potential. There’s not enough horror and its a rather flawed plot to really rate highly for me.

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