It had been years since I watched John Carpenter’s Christine. I was thrilled to stumble across it while I was browsing the selection of movies on Crackle (not a streaming service I use often but one I check out every now and then). My memory of the film is that it wasn’t very good and I thought it would probably be awfully dated. I’m happy to report that I was wrong on both counts.
The only thing that seems dated about Christine is the fashion. Some of the clothes and most of the hairstyles are a product of their time but that’s about it. The music never seemed out of place, largely because most of the songs were oldies at the time the movie was released. The one song that was current when the film came out is George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone” and that song has gone on to be a staple of classic rock radio so it doesn’t seem out of place here either.
The rest of the film is pretty much what you would expect from John Carpenter. He’s a master storyteller and that is on full display. Carpenter has never been afraid to give the story and the characters room to breathe. He does that with Christine and it serves to create a fully realized world with characters that we know and understand. This helps create a real sense of fear when we see these characters in danger.
There are problems to be sure. This isn’t a perfect movie. When things start to ramp up, they seem to ramp up a little too quickly. One moment everyone seems to be perfectly happy with Arnie then the next everyone is getting on him about how much time he spends with his car. This falls into the category of “show me, don’t tell me”. A sin that a filmmaker as capable as Carpenter should never commit. Watching things unfold, I got the feeling that there must have been some stuff cut for time.
I’m not a “car guy” (I drive a Honda Civic, for God’s sake) so I have no idea what kind of car Christine is but she’s gorgeous, I can tell you that. This film is full of beautiful shots and stunning visuals. The car on fire? That’s a home run all the way.
If you haven’t sat down with Christine in a while, I would highly suggest it. It’s a fun movie and much better than I remembered. I’m not sure how long it will be on Crackle but pop over there and check it out, as long as you can tolerate the commercial interruptions.