Although final act comes as a little slow when compared to the rest of the movie, it's still highly enjoyable piece that perfectly captures the spirit of late 70s with 50s nostalgia and it manages to surpass typical King flavor in a favor of something that looks and feels more like a Halloween spin-off. It's a movie about teenage angst just as it is about possessed car; and it's embellished by great r'n'r track list.
Carpenter came out swinging with this relentlessly fast, stylish, cool, ferociously profane, scary and funny King adaptation. Keith Gordon's verbal dust-up and jousting with Harry Dean Stanton in a parking lot is one of my favorite shit talking scenes ever. Carpenter's score for "Christine" is as memorable as John William's score for "Jaws." Carpenter's mean machine shows him working at the highest level of his art.
Hadn't watched this since I saw it on television a few times back in the mid '80s. It's not particularly scary or exciting, and parts of it border on camp today, but it *is* relentlessly dark and humorless throughout (more so even than The Thing), which in a way says something about how we prefer the company of 'things' over other people.
The 70's nostalgia for the 50's, an era of pure machoism, conservatism and consumption, was a pretty good preamble for the horrors of the 1980's. Christine is John Carpenter's response to Grease, with the transformation of the innocent nerd into the heartless kid becoming rightfully nightmarish. Man is not only consuming culture but also consumed by it, becoming a machine of its own.
After a trudging start setting up the myth, the film really comes into itself. The second half is where Carpenter's flare for composition, visual fx, colour and score really hit big. But - Christine isn't given enough chance to develop into a completely terrifying monster. It may have been better longer, with tension mustered in slower stretches of steadicam and synth crescendos, waiting for the lights to turn on.
Cool and sexy but the chill is understated. A candidate for cult classic, Carpenter does not find the extra gear to raise it to the Olympus of horror. One can't help feeling the lack of an obvious killer punch, Christine transmuting into a bloody Carrie for a few final minutes, to put this film up there, to make it what it should have been- so close though.
I couldn't appreciate this film twenty years ago, but today I think it's a fine piece of work. Carpenter creates some real strong images for the freaky symbiosis between man and machine: Arnie's slowly changing character, the burning car chasing a man through the night, Christine's efforts to repair herself or Arnie's loving touch in the end.
(Generous) 7 - It flounders as frequently as it flies, but I can't help but be impressed at Carpenter's taking of something as resoundingly mediocre as a Stephen King novel and distilling it into a successfully cheesy Faustian horror film that doubles as a critique of excessive materialism and automobile worship. The frame also accommodates that Plymouth Fury beautifully. Really close to being an 80s classic.
Christine evolves from an exaggerated teen Americana / high school drama into a dark tragedy about obsessive love and revenge - and a killer car. It’s darn impressive how well Carpenter and his crew manage to make the character of Christine alive - it’s no mean feat to make a serious and plausible movie about a possessed automobile.
Carpenter said he didn't care for the material, it was just a job he took to help his career after The Thing flopped. To his credit, the disinterest doesn't show; the camerawork and FX are top-notch. But disinterest is understandable: the film is mired in enough script problems that the interesting concept—frustrated teen masculinity feeding supernatural evil—isn't give enough care. Still, nice moments.