Monday, April 11, 2016

Christine


****½

A washed up car needing a new owner gets her guy...and seduces him!


I must admit that it bothers me when I watch John in interviews talking about this film as basically "a job". I just think it is a damn good picture. It really does bring a homicidal, " jealous" car to life. But to me it is the brilliant performance from Keith Gordon that gives the film its tragic heart and soul. The gentle, sweet nerdy kid just wanting to have his own ride, a serious girlfriend, and be respected by his peers gradually transitioning into this dark spirit seemingly corrupted by Christine, the 58 Plymouth with a strange "romantic" hold on its owners, is a virtuoso performance perhaps considered right up there with Jeff Bridges in Starman in regards to acting in a John Carpenter film.




The thing is, Carpenter’s film eyes the struggles of being a teenager that seemed so important in the Stephen King novel and  ascertains Christine is able to eventually claim its next devotee due to his crumbling grip on what is important as opposed to what seems important but really isn’t: the girlfriend arrives in the form of the lovely Alexandra Paul (eventually of Baywatch fame) deeply caring for him despite his behavioral setbacks, parents who might appear to be quite controlling but ultimately have his best interests at heart and simply want him to maintain a respect for their roles as his custodian, a true friend (John Stockwell) who is seriously concerned that he’s losing the buddy he has spent trips to school, during hall breaks, and rides home afterward with, and a future where his intelligence will benefit him economically (and maybe even socially; high school may produce its bullies but often those with the brains get the last laugh) are in a clear jeopardy thanks to Christine, wanting her man all to herself, with no interference from the pesky figures once so serious in his life. 



The loss of innocence and the corrupting influence of the car that supplements the missing hole needing filled in a highly emotional current teenage situation (parents who neglect to tap into his antisocial school situation and understand why he feels he could finally get a car and park in their “precious” driveway, being bullied by a trio of intimidating punks with no career outlook besides getting into reckless trouble and probably winding up serial visitors to jail once the twenties greet them less than warmly, and the need for companionship with “a woman” which eventually arrives in Paul but corresponds not too effectively thanks to the “other girl” so disrespected by everyone due to how Christine is taking away the Arnie those that love him hold so dear) I think Carpenter and his cast bring to life quite impressively. So I don’t think Carpenter should just dismiss this as a reason to continue making movies when it covers material quite suitable for those who can relate to Arnie’s plight. Those that love him losing him to the girl who appeals to that dark side side, Arnie gives over to Christine scene by scene, with Carpenter and Gordon producing a change in performance and look certainly conveying what was elaborated by the car’s former owner, played by Roberts Blossom (a superb character actor), when talking about how his brother cared less about how his loved ones were destroyed by it and more for her welfare. Identifying the angst of a nerd similar to the Christians thrown to the lions (Arnie sent into the school, sheltered by parents who seem unable to realize just how difficult it is for their son to face day after day in the role of the teenage geek, dressed by them and given little freedom to make his own decisions) in the arena with three bullies who live to give him grief (bullies do this: their own pitiful lives have such little meaning that causing mischief and fear towards others is the only way to circumvent their current inconsequential future). How Carpenter and Gordon coincide the life in high school for Arnie and his relationship with a car everyone seems (rightfully) jealous of (and vice versa)—this ongoing drama that plays itself out in Greek tragic form—is a real treat, I think, that perhaps gains notice the longer it plays on cable or satellite, just waiting for reevaluation and new audiences. 

The music Carpenter includes with the rock fittingly applied for the time the story takes place, truly befitting the emotional roller coaster of Arnie’s journey and how Christine operates to hold onto him and get even with those who threaten their “love and bond” is another key attribute I consider underrated. In fact, Christine has one of my alltime favorite Carpenter scores. I remember working night shift back in October 2015, grooving to the film’s soundtrack, replaying the film in my head and its highlights—including just what Christine is capable of and how Arnie, his friend, the girl who cares about him, and the parents who failed to understand the agony and disappointment of the everyday plaguing their son are forever changed by the “damned car”—reaffirming its status in my mind as a classic deserved of a second look.


Kelly Preston, the hot blond surprisingly overlooked for Alexandra Paul.

I recall as a kid the film’s reputation. It was quite received as a creepy film not to watch alone at night. Now maybe that might not be the case anymore, but I return to how that resonated with a child curious with such a statement. Carpenter treating us to Christine reshaping its damaged carcass into a fine vehicular machine after the bullies had incapacitated her (including defecation!) with sledgehammers and blades is incredible even for 1983, and the way his camera exploits its radio just coming on when those around it are unwelcome and its ominous design (and the shot of its nose in closeup (hood, headlights, grill, and iconic Plymouth insignia) seemingly an expression of disapproval and rage when crossed the wrong way). I can’t help but look at Christine as a living, breathing force of nature not to be crossed…and Carpenter deserves credit for making that happen. But without Gordon and a fun cast of young faces as the backdrop of his decline, I can’t imagine this film being as long-lasting…




One of my favorite scenes in the film shows the near complete transformation of Arnie, as he issues a challenge to the wreckage of Christine to "show him" if she could repair herself.


John at work on set laying out a scene.


A favorite poster from my childhood



No comments:

Post a Comment

Battlestar Galactica - And So It Begins

I couldn’t help but think of the unease with AI and ongoing development of cybernetic beings created by man, improvements in the field o...

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Hal

Hal
There are many things under the sun
---Dr. Werdegast, The Black Cat

hal1

It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Jtm 2

Jtm 2

Rave

Rave

Mrub

Mrub

Gb

"Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

--Ghostbusters

sm6

sm6

Rv1

Rv1

Nas

Nas

nos3

nos3

Lok

Lok

Po

Po

Ra6

Ra6

dawn

dawn

Dracula's Daughter ('36)

Countess Zaleska: Be thou exorcised oh Dracula, and thy body long undead find destruction throughout eternity in the name of thy dark unholy Master.

mh2

mh2

z2

z2

Hiii

Hiii

Fred

Fred

Ghspo

Ghspo
Movie, so-so, but poster, cool

Enl

Enl

nos4

nos4

gm

To a new world of gods and monsters!


No 2

No 2
Jason Lives

clothes line

clothes line

Ahorr

Ahorr

Cbi1

Cbi1
Case of the bloody iris

Wsha

Wsha

Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
Freddy's Dead '91

Vyr

Vyr
Vampyres 1974

Sh fr

Sh fr
Friday the 13th Part 2

Vlov

Vlov
Carmilla's kiss

f133

f133

Edpos

Edpos

Ttf2

Ttf2

Jm2

Jm2
El Hombre Lobo

Psycho '60

It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Kife

Kife
Knife is calling, Psycho 2

Meg

Meg
Meg Tilly, Psycho II

ring 2

ring 2
the ring 2002, "the tape"

poster

poster

exor1

exor1
"the visitor" The Exorcist (1973)

Conj

Conj

Tz1

Tz1
"Masks", Twilight Zone

In the kitchen, The Shape

In the kitchen, The Shape
In the kitchen, The Shape

exc4

exc4

Ps56

Ps56

Hun

Hun
Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932

Ps89

Ps89

Cof

Cof
Victor and Paul, with their Monster

pcushig

pcushig

His

His

Efny

Efny

sus

sus
I'm going to grind you down to blood and screams.

--Innocent Blood 1992
Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

WZ

WZ

Edfen

Edfen
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Bs

Bs
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

linnea

linnea

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal

The h gang

The h gang

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Hp

Hp

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Hill

Hill

Castle

Castle

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

Mlove

Mlove

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

Vestron
Vintage VHS

sm 3

sm 3

Monique parent

Monique parent
Erotique in Review

Were5

Were5

f13

f13
November 2015

Bmate

Bmate

--Wes Craven

I think there is something about the American dream, the sort of Disneyesque dream, if you will, of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, God-fearing and doing good whenever they can, and the flip side of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, that gives American horror films, in some ways, kind of an additional rage.

Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

"Now, no novacaine....it dulls the senses"

--Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Christopher Lee

Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.

Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.