With Halloween almost upon us, thoughts of mischief, tricks, and mayhem fill the air. Around here, the Hotcars staff regale one another with dastardly car tales and truly malevolent automotive fables. Horror cinema that involves cars are some of our favorites. And what better car horror tale is there to be told, than John Carpenter's movie adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Christine (1983)?
Starring Keith Gordon as Arnie Cunningham, the creepy kid, John Stockwell, his friend, and Alexandra Paul as the love interest, amongst others, it follows Arnie's seduction and descent into madness by Christine - a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Right from the start you know this car is bad. It injures and kills people right on the assembly line and has a more than checkered history before it ends up in Arnie's hands.
Arnie was a hapless kid, got beat up a lot, and didn't have many friends. He worked after school at a local garage sweeping floors before Christine came into his life. She was a basket case when he bought her but he was determined to restore her despite protestations from friends that he was changing, and not for the better. I think they were right. With the completion of Christine so too was his possession by the car. He donned a new appearance, took on a rather repellent personality, and centered his life on Christine and only Christine. Reminds me of some people I know!
Christine was both jealous and possessive expressing her disagreement with Arnie and his friends in subtle ways like honking the horn, changing the radio station, and closing doors. But her most sinister habits were reserved for Arnie's enemies and those who sought to mar Christine's chrome-infused beauty. To those she would hunt down and kill. And kill she did before returning to her cozy little garage bay all banged up and transforming herself through some sort of demonic alchemy back to her pristine allure. As for the rest, I'll let you watch for yourself.
But boy, was she pretty! While she was ostensibly a 1958 Fury in the movie the actual car was a Belvedere. Plymouth offered her as an upscale two-door coupe with gold-anodized trim, a V-8 equipped with dual-quad carburetors, and a host of interior amenities. And look at that chrome and those tail fins! 50's cars were replete with chrome and over the top styling cues from the aviation and space industry - it was the jet age after all! - and Christine was no exception.
And while I never was a Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler man myself, I can see the attraction for young Arnie. So tell me, if you were to be possessed by a car, what model would it be? Hhhhhhmmmmm?!?!?! Buckle up.