Christine (John Carpenter, 1983, USA)

Christine marks the first and only collaboration between legendary horror author Stephen King and legendary horror director John Carpenter. In retrospect, the project was largely a paycheck for Carpenter, whose passion project The Thing (1982) had bombed both critically and commercially. King, meanwhile, was still at the peak of his critical and commercial relevance. Carpenter's film arrived at the tail end of what we can broadly call the "auteur" era of King adaptations - when major directors were all taking their stamp and applying it to King's most essential material. 

Christine is notable for being released in the same year in which the novel came out. Bill Phillips' script wisely dispenses with a lot of material from the novel, which is overly long. Notably, he removes much of the romantic material between two of our teenage leads (Dennis and Leigh) and removes a backstory involving Christine the car's former owner Roland Lebay. Removing Lebay removes some of the confusion of the novel - Christine is just pure evil from the get-go here. Carpenter does his best with the source material, and much of what is going on here is so campy and over-the-top that Carpenter is surely in on the joke.

The film was a success when it came out, and many today consider it to be one of the better King adaptations. While it is clear that Carpenter wasn't as personally interested in this project as many of his other films, he still imbues the film with his style. Notably, the set pieces when Christine begins to attack are impressive, particularly the scene in which she catches on fire. Carpenter's score here, written with Alan Howarth, is one of his most captivating and evocative across his entire filmography. Recommended for fans of both King and Carpenter, even if some of the performances are a bit weak.



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