Carpenter’s ‘Christine’ Gets a 4K Treatment

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After making us truly miserable last week, Sony has decided to do something good for the horror fans all over the world, and for that we are grateful. (I won’t forget that mess with ‘The Crow’ though, I’m watching you Sony).

Sony has announced that they will release 4K Ultra HD edition of John Carpenter’s ‘Christine’ on September 11th. This next-generation edition debut will be a celebration of ‘Christine’s’ 35th Anniversary. The refreshed edition of ‘Christine’ will include the feature film in 4K with HDR, Dolby Atmos Soundtrack and the film on high-def Blu-ray. I won’t bore you with the technical details of the exquisite quality of 4K resolution, but I will tell you that the Blu-ray bonus material will have some deleted scenes, commentary with John Carpenter and Keith Gordon, as well as three featurettes: ‘Christine: Ignition’, ‘Christine: Fast and Furious’ and ‘Christine: Finish Line’. In other words, you will want this one in your collection.

Stephen King wrote ‘Christine’ back in 1983. For those of you who somehow stumbled onto this website and don’t know what Christine is, it is a red and shiny 1958 Plymouth Furry, possessed by the evil spirit of its previous owner. Apparently, King chose Plymouth Fury because it was forgotten. It was a beautiful car, which just inexplicably disappeared off the map and no one seemed to care. Needless to say, now everyone knows the car because it is one of the most celebrated cars in cinematic history.

Back in 1983, King already had some very lucrative and critically successful ecranisations done based on his books. With ‘Carrie’ in 1976, ‘Salem’s Lot’ mini-series in 1979 and ‘Shining’ in 1980, one doesn’t have to wonder why Columbia began filming ‘Christine’ before it was even published. The book hit the stores in April of 1983, and the movie hit the theaters just a few months later, in December. Unfortunately, ‘Christine’ became a disappointment for both King and Carpenter, as it grossed only 21 million. Today it is considered to be a cult classic, but back then… To tell you the truth, I’m not sure why it flopped back then. During the 80es gore was all the rave, so it could be the fact that ‘Christine’ fought to get an R rating. Columbia was adamant that it gets the big R because they felt that it will attract the younger audience. Carpenter really struggled with that, and he just finally decided to add more “F” words and foul language, to get the R rating. His vision of the ‘Christine’ wasn’t about the blood, as much as it was about the obsession and human relation and conflicts. I actually love that about the film. It gives it the depth that most horror movies from that period lack.

Carpenter also wanted unknown actors, because he thought they would be more relatable. I couldn’t agree more. Keith Gordon, who then starred as one of the skimpy teenagers in ‘Jaws 2’, got the lead, and he pulled it off masterfully. He was terrific in those parts where he played the dorky Arnie harassed by the bullies, and he was equally terrific as a madman he later had to become. John Stockwell was equally as good as Dennis, the best friend of our lead guy, and young Alexandra Paul brought a great performance as Arnie’s girlfriend, Leigh.

‘Christine’ is a great movie, and I strongly recommend it, but there is one thing that I wasn’t a fan of. First off, the movie is very different than the book. Carpenter set a completely different and much sunnier tone with it, and that was his legitimate right. I actually think that the tone was completely fitting to an on-screen vision of ‘Christine.’ After all, it is a teenage horror movie. However, in order to set that tone, Carpenter had to get rid of the whole evil-spirit-possession part of the book. So Carpenter got rid of Roland LeBay. I always felt that LeBay’s character was an integral part of the story, and it was in the novel. What Carpenter did, gave us a different, but equally as good plot. Carpenter made a lighter story in terms of the paranormal, but much heavier one when it comes to Arnie’s relationship with the car. If, however, the car remained possessed by LeBay in the movie, Arnie would probably be less attached to it as an object. Basically, I think that Carpenter made a horror which was too deep for the 80s, and that’s exactly why it became a cult classic years later.

“She was born in Detroit … on an automobile assembly line. But she is no ordinary automobile. Deep within her chassis lives an unholy presence. She is CHRISTINE – a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury whose unique standard equipment includes an evil, indestructible vengeance that will destroy anyone in her way. She seduces 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon), who becomes consumed with passion for her sleek, rounded chrome-laden body. She demands his complete and unquestioned devotion, and when outsiders seek to interfere, they become the victims of Christine’s horrifying wrath.”

 

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