Friday, July 8, 2016

Rock Around the Clock With Stephen King, or Thoughts on John Carpenter’s Christine

John Carpenter, after the success of Halloween (1978), and The Thing (1981), was able to film and release Christine (1983) in the same year that Stephen King published the novel.  The unexplained and supernatural premise that the car was evil from the start, injuring a foreman in the Detroit factory in a gristly hand chopping industrial accident, was innovative at the time.
Keith Gordon stars as Arnie Cunningham, a geeky high school student looking for a car, who restores a beater ’57 Plymouth Fury.  The high school boys acting like they’re in an 80’s teen sex comedy, which is a deliberate directorial choice to misdirect the audience and lull them into some sense of security.  The car gains power with each murder, along with Arnie, whose transformation from bullied high school loser to teen rebel through the power of rock and roll and of course, haunted killer cars is a highlight of the movie.
The haunted radio insists on playing Buddy Holly and other hits from the ‘50s, and this movie is in many ways a dark tribute to George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973). Cars are an important character in this movie; in addition to Christine, Harry Dean Stanton from Alien (1979) drives a 1977 Plymouth Fury, Dennis drives a bitchin’ ‘68 Dodge Charger, and Buddy Repperton (the bully, there’s always a bully in a Stephen King novel) drives a sweet 1967 Camaro complete with rally stripes. 
Together with Brian DePalma’s Carrie (1976) and The Shining (1980), Christine comprises the holy trinity of the best Stephen King movie adaptations to date.  Stephen King made his directorial debut with another haunted car movie, Maximum Overdrive (1986), which is to date his only director credit, though he does love his cameos.
Watch out for Alexandra Paul from Baywatch, as Leigh Cabot, the high school dream girl. Keith Gordon went behind the camera to direct episodes of House, Dexter, The Strain and Fargo.  John Stockwell as Arnie’s best friend Dennis also went on to a directing career with movies like Blue Crush (2002), Into the Blue (2005) and Turistas (2006).


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.