By Raymond Knowby


One of King’s better book-to-movie translations has John Carpenter at the helm directing the screen adaptation. There are liberteries taken from the novel, of course, since you can’t cram a 500+ page hardback into ninety minutes without repercussions, but the overall flow of the source material is very much alive and well.

Arnold Cunningham (Keith Gordon), nerd personification, falls in love with a demonic ’57 Plymouth Fury, and soon it changes him altogether. After buying it from a suspicious dealer and restoring her to uncanny glory, his acne clears up, the hottest girl in school falls for him, and all those who used to mock him end up in pieces. As his personality succumbs further to the evil spell of the possessed vehicle, his best friend Dennis (John Stockwell) joins with his concerned new female interest (Alexandra Paul) and attempts to destroy the diabolical machine.

It’s a pretty decent ride, honestly. Solid Carpenter-styled direction (the man and his chosen directors of photography have always done wonders with the 2.35.1 screen aspect ratio) along with another of his own minimalist synthesizer scores hold this together with a convincing cast that includes Roberts Blossom, Robert Prosky, and Harry Dean Stanton. Gordon, in particular, is especially effective in his sympathetic portrayal, switching between oppressed high school geek and dangerous bad boy psychopath with impressive believability.

Arnie Cunningham and Dennis Guilder check out a dilapidated CHRISTINE.