Bluray Review – Christine (1983)

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How do you kill something that can’t possibly be alive?

I forget how many classic movies and great directors worked on these movies. Just look at this lineup, Depalma Carrie, Kubrick The Shining, Carpenter Christine, Reiner Stand By Me and Misery, Darabont Shawshank and The Mist. There have been a lot of King adaptations through the years but this is one of the best.

I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure how this differs from King’s original novel, but this comes across as male fantasy gone awry. Arnie is an awkward, unpopular teen whose life changes when he buys and repairs the titular car, a red Plymouth Fury that only plays ’50s rock and roll. He even gets a girlfriend, but his real love affair is with Christine. Too bad it’s a killer car that also turns Arnie into an arrogant jerk.
Fantastically directed by Carpenter. I could talk about light through fog and steam. I could talk about focused light directed head-on at the audience. I could talk about the way light reflects off of chrome and leather and vinyl. I could talk about the way the car is also a shark. I could talk about how that Caterpillar is like a chainsaw with full-on tread-action. I could talk about the hypnotic pull of nostalgia and its ultimate toxicity. I won’t, though. I don’t need to talk about any of those things. There is a boy in love and he becomes alive in love and he dies in love and his love outlives him. His is a song which predates him and echoes long past his end.

Now this is one of the first releases from the new kids on the home release block, Indicator/Powerhouse Films. They have used the same master from Sony that has been released in Germany. Apart from some minor crushed blacks and the odd spike in grain it looks pretty much perfect, absolutely stunning.
They have also supplied a wide range of special features. The highlight being a multiple part 45 minute making of. Split into pre-production, production and post-production it details how Carpenter got involved with the film, details of the special effects and also the reviews and reactions of the film on release. The most interesting feature is an Isolated Score track (which is included on the Twilight Time release), the audio of the film is completely stripped leaving only the score, it really makes you appreciate how good Carpenters music is. A wide range of deleted scenes, totalling nearly 30 minutes, are included. They’re good, but are easy to see why they were deleted, none of them really advance the story any. Exclusive to this release is a 24-page full colour booklet which includes an essay by film historian John Billington and a piece from Carpenter himself, written 13 years after the release of the film, looking back on the film.

With the best master available and extensive special features, THIS is the most definitive release of Christine there is. Very highly recommended.

Peter Fletcher

Horror | USA, 1983 | 18 | Powerhouse Films | 24th October 2016 (UK) | Dir.John Carpenter | Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Harry Dean Stanton | Buy:Christine [Dual Format] [Blu-ray]