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March 25, 2013

Movie Review: Christine (Blu-ray)

Man's fascination with the automobile - specifically the sports car - seems to never go away. To some car enthusiasts it's for it's become a replacement for a relationship. After watching Twilight Time's Blue-ray release of John Carpenter's Christine after about 20 years from the last time a viewed it, I couldn't help but remember an old neighbor I used to have who was similar to the title character. Our neighbor, Mr. Rushing, was a portly angry s.o.b who loved to show off his corvette to the neighborhood. He'd baby the thing and treat it with more love than both his wife and kids. At one point, in public, at a barbecue he slapped the shit out of his eight year-old because the kid sprinkled water on the car's tire. Father of the year, he ain't.

Stephen King may have seen a few of these guys during his life, which may or may not have inspired his popular best-selling novel. The only thing really different from my neighbor is that in King’s vision we have little possession sprinkled in with the obsession. And, it's also entertaining.

Arnie (Keith Gordon, Dressed to Kill, Back to School) is an awkward teen who doesn't have too many friends aside from a jock named Dennis, (John Stockwell, Top Gun). Naturally, he's not much of a ladies’ man either - that is until he meets Christine, a 1958 Plymouth Fury from hell. No one will get in the way of Arnie’s obsession with Christine – not his parents, a group of bullies or even his new girlfriend. She’s a true fatal attraction.

Christine is very much a horror film; Carpenter's film just isn't the gore-filled slasher common of the films released around the same time in the 80’s. This might have turned people off upon its initial release, which is a shame, but truth be told it’s a fine film that with solid performances and some excellent bursts of action. Gordon shows great progression from nerd to a confident, arrogant Arnie that’s almost a complete transformation. Character actors Robert Prosky, Roberts Blossom (Deranged) lend their talents beautifully to two of the more eccentric (and memorable) roles. Prosky is filthy, sloppy awesomeness!

Twilight Time’s restoration of Christine is pretty fantastic. I noticed in night scenes where there was substantial improvement in the picture. If you’ve ever been wondering how cool a flaming possessed Plymouth Fury looks in HD, look no further than this release. Sound is just as strong, and of course, we do have yet another isolated score among the extras which has been a big part of many of Twilight Time’s releases.

(Mild Spoilers)

The supplements on Twilight Time's Blu-ray of Christine are pretty stellar as you get some featurettes a generous helping of deleted scenes and an excellent commentary with John Carpenter and star Keith Gordon. The deleted scenes are a mixed bag that will surely entertain more of the die-hard Christine fans. The 
scene where Christine is trashed by the bullies is much longer and shows some footage that is just talked about in the film. This in particular was a cool deleted scene.

I had a very good time with the audio commentary with Gordon and Carpenter. Gordon has a lot of positive things to say about Carpenter, one of the main things being that he inspired him to direct (Dexter, The Chocolate War). The set was also very loose as compared to other film Gordon acted in. It’s just a very friendly and informative listen that’s well worth the time.

This title, as of writing, is out of print. It went quick, literally hours but that really isn’t too much of a surprise. Twilight Time really does a masterful job here so if you can get your hands on it, expect a first-class package. Highly Recommended.

For the purchasing of any Twilight Time releases please head on over to Screen Archives.

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