A great horror movie makes more of an impression on the psyche than any other kind of film. Hell, even a bad horror flick can scar you for life. There’s a phrase that every seasoned horror fan loves to hear: “Have you ever seen . . . ?” For the next 31 days, John E. Meredith will unearth some of his personal favorites that fell through the cracks, that are not so obvious, the kind that might even sneak up on you while you’re trying to sleep. Christine 1983, USA. Directed by John Carpenter. Written by Bill Phillips, from the novel by Stephen King. Starring Keith Gordon, Alexandra Paul, John Stockwell, Harry Dean Stanton. Can a movie win your heart with a single image or scene? John Carpenter did it with CHRISTINE, a thrilling ride in a bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury that’s straight outta hell. Someone else might try to tell you otherwise, but don’t you believe it. This is one awesome movie, if only for that one truly kick-ass scene. Stephen King’s novel, the source of Carpenter’s film, made it clear that the car was possessed by the evil spirit of its previous owner, Roland D. LeBay. But in the movie, she was just born bad. As she’s rolling off the assembly line, George Thorogood is growling away about being bad to the bone, and all the other cars are white, while she is fire-engine red. Before she’s even left the line, she takes a bite out of one inspector’s hand and teaches another that it’s not good to drop cigar ashes on her seats. Buddy Holly’s singing about not fading away now, but when we see our car again that’s exactly what’s happened to her. She’s almost twenty-one, and she’s never been in worse shape. Even then, when Arnie sees her after his first day as a high school senior, it’s love at first sight. Creepy old George LeBay introduces them, telling Arnie that her name is Christine. Arnie is already inside of her, stroking her steering wheel. “I like that,” he says. The first 45 minutes are essentially from the perspective of Arnie’s unlikely best friend Dennis. He’s not just Arnie’s best friend, but really the only friend he’s ever had. Dennis has just saved Arnie from getting clobbered by Buddy Repperton in his automotive class, and he tries to save him from Christine as well. But his friend is obsessed. Against everyone’s wishes, he buys the car and starts to bring her back to life. It seems to bring Arnie to life too. He loses his glasses and his awkwardness, not to mention getting the hot new girl at school as his girlfriend. Dennis knows that something’s wrong, but he gets injured in a football game and laid up in bed for a while. Then the movie shifts its perspective, and we see exactly how hopelessly in love Arnie is with Christine. But the real fun starts after Buddy and his goons take their revenge on Arnie by trashing his car. They don’t know that Christine has a tendency to come back. The bullies are leaving a convenience store when a pair of high beams comes alive behind them, getting closer and closer. Buddy thinks he’s lost the vehicle, pulling in to the garage where one of his friends works. He gets out just in time to see Christine tearing into the parking lot, smashing directly into his car. After shaking his car loose from her front bumper, Christine crashes into the garage, killing his friends. Gasoline pools around the floor. There is a spark, then flames. Christine pulls out of the inferno, completely engulfed in flames. Buddy is running. The gas station explodes. There is a shot of the road at night, Carpenter’s trademark wide-screen Panavision. The music is pulsing, tense. And the money shot: The bully hauling ass up the road. Terrified. The car is coming up behind him, totally on fire. Engulfed, like a thing from Hell. An image from a gearhead’s wet-dreams. Just the car and the fire and the music. Oh, hell yeah. There’s a bump, and then a burning corpse left behind in the road. Take me, Mr. Carpenter, I’m yours now. If you can believe it, I had a friend who said there was only one good scene in CHRISTINE. No way, man. It’s got some glitches, but this is a classic. But I humored him, asking which scene was the only good one. I assumed it was the same one that thrilled me, but he said, “The part in the garage where the car regenerates itself. Only good scene, dude.” No waaaay. This set me to thinking about other horror movies that, more or less, only had one scene to recommend them. That one moment or image in an otherwise less-than-stellar movie, which nonetheless makes the whole damn thing worth checking out. Not that this is one of those movies. Don’t even try it, I will fight you. BOOGEYMAN (2004) The opening scene, where a little boy is terrorized by the title haunt, is incredibly tense. Then his father tries, unsuccessfully, to show him that the Boogeyman doesn’t really exist. AMUSEMENT (2008) The rest of this movie is utterly forgettable. Truly. I really don’t remember another single scene beyond this one. Someone is on the phone with a friend, whose house they are watching . . . or something. They ask the friend why in the hell they would have a huge creepy clown doll. The friends answer: “What creepy clown doll? We don’t have one of those.” Ohhhhhh!! THE MESSENGERS (2007) Kristen Stewart holding a child (no, wait, there’s more) who can see evil ghostly entities, trying to determine where the creepy wraith is, when it looms right up behind them. MOTHER OF TEARS (2007) Sorry, Dario. The only tears were from us who waited so long for this disappointing end of the Three Mothers trilogy. But there is that scene where someone gets strangled by their own intestines . . . MOTEL HELL (1980) The climax involves a chainsaw fight in a meat factory, with Farmer Vincent wearing a pig’s head as a mask. CHOPPING MALL (1986) Guess what? There’s no chopping whatsoever, nor do we even have a slasher. But we do have security robots with a screw loose . . . and a brief but awesome exploding head. LEPRACHAUN IN THE HOOD (2000) Some kids need money to enter a rap contest, so they steal the Leprechaun’s gold medallion, unleashing him for a punning spree set to a hip-hop beat. Ice-T sucks so bad that it’s downright horrific. THE CHANGELING (1980) When a ball belonging to a dead kid is tossed off a bridge, but, later, comes bouncing back down the stairs at General Patton. ONE DARK NIGHT (1982) aka, ONE GOOD SCENE. SQUIRM (1976) Drowning in a pool of worms is probably pretty horrible, but it looks amazing. If that doesn’t do it for you, try this one from the same director . . . JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981) I liked this more than anyone else who’s ever seen it, but I didn’t like it that much until the final twenty minutes. Our final girl starts applying makeup like she’s putting on warpaint, which was pretty much what she was doing. If she had been as bad-ass in the first 80 minutes as she was in the last ten, this movie would have been undeniable. THE PARASITE (1982) Exploding face, need I say more? Well, then how about a young Demi Moore in a pair of really tight shorts? SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983) If you haven’t seen this, when the ending comes you’ll have a look on your face just like the main character does. THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1983) Seven sorority sisters wanting revenge on their house mother is a big WHATEVER. But that creepy clown-jester dude . . . why couldn’t the whole movie been about THAT? SIGNS (2002) Sorry M. Night Sha Na Na, but, other than the alien suddenly walking across the screen, I was mostly experiencing an out-of-body experience . . . of boredom. SPECIES (1997) Sure, she’s a hot reptilian chick just wanting to get it on, but her back-of-the-skull French kiss was the only time I was abducted by this alien. HOUSE OF WAX (2005) When Paris Hilton gets the pole . . . GHOST SHIP (2002) Okay, I more or less got into this, but the only scene that really wowed me was the upper deck razor wire trick. MONSTURD (2003) Yeah, it’s a big piece of shit, but you can’t miss the Pepto Bismol water-gun showdown. DEADLY FRIEND (1986) When that basketball goes hurtling into Anne Ramsey’s head . . . priceless. JASON X (2001) Who knew you could freeze someone’s face in liquid nitrogen, then bust it to smithereens on a counter top? Good to know. CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA (1960) I can put up with watching Robert Towne and some kinda pirates steal some kind of Treasury loot for seventy minutes just to see the creature jumping up behind a pair of lovers at the end, in all of his Cookie Monster googly-eyed goodness. See larger image Christine [Blu-ray] Includes:– Deleted Scenes– Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Keith Gordon– Three featurettes (Christine: Ignition; Christine: Fast and Furious; Christine: Finish Line) New From: $9.99 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.