Friday, June 24, 2011

Fear Friday Presents "Christine"

Come on in all you Hep Dolls and Ghoulish Girls for another Fear Friday. Every Friday The Lounge will offer up a movie for your enjoyment. The movies can be a wide spread of the horror genre. From vintage to classic to slasher to thriller to the just plain cheesy. So get the popcorn popped, kill the lights and get ready for a little fright. This weeks selection...


Body by Plymouth. Soul by Satan.
John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing and Escape From New York) directed this film version of a Stephen King novel. Released on December 9, 1983 by Columbia Pictures. Arnie (Keith Gordon) is a loser until he meets Christine. Despite his best friend Dennis' (John Stockwell) attempts to stop him, Arnie buys the broken down Plymouth Fury and falls in love. Unfortunately, Christine is a jealous lover and Arnie's world quickly spins out of control.
This is one of my favorite movies. It's not too scary and the blood factor is very low. It's just a great little story. I know it varies greatly from the novel, but if you haven't read it then you're none the wiser. The nostalgia level is very high and probably one of the main reasons it appeals to me. Being a big fan of the fifties I love the Fury and all the great music she plays. Plus it's also a great look back at the late 70's. The cars they drive and the music they use (mostly 70's remakes of 50's songs) are all great. And John Stockwell was just so cute! Some of you might remember him from a few movies around this time. Now he directs movies and every now and then pops up in them. The movie is a bygone era on a few levels and I love it.

Favorite part is when Arnie says to Christine "Show me" and she proceeds to fix herself. Too cool.
A little trivia...
1. Scott Baio was considered to play Arnie Cunningham and Brooke Shields was considered for Leigh Cabot. But the film makers involved all felt the movie would be better served by casting "unknowns". (Thank goodness!!!)
2. Arnie's nemesis, Detective Rudolph Junkins, also drives a Plymouth Fury. The car Detective Rudolph Junkins is driving when he meets Arnie in the high-school parking lot is a 1977 or 1978 Plymouth Fury - a popular police car of the late 1970s.
3. Stephen King's popularity was such at the time that the film went into production before the book was even published.
4. To simulate the car regenerating itself, hydraulic pumps were installed on the inside of some of the film's numerous Plymouth Fury "stunt doubles", a mock-up in plastic that looked more like metal on camera than actual metal as it bent and deformed. These pumps were attached to cables, which were in turn attached to the cars' bodywork and when they compressed, they would "suck" the paneling inwards. Footage of the inward crumpling body was then reversed, giving the appearance of the car spontaneously retaking form.
5. Kevin Bacon was offered the lead role but ended up choosing Footloose (1984) instead.
6. According to Bill Phillips on the DVD Documentary, the movie technically didn't have enough violence to justify an "R" rating. But they were afraid that if the movie went out with a PG rating (PG-13 didn't exist yet), then nobody would go to see the movie. So he purposely inserted the word "fuck" and all its derivatives in order to get the "R" rating. He then commented that they were criticized at the time for their use of the word in the film.
7. As a joke, 'Alexandra Paul (I)''s twin sister, Caroline Paul, stood in for her during some scenes, most notably the ride on the bulldozer.
8. Stephen King suffered a near fatal car collision in 1999. In an example of life imitating art, King bought the van that struck him and personally beat it with a baseball bat before sending it to the junkyard to be destroyed.
9. After reading over the book, actor Keith Gordon (Arnie) and the costume designer came up with a visual way to show Arnie being possessed by Christine. As the movie progresses, Arnie begins to wear clothes that reflect the era of Christine's make. At various points, especially when Arnie is yelling at Leigh on the phone, Arnie is seen wearing button up shirts open with black t-shirts, black pants, and boots like a 1950's "greaser". When he's talking to Junkins (both times), he's wearing a leather vest over a button up shirt (a nod to western TV shows which were popular in the 50's), and he even starts to wear a red jacket like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

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