Christine (1983)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Based on the 1983 Stephen King novel, Christine tells the story of high school nerd Arnold “Arnie” Cunningham who becomes obsessed with a run-down 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine. As Arnie repairs Christine, he begins changing himself and not for the good. Arnie becomes disconnected with reality, his friends, and his family. However, when “enemies” of Arnie begin dying, the police and Arnie’s friends begin suspecting that there is something supernatural about Christine that is dangerous not only to Arnie, but to anyone who threatens Arnie’s relationship with Christine.

‘Christine’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Christine (1983)The film begins in late 1957 on an automobile assembly line. A red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury moves methodically through the line, but not without incident. The car injures a factory worker when its hood suddenly slams shut on the worker’s hand for no reason. Later, another worker sits in the driver’s seat while smoking a cigar. The worker flicks cigar ashes on the seat of the car. The car suddenly starts playing 1950’s rock and roll music. A short time later, the worker is found dead inside of the car.

The film then jumps to 1978. Arnold “Arnie” Cunningham is an awkward, nerdy teenager who has few friends and fewer opportunities. Arnold is often the target of ridicule and abuse from school bully Clarence “Buddy” Repperton (William Ostrander) and his gang. After Arnie and his best friend, Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell), get Buddy into trouble at school for carrying a switchblade, the bully is expelled. Buddy swears to get revenge on Arnie.

Not long after, Dennis and Arnie are driving home when Arnie sees the decaying Plymouth Fury sitting in the yard of a run-down home. Arnie inspects the car and tells a surprised Dennis that he wants to buy the car. The owner of the car, George LeBay (Roberts Blossom), tells Arnie that the car’s name is Christine and that he will sell it to Arnie for $250. Despite Dennis’ protests that the car is a piece of junk, Arnie buys the car. Arnie takes the car home and his strict parents, Regina and Michael Cunningham (Christine Belford and Robert Darnell), disapprove of his purchase and forbid him from keeping the car in their driveway.

Arnie is forced to store Christine at an auto garage and junkyard owned by Will Darnell (Robert Prosky). Arnie works out an arrangement with the junkman to do odd jobs around the garage in exchange for free access to spare parts in the yard. Arnie works tirelessly to restore Christine to prime condition. As the car is restored, Arnie’s appearance and personality begin to change. Arnie stops wearing his glasses and begins dressing much better. He also develops a cocky attitude and begins showing a contempt to many people in his life, although Dennis generally avoids his ire. Arnie’s relationship with his parents is outright hostile and occasionally Arnie turns physical with them.

Dennis is disturbed by his friend’s behavior and becomes concerned that Arnie is obsessed with Christine. At one point, Dennis returns to LeBay to ask about the car. LeBay informs him that his brother originally owned the car, and that LeBay inherited Christine when his brother and his sister-in-law killed themselves in the car. LeBay also informs Dennis that his niece choked to death in the car as well.

The kid was cut in half Arnie, they had to scrape his legs up with a shovel. Rudolph Junkins (Harry Dean Stanton)

At the same time, an attractive new girl, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul), enrolls at Arnie and Dennis’ school. Leigh shoots down every guy that asks her out, including Dennis who passes over the attractive Rosanne (Kelly Preston) to pursue Leigh. However, Leigh does agree to go out on a date with Arnie to one of Dennis’ football games. Dennis is so distracted by the sight of Arnie and Leigh together that he is severely injured during a play on the field. As a result, Dennis ends up in the hospital and his football career comes to an end. More importantly, Arnie and Dennis begin spending less time together.

Arnie and Leigh’s relationship continues to progress, and Arnie begins to become more sexually aggressive. However, Leigh is uncomfortable in Christine and accuses Arnie of caring more for the car than her. One rainy night at a drive-in movie, Arnie gets out of the car to fix a windshield wiper, leaving Leigh in Christine alone. The car’s radio suddenly turns on and begins playing 1950’s rock and roll music, and Leigh begins choking on her food. Arnie tries to get into Christine to help Leigh but finds that the doors are locked. Leigh eventually frees herself, and another drive-in patron performs the Heimlich maneuver to save her life. After the incident, Leigh tells Arnie she will not get into the car again.

Not long after, Buddy and his gang decide to enact their revenge on Arnie by destroying Christine. They break into Darnell’s shop and smash Christine with sledgehammers. Arnie discovers the destruction the next day while with Leigh. Leigh tries to console Arnie, but he lashes out and breaks up with her. Later that night, Arnie returns to the garage alone, and Christine repairs herself in front of him.

Christine and Arnie then seek their revenge against Buddy’s gang. That evening, Christine chases down Peter “Moochie” Welch (Malcolm Danare) and kills him by pinning him against a brick wall, severing his legs from his torso. Moochie’s death brings out the police. Detective Rudy Junkins (Harry Dean Stanton) questions Arnie in the parking lot of the school about Moochie’s violent death. However, Arnie provides an alibi. Not long after, Christine goes after the rest of Buddy’s gang. She corners Buddy and his friends in a gas station. Christine smashes into Buddy’s car repeatedly and kills Buddy’s fellow gang members. Eventually, Christine’s activities start a fire that blows up the gas station. Buddy tries to escape on foot, but an engulfed in flames Christine runs down Buddy in the middle of the road.

A short time later, a smoldering Christine returns to Darnell’s garage. Darnell sees the car pull in and goes to investigate since he doesn’t see the driver. Darnell climbs into the car and ends up being crushed against the steering wheel by the seat. The next day, Arnie arrives to find the police processing the scene of the crime. Once again, Christine is brand new and shows no damage from the night before. Junkins questions Arnie again, who has another alibi during the time of the murder.

Leigh and Dennis meet and discuss their concerns for Arnie. They are each convinced that Arnie has become obsessed with the car and that Christine is evil. They conclude that the only way to save Arnie is to destroy Christine, and they come up with a plan to trap and demolish the car. Their plan is to lure Christine back into Darnell’s garage and smash her with a bulldozer. However, Christine surprises them both when she emerges from underneath a scrap pile and tries to run down Leigh. Leigh runs into Darnell’s office and when Christine crashes into the office, Arnie is thrown through the windshield, revealing him as the driver. Arnie is impaled on a large piece of glass. He reaches out and touches Christine’s front grill before he dies.

However, Christine continues her attack against Leigh and Dennis. Dennis uses the bulldozer against her, but she continually regenerates herself. Ultimately, Dennis and Leigh corner Christine and flatten her with the bulldozer. The next day, Dennis, Leigh, and Junkins watch as the remains of Christine are crushed in a compressor in the junkyard. Dennis and Leigh regret not saving their friend. None of them notice as Christine’s grill twitches ever so slightly.

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Our Rating

Columbia Pictures released Christine on December 9, 1983. John Carpenter directed the film starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, and Alexandra Paul.

User Rating: 2.95 ( 4 votes)
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