Christine (1983) Poster



For the French language dub version, John Stockwell's voice was dubbed by Lambert Wilson.
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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) nobody would go to see it. So he purposely inserted the word "fuck" and its derivatives in order to get the "R" rating. He then recalls that they were criticized at the time for their use of the word.
Stephen King's popularity was such at the time that the film went into production before the book was even published.
As a joke, Alexandra Paul's twin sister, Caroline Paul, stood in for her during some scenes, most notably the ride on the bulldozer.
When Christine hunts down the members of Buddy Repperton's gang, her windows are blacked out. This is presumably to give Christine a "sinister" appearance, but also, more practically, to conceal the stunt driver. However, this reportedly made it difficult for the driver to see, since these scenes were all filmed at night.
According to Keith Gordon on the DVD Commentary, he kept having trouble with Christine's TorqueFlite automatic transmission control. The 1958 Plymouths (along with all other Chrysler products that year) used push buttons to select "Reverse," "Neutral," "Drive," etc. (The buttons can be seen in some shots located near the steering column but are never seen being pushed in the film.) He says that it would routinely take several tries to put the transmission in gear. In a few instances, filming would be delayed so that a technician could repair the selector buttons, and even then he'd still have trouble with it.
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.
The opening scene, which shows Christine being "born" in Detroit, was added in for the movie; it was used to explain the origin of Christine's evil nature, which had been changed from the original Stephen King novel.
Keith Gordon (who plays Arnie) says on a DVD extra that he pretended the car was a woman, so wherever he touched the car, he imagined which part of a woman the car was.
According to the filmmakers in the DVD documentary, 28 Plymouth "Furys" (which in reality were Belvederes or Savoys) were purchased and restored for the film. A few were "showcase" cars that were used whenever Christine is just sitting there "looking pretty" or whenever Arnie is driving her. There were "hot rod" versions with souped up engines and airplane landing lights for the headlights for Christine's rampages. And there were "junked" and "shell" cars for the versions of Christine in disrepair or for her "death" scene. There is one way to tell which cars are the showcase hot rod cars and the stunt cars: if you look at the under grill beneath Christine's front bumper, the showcase cars have a chrome under grill while the stunt cars have a red painted under grill.
Kevin Bacon was offered the lead role but ended up choosing Footloose (1984) instead. At one point, Bacon was going to originally star in Dolan's Cadillac, another Stephen King story centered around a car.
Richard Kobritz, who had produced the film version of Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot (1979), was given some new unpublished manuscripts from King to consider for their next film adaptation. One was "Christine" and the other was "Cujo." Korbitz chose Christine because he thought Cujo was too silly.
Alexandra Paul pranked John Carpenter by having her twin sister dress as Leigh and report to the set. Carpenter recalled, "It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Alexandra was a pod person."
In the scenes where Christine is "autonomous", a green hue is prominent to indicate her "sentience". This is also visible in Maximum Overdrive (1986) in the scene where a green hue is seen in the night sky. Both are works of Stephen King.
Arnie's nemesis, Det. Rudolph Junkins, also drives a Plymouth Fury, most noticeable when he questions Arnie in the school parking lot. Junkins' car appears to be a 1977 or 1978 Plymouth Fury - a popular police car of the late 1970s.
The film was shot in the same neighbourhood that John Carpenter used in Halloween (1978).
Christine lives on with fans of the movie: there are 2 clubs for fans who own Christine clones. And the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals gives an award every year to the best Christine look-a-like.
Stephen King suffered a near fatal car collision in 1999. In an example of life imitating art, King hoped to bash the van with a baseball bat or a pickax once he healed. Unfortunately, his lawyer had bought the van and sent it to be demolished before he got the chance to do this.
Screenwriter Bill Phillips thought it was a joke when asked to adapt a book about a killer car. Halfway through reading Stephen King's novel, Phillips realised it was really good and signed on.
John Carpenter refused to go to the premiere because of a superstition. "When I go to premieres, something bad always happens."
Stephen King chose a '58 Plymouth Fury for Christine because it was a "forgotten car." "I didn't want a car that already had a legend attached to it like the '50s Thunderbird."
Keith Gordon was nervous about kissing Alexandra Paul, so he asked her to practice first.
One of the Plymouth Furys from the movie was sold for $167,000 in 2004.
15% of the budget just on the cars. By the end of filming, all but 2 were destroyed.
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".
According to Bill Phillips in the DVD Documentary, Robert Prosky (Will Darnell) asked Phillips to give him more dialog to make his character more interesting. Prosky cited the scene in the novel where Darnell offers Arnie a job, particularly the line "you can pick up around the place. Do a few lubes. And put the toilet paper on the spools..." So Phillips added the scene to the script, keeping the dialogue almost verbatim from the novel.
At the climax, Christine is clearly seen with a crumpled hood which resembles "teeth". After the initial confrontation with Dennis and the bulldozer, but before withdrawing into the shadows to reconstitute.
Christine's license plate begins "CQB" which is an acronym for "Close Quarters Battle".
Christine is said to be a 1958 Plymouth Fury, which had similar panels and trim to the 1957 model. When the Fury line was introduced, it was essentially a sport and trim package on the Belvedere - notably with two doors, gold anodized trim, gold grille and dual four-barrel carburetors. Christine, as shown in the movie, could have been any two door Belvedere with a 318 or 360 engine. Although over 5300 Furys - and far more Belvederes - were built in 1958, they have since become very rare and are now collector's items. There were between 13 and 16 (depending on source) Belvederes/Furys smashed in the making of the movie (out of the roughly 25 used), but it is unknown whether they were 1957 or 1958 models, or a combination. In any event, Plymouth enthusiasts were infuriated, although the movie popularized the car and probably saved many of them - in the same way that Back to the Future (1985) did for the DeLorean. In the original Stephen King book, the car had four doors, but this was changed to a two-door model when it was realized that there never was a four-door 1958 Plymouth Fury. Although all 1958 Plymouth Furys had Buckskin Beige exterior paint and gold anodized aluminum side trim and grille, the book mentions that this particular car was custom ordered in Ford red.
Darnell's was shot in a massive old wire factory. Half of it was made to look like a body shop and the other half was turned into an actual body shop to keep the Christines running.
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Before being offered the film, John Carpenter was working on adapting another Stephen King novel, Firestarter. It was eventually made as Firestarter (1984).
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John Carpenter blacked out Christine's windows so you don't know if Arnie is driving her.
John Stockwell (Dennis) had to take bulldozer driver lessons before filming.
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Det. Junkins, Arnie, and Dennis all drive Mopars. An acronym for Chrysler's "MOtorPARts". Chrysler Corporation (now FCA Automobiles since October 2014) used the term Mopar since the 1920s but became a brand since 1937 - it has became the default term for any Chrysler Corporation (FCA Automobiles) product (Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, DeSoto, Imperial (considered as the original core divisions inclusive of Jeeps, Fiats, and Eagles (Chrysler Corporation absorbed the former American Motors Corporation (AMC/Jeep) after Renault divested its shares where the Jeep/Eagle Division was formed after the AMC buyout (at the time American Motors and Jeep automobiles had the Chrysler TorqueFlite transmission used with their respective powertrains including those sourced from GM), not to mention Ram Trucks (spun off from the Dodge division in 2009) and Fiat (which in 2009 invested a 20% share with the Chrysler Group LLC that evolved into the modern day FCA Automobiles).
The possible origin of the killer car's name could possibly be from Christine (1958), another movie called Christine which was made in 1958, around the same time the Plymouth Fury was made.
Oak Park High School's football team was used to film the game, being a small school, all boys from the school had to be used to field both sides of the ball as well as the sidelines. OPHS uniforms were used by the defense, for the offense, league rival Carpenteria's Uniform was used.
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Stephen King later created two characters named for Harry Dean Stanton: Harry Terwilliger and Dean Stanton were the names of two of the guards in The Green Mile (1999), which also featured Stanton himself as Old Toot-Toot.
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The movie is set in 1978. Keith Gordon, who plays Arnie, was 17 in that year when he starred in Jaws 2 (1978).
Yet another in a long line of Stephen King thrillers with a woman's name in the title: starting with Carrie, progressing to Christine, Delores Claiborne, Misery and Rose Red.
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There are many similarities to the film Carrie released 7 years early. In both movies the main character is a high school outcast who is a target of bullies. The main character becomes possessed by a supernatural force. In both movies the main character uses the supernatural force to kill off their enemies.
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The characters Arnold (Arnie) Cunningham and Roland Lebay first names contain exactly the same letters.
This was considered a misfire, both by Stephen King fans and John Carpenter fans, and in the industry as a whole. Both the box office returns on this and the critical reaction were middling to mediocre, especially considering the talent involved. The reigning Devil-car movie is still Steven Spielberg's 1971 TV movie cult-classic Duel (1971).
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Nicholas Cage auditioned for the role of Buddy.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Among the many subplots in the book that didn't make it to film or were changed:
  • Roland LeBay himself sells the car to Arnie, but dies soon after
  • Will Darnell using the garage as a front for his smuggling business
  • Arnie getting arrested while smuggling cigarettes for Darnell
  • Darnell, who gets arrested on income tax evasion, is killed by Christine after it's implied he'll cut a deal with prosecutors to tell what he knows about the car
  • The romance between Leigh and Dennis is almost entirely removed
  • Det. Junkins is killed by Christine near the end
  • In the book, Christine is vandalized at an airport. Sandy Galton, an airport worker and a friend of Buddy Repperton's, serves as a lookout when Christine is vandalized. He soon skips town and at the very end is found to have been run over by a car, implying that Christine is alive again.
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 suede jacket like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
One of the stunt Furys used in the film - the one that runs over and kills Moochie - had a rubber front end. The car was destined for the salvage yard and has been restored using parts from the other "stunt" vehicles. The vehicle is now in private hands.
In the book, Arnie and Dennis worked on a construction crew over the summer. This is how Arnie saved up enough money to buy Christine and explains how Dennis knows how to drive the bulldozer. Actually, the book's finale does not feature a bulldozer but a pink semi truck named Petunia. Stephen King's idea for the final battle was two powerful "ladies" duking it out.
Screenwriter Bill Phillips and rocker George Thorogood filmed a cameo appearance as the junkyard workers who compress Christine and dropped the cube at the end; the sequence was cut because neither could act very well (as Phillips states in the documentary). It was also Phillips who suggested that they use George Thorogood's "Bad To The Bone" as the movie's theme song.
In the DVD Documentary, Bill Phillips says that he cut out the novel's plot line of the dead owner's spirit possessing Arnie and actually causing Christine to kill not only to save time and compress the story, but also because he didn't want it to look like they were copying An American Werewolf in London (1981) where Jack does the same thing to David.
Special Edition DVD contains 20 deleted, extended, or alternate scenes:
  • A brief scene of Arnie and Dennis driving to school, in which Arnie recites a dirty limerick
  • Alternate scene of Arnie being bullied by Repperton and his gang
  • Arnie driving to Darnell's in a junked out Christine
  • Arnie breaking down in anger in Dennis's car
  • Darnell and a friend talking to Arnie while he is fixing up Christine
  • Extended scene of Arnie's first visit to Dennis at the hospital
  • Extended scene of bullies trashing Christine, including Moochie defecating on the dashboard
  • Extended scene of Arnie and Leigh walking into Darnell's before discovering Christine
  • A scene in which a distraught Leigh visits Dennis in the hospital
  • Brief scene of Arnie's mother looking in on him while he is sleeping
  • Extended scene of Arnie's second visit to Dennis in the hospital
  • Alternate scene of Det. Junkins questioning Arnie in the school parking lot
  • Brief scene of Leigh telling Arnie over the phone that she can't see him any more
  • Brief scene of the gas station bully being crushed by a car, explaining his death rather than the implied death of being immolated in the gas station fire seen in the wide release
  • Extended scene of Det. Junkins questioning Arnie at Darnell's after Darnell's death
  • Alternate scene of Leigh calling Dennis
  • Extended scene of Leigh visiting Dennis at his house
  • Alternate scene of Arnie and Dennis driving in Christine, in which Arnie is speeding and drinking alcohol
  • A scene of Leigh and Dennis kissing in Dennis' car, and Arnie pulls up behind them and catches them
  • Extended scene of Dennis and Leigh waiting in the bulldozer for Christine to arrive
The following deleted scene is not included in the DVD, but is mentioned by screenwriter Bill Phillips during the featurettes:
When Arnie first brings Christine to Darnell's Garage, he walks back to Dennis' car and asks him to honk his horn. In the background, the bulldozer that will be used to destroy Christine can be seen.
In the movie, Darnell is killed when Christine basically crushes him inside of her. However, in the book, Darnell's death was much more crazy. In the book he had a heart asthmatic condition,which was his demise. In the book, Christine broke INTO his house through a picture window, and rammed his staircase over and over again while he tried to climb up. By now, he could barely breathe and his heart just stopped. He fell down the stairs, and Christine rammed him over and over again.

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