Every year we have a tradition in the Forto house where we celebrate the greatest month of the year, October, with scare your socks off, hide under the covers, turn on all the lights, sleep with one eye open, fright fest, movie marathon every night of the month! We call it 31 Days of Horror.
31 Days of Horror. Day 10 Christine
This is one of my favorite King book adaptations even though the premise is kinda bizarre. As many of you know I am a classic monster movie kind of guy and when a movie comes out where a car can kill you it is just a little out there. Kinda like this movie I watched a few weeks ago called Rubber.
Like with most King movies the book is always better than the movie but Christine was worth the hour and a half to watch. Check it out AFTER you read the book if you havent done so already.
Christine was said to be a 1958 Plymouth Fury, which had similar panels and trim to the 1957 model. When the Fury name was introduced, it was essentially a sport and trim package on the Belvedere – notably 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 350 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 13 or 16 (depending on source) Belvederes/Furys smashed in the making of the movie (out of the roughly 25 used during filming), 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 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.
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”.
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.
Stephen King’s popularity was such at the time that the film went into production before the book was even published.
Kevin Bacon was offered the lead role but ended up choosing Footloose instead.
The license plate of Christine reads begins with “CQB” which is an acronym for “Close Quarters Battle”.
The opening scene in the movie which shows Christine being “born” in Detroit was added in for the movie; the scene does not appear in the Stephen King novel.
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 but the sequence was cut because neither one could act very well (as Phillips states in the documentary). It was Phillips who also suggested that they use Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone” as the movie’s theme song.
As a joke, Alexandra Paul’s twin sister, Caroline Paul, stood in for her during some scenes, most notably the ride on the bulldozer.
The possible origin of the killer car’s name could possibly be from Christine, another movie called Christine which was made in 1958, around the same time the Plymouth Fury was made.
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.
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.