Christine: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is not one of the cool kids at his high school, more like one of the nerds. He is a level headed, intelligent young man however, he gets great grades, listens to his parents, and makes responsible decisions. At least he did, until he met Christine. No, Christine wasn’t the hottest girl in school, in fact she wasn’t even much of a looker. Christine was a blood red 1958 Plymouth Fury, one that had seen better days. But Arnie was so taken with the automobile, he struck a deal on the spot to make it his own. The car belonged to a man who loved it with all of his heart, but a tragic accident claimed his life and left the car in damaged condition. But Arnie ignores all that and purchases the car, as he cannot pass up such a sweet ride. His parents are shocked that he would make such a large purchase on his own, especially a purchase of a banged up old car that he’d never shown any interest in before. As such, he is ordered to find somewhere else to store the car while he restores its condition. He finds a spot at a local garage, as well as a job, so he works there in exchange for parts for Christine. As he works on his new car, his persona starts to change and he takes on a darker side. Is this transformation a natural part of growing up, or is there a darker force that surround Christine?

A mint condition 1958 Plymouth Fury would be a dream come true to most folks, but in the case of Christine, the more appropriate word would be nightmare. John Carpenter (Halloween, Ghosts of Mars) directs this eerie tale of vehicular manslaughter, which was based on the writings of one Stephen King himself. I’ve always liked Christine and considered it an often overlooked film, which is a real shame. Even Carpenter seems to distance himself, which is curious, since this is much better than some of his more recent efforts. Perhaps the lack of graphic violence and bloodshed keeps some folks at a distance, but a horror movie doesn’t need those elements to succeed. Instead, Christine relies on eerie atmosphere and a dark tone, which supply more than enough tension and scare chances. I think the premise of a car gone wild is a fun one and while Christine follows a formula of sorts, this change in main menace provides some freshness to the concept. Not to mention some wicked special effects, especially the killer sequence in which Christine revives herself. I wouldn’t call this one of the greatest horror movies ever, but for genre buffs, Christine is a fun film that deserves more attention. This piece of classic 80s horror cinema has been issued before on DVD, but Columbia has replaced that lame disc with an all new Special Edition. So whether you own the previous release or not, this new version is well worth the upgrade, with the addition of some terrific supplements.

Video: How does it look?

Christine is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This appears to be the same visual treatment from the previous disc, but perhaps the extra space of a dual layered disc has allowed the transfer to improve a shade. The image just looks a little crisper in this edition, though the difference is not a monumental one. I was pleased to find no debris evident and minimal grain, both of which usually haunt titles of this level, but I also noticed no signs of compression flaws in the least. This film displays some nice colors and this transfer makes them look terrific, vivid hues and no bleeds, also natural flesh tones can be found here. Also impressive is the contrast, which sports a very high level of detail and dead on shadow layering at all times. This is a just a great visual treatment, much better than you might expect for a two decades old horror film.

Audio: How does it sound?

Sadly, the audio is the same as the previous version also, which means no full on Dolby Digital 5.1 surround remix. The included 2.0 surround option isn’t a lost cause, but this movie needs more than a little bit of punch. The surrounds come to life at times, but this one could be a hotbed for atmospheric use of the rear channels. Some tension is added thanks to the soundtrack, but not even close to the level that a skilled remix could afford. The music comes through well, while dialogue is smooth and never hindered in the least. This disc also includes Portuguese, Spanish, and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Thai, should you need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The original release had no supplements whatsoever, so this new Special Edition makes sure to pile on the goodies. John Carpenter provides an audio commentary track, in which he is joined by star Keith Gordon. As usual, Carpenter offers some great insights and while you can tell he isn’t that proud of the film, he does keep his comments positive. Gordon is a great speaker also, whether when telling his own stories or prompting Carpenter. A total of twenty deleted scenes is up next, followed by not one, not two, but three brand new featurettes. These are interview pieces, but they have a lot of worthwhile information. I was let down by the lack of a theatrical trailer, but some talent files do round out the supplements.

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