Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



There have been a lot of movies made from the books of Stephen King, ranging from wonderful to truly dreadful. This one falls somewhere in the middle range in terms of story, which can seem pretty silly at times and has a lot of plot holes and unexplained happenings, but I have always felt it is among the very best in terms of visual excitement and creepiness. Spooks and insane butchers don’t scare me in the movies. I can enjoy them, but never believe in them. So am I saying that I believe in a 1958 Plymouth Fury that has a malevolent intelligence in her? Yes!!! For the duration of this movie, anyway. It never goes for the cheap scare, each scene of horror is carefully set up and the tension is made to build wonderfully. The car stalks its prey through the night like a great hungry sea monster, moving slowly but inexorably until it unleashes the awesome power of that 350-horsepower Detroit mill under the hood. (Those were the days, weren’t they? We didn’t have electric cars. What we had was “family” cars like Dad’s 1958 Mercury or 1960 Pontiac that could reach 120 mph without breathing hard. Bench seats, kids standing up in back, and no seat belts!) All the while her radio is playing the appropriate golden oldie—while stalking and crushing the fat bully, it’s “Little Bitty Pretty One.” It’s a stroke of cinematic genius, and far creepier than having her talk. The scenes of Christine rebuilding herself are jaw-dropping, but the one image I retain above all others is the burning car backing out of the gas station inferno and then driving through the night. I’d still like to know how they did that. They say that somewhere between 13 and 16 Plymouths were restored and then totaled in the making of this movie. Sad to see such magnificent beasts destroyed, but it was in a worthy cause.