Monday, 7 November 2011

Christine, by Stephen King:

Ever wondered about those guys who say: “I love my car”, and look like they really mean it? Have you ever sympathized with wives and girlfriends who had a pained expression on their face as they complained: “He loves that car more than me”?
Christine is a 1958 Plymouth Fury, as red as the blood spilt during every term of ownership, in one of author Stephen King’s best horror stories about man’s abiding passion for cars, the need for speed, a greedy jealous love, and an obsession that turns into possession.
Arnie Cunningham is a lonely dork, bullied and rejected at school because of his looks and demeanor, in a plot thread reminiscent of King’s earlier book, Carrie, with the tormented being pushed to breaking point and taking bloody revenge on their tormentors. In Christine, the bullies are rebel Buddy Repperton and his gang, who torture weaker kids whenever they get the chance. Arnie’s only friend is football playing jock, Dennis Guilder, who narrates the story as a witness to the unfolding horror and ensuing tragedy. Arnie’s talent and passion is for auto-mechanics and he yearns for his own set of wheels. When he sees Christine, rusting and rotting away, in caustic old timer Roland D. Lebay’s driveway, it’s love at first sight.
Unknown to Arnie, Christine is possessed by a malign evil force that at first seduces and then destroys every owner.
Arnie’s attitude changes with his taste in clothes. His mood becomes darker and belligerent as he fixes up Christine, wins the most lusted-after girl in school, Leigh Cabot, and then alienates both his parents and Dennis.
For a while, Christine becomes the only good thing in Arnie’s life. She makes him feel invincible. But, like some bad people in society; the narcissistic, the sociopathic, those with no conscience who use, discard when there’s nothing left, then move on to the next victim, Christine is spiteful, seductively evil and relentless in her quest to take her owners on a fast ride straight to hell.It was filmed and directed by John Carpenter in 1983 and still stands as one of the most memorable movies of that decade, with an effective soundtrack and some great moments, particularly in the scene where the car rebuilds itself as Arnie watches on, and other scenes where the car communicates via the lyrics of rock ‘n’ roll songs from the era it was built.
Like Arnie points out: the thing about love … it eats … it has a voracious, all-consuming appetite, leaving no room for anything or anyone else.How far will you go for your love?

When you look at that prized possession in your life, that which Stephen King might have referred to in another of his stories as a “needful thing”, ask yourself a question:
do you own it, or does it own you?

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