“Good evening, and welcome to a private showing of two movie automobiles, displayed here for the first time. Each is a collector’s item in its own way – not because of any special artistic or engineering quality, but because each captures in chrome and steel, suspends in time and space, a frozen moment of a nightmare.”
If Rod Serling worked for Tiki Lounge Talk, this is how he’d introduce these next two flicks. For our Creature Double Feature this week, we present
The CAR, 1977 and
I picked these two movies to play together for the obvious reason: They’re both about possessed cars that go around terrorizing and killing people. There’s a big difference between the two movies though – Christine is actually a really good movie, while The CAR is probably one of the worst movies every made (I say this with a smile), but still fun to watch and make fun of. So what if the acting, story, writing and effects suck. It’s got a kool car customized by Chuck Barris in it.
Christine, Stephen King’s best seller presented by the 80’s master of horror John Carpenter features a custom red 1958 Plymouth Fury and a dorky kid named Arnie who fixes her up. The love he pours into restoring the classic car is returned by her as she runs over anyone who does him (or her) any injustice. Great shots of the car, the Hemi engine, the 50’s two-tone interior, and people getting crushed. This was all done with hydraulics and special effects long before the computer age came along with CGI. They used over 20 different cars for the film (several were kept in pristine condition and are still alive today, owned by members of the Christine Car Club). The movie strays from the book but is still scary and fun.
The CAR could have easily been called ‘The Trainwreck” for its absolute awfulness. But damn is that car kool! It’s worth watching just to see the CAR roll down the highway. It’s modified Lincoln Mark III with what seems to be a red-tinted windshield, and is driven by the Devil himself. It just drives around killing people for no reason. Kind of like the Devil goes for a Sunday drive.
Back to the good movie. CHRISTINE is a great flick on many levels. When we first see her, she’s all shiny and new at the Detroit plant and already starts causing trouble. Then we see her 20 years later, rusted & busted up, sitting in a field with a For Sale sign on her. This kid Arnie goes ape for the car and shells out $250 clams for her (in 1978 dollars) and proceeds to fix her up, even though he’s broke and the only car-fixing skills he has are what he learned in a high school shop class. How does he do it? Easy – the car fixes herself. Then she goes and kills people. Then she fixes herself up some more.
My Take: If you’re a regular reader you probably know that I grew up around classic cars, fixing them up, selling them, driving them. I can’t tell you how many times my Dad and I slammed on the brakes when we saw some POS car rotting away in a field with a For Sale sign on it. I can’t tell you how many times we brought cars like that home with us, paying anywhere from nothing to 1500 smackers depending on the ride. We even had a 1957 Plymouth Savoy with a 1958 front clip on it – very similar to Christine, except it was baby blue and was a four-door sedan. Unfortunately none of them ever fixed themselves up (or killed wise asses).
As for The CAR, after watching the flick back in the late 70’s I remember my father saying he was going to buy a ’69 Mark III and customize it to look like the car. (He was good with fiberglass.) We never did get around to it but did customize my 1953 Chevy Belair with 33″ fins and extra grill teeth. Close enough for jazz.
Food & Booze: They drink something called “Iron City” Beer in Christine, I think. I suppose just the cheapest off-brand beer you could find will do. For The CAR, you’re going to need something stronger. How about a RED DEVIL?
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Sloe Gin
Fill a tall glass with ice and build the drink from the bottom up in the order listed so the lime juice sits on the bottom. Top off with OJ. This drink is strong as hell (get it?), but not very red. Not sure why they call it a Red Devil. You can add some red food coloring to it to make it redder.
A last note on Christine: When my family and I went to see this in the movies around Christmas, 1983, we drove to the theater in my father’s ’64 Caddy. When we came out, people were pointing at his finned car and yelling, “It’s Christine!”…even though it was powder blue and didn’t look anything like a Fury! A few years later my Dad and I bought the ’59 Plymouth Savoy (which I mentioned above) with the intention of making a Christine Clone. Turns out the motor was shot, and it was too much trouble to do it so we sold it back to the guy we bought it from for the same $200 we paid for it. Kind of wish I still had that car today. But that was 24 years ago. Damn.
Here’s the trailer for Christine:
-Tiki Chris reporting from the screaming room (I mean screening room) at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar.
Tiki Lounge Talk: Your Halloween Headquarters for spooky movies.