Arnie, a teenager lacking in self-confidence, doesn’t have a chance with the beauteous Lee Cabot, who’s way out of his league. Worse, he’s at the mercy of the local hoods. But it’s love at first sight when he finds an abandoned 1957 Plymouth that he restores to mint condition. The car, which he names Christine, becomes his obsession. His nature is transformed and he loses the innocence of his youth, as those who cross him die, one by one.
John Carpenter’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name is part of the teen movie trend that emerged in the 1980s, making it more codified than his usual work. But Carpenter’s spirit of dissention remains intact in this stinging indictment the consumer society and its attachment to material possessions, in this case a collection-worthy vintage car. Carpenter personifies Christine into a veritable character, fashioning her after a noir femme fatale, whose diabolical beauty has to the power to drive men mad.