This week we pay tribute to Kelly Preston by reviewing the only horror movie we could find with her in it – Stephen King’s killer car movie, Christine, directed by none other than John Carpenter.
She’s not in it much, to be honest, but it was fun discussing this one nonetheless, and her brief performance in it. Hear our balanced take on one of Carpenter’s more mainstream yet less successful films.
Episode 225, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: and I’m Craig
Todd: Once again, we find ourselves in the wake of an actor’s death. This time around it was actress Kelly Preston, married to John Travolta and has been in quite a few movies. We looked up for some movies that she had been in that were horror. And I think we found one and that horror movie is Christine.
So this week we are doing John carpenter’s. Christine, written by Stephen King, as a tribute to Kelly Preston. So, uh, yeah, Craig, I didn’t really know a lot about Kelly Preston coming in and yeah. Then as you and I got talking a little bit about her realized she I’ve actually been in quite a few movies that I knew and loved.
Space Camp from the 80’s. Twins. You mentioned she met, uh, John Travolta on the set of a film called Back In The USSR. Is that right?
Craig: I think, I think that’s what it’s called. I remember that song featured prominently in the movie. It was a goofy movie about like the, how the KGB was setting up this town in.
Russia where they were trying to imitate Americans. Basically what they were doing is they were training spots. Um, but the town that they set up was like a 1950s town. They brought in John Travolta and some other guy. You know, not, they didn’t know what they were doing, but to like modernize the town so that the spies would be better or whatever.
It was a really goofy, goofy movie. But, uh, she was really cute and yeah, I think I picked Christine because, well, I, I, it must’ve just been the first horror movie that I saw that she was in. I think that she was also in, from Dustin. Until John,
Todd: maybe she had some, some part in it. How was it a big part or small part?
Craig: I don’t know, but I picked Christine just seeing that she was in it. And then I watched the movie, which I had seen before and realized that she has a really tiny, tiny role. She’s only on screen for, I don’t know, five minutes max. And, uh, she plays this beautiful cheerleader who Pines over. One of our main guys from the movie and he overlooks her in favor of the lead female in the movie.
Who’s name is Lee played by, uh, Alexandra, Paul from Baywatch and lots of other things. But what I kept thinking throughout the movie, they kept going on and on about how like Lee was the most gorgeous girl in school and Kelly Preston plays Roseanne, and I thought she was awake. I thought the guy was really stupid.
Gorgeous blonde cheerleader, like throwing herself at him, but he’s interested in the bookish Lee, but that’s okay, whatever. Um, she’s young and beautiful and, uh, in this movie and, and she remained beautiful throughout her life. You know, she struggled apparently with breast cancer for a couple of years and she kept it very private.
Um, I think that her death came as a surprise to everybody. Except those who knew her closely and personally, it was sad. I was really sad when I heard it. Yeah. But I respected her decision to keep her health struggles, private, and was glad that she was able to do that. I think that she went peacefully, you know, with family around her and she was far too young to pass.
She has young children. Um, that family has suffered tragedy before they lost their oldest son to an accident. He also struggled with a Kawasaki syndrome and so they’ve had their fair share of trouble, but. I’m sure that she’s resting peacefully now. So I’m glad that we’re taking at least a moment to celebrate her because I had a big crush on her from the movie space camp.
I loved that movie when I was a kid and she was super, super cute in that movie. And so, yeah, that’s why we picked Christina.
Todd: You know, I also watching this movie got the feeling that maybe there are some deleted scenes.
Craig: There are
Todd: like maybe her role. Was probably a little more expanded because she just gets kind of, right.
Yeah. There’s a pretty big deal. In the beginning of the film where we start following this kid named Dennis, who’s kind of the nice looking jockey football player guy. Who has a more nerdy friend named RNA with the huge nerdy glasses. That’s how, you know, he’s a nerd because it’s an right. He picks him up from his parents’ house and his parents are kind of giving him a hard time, uh, RND, a hard time.
They immediately start having this. Sex talk, you know, just very teenage boy
Craig: seniors. I figured it’s about time that we, uh, we got you late. You don’t like this here. Huh? I don’t need a girl to get late. What about Gail? Justin? Her Gail, just in case I don’t like her mustache. You aren’t. I mean, what do you care if you get a little hair on your mouth?
Huh? Okay. Uh, how about Sally Hayes? How she’s cute. She’s. Sophomore watch is a walking sperm bank. Arnie. I know, come on. I don’t think I have the minimum deposit to open the account. You know what I mean? And are you kidding? You carry your life savings between your legs. Come on, Arnie. Maybe
Todd: it’ll just speed off.
When they’re in the hallway of the school, he points out and says, Hey, have you seen a super, super hot chick? Uh, which is, as you said, Lee, walking down the hall. And in the meantime, there are these little bits where Roseanne is trying to flirt with Dennis kind of flirts with him. He kind of gives her the cold shoulder.
He kind of looks over her shoulder. You know, there’s a bit in the library where he finally approaches Lee, Roseanne thinks he’s going to be approaching her. So she kind of perks up and then he walks right past her. And I feel like we never see her again after this,
Craig: we see her one more time. Uh, she’s cheerleading at.
Football game. Um, and, and still, you know, watching Dennis, you know, fawning over Dennis. Um, and then I think that’s it. I think you’re right. I don’t think we do see her again.
Todd: Hi Dennis.
Craig: Hey Roseanne, how are you doing okay. They’re going to let you play football this year. Oh yeah. When doc says I’m as good as new.
Then, I guess I’ll be seeing you out there.
Well TTFN and so, you know, there, there’s not much to say, you know, I think Kelly Preston was a perfectly fine actress. You know, I never had any criticism, negative criticism about her performances. She’s just, you know, very beautiful and charming somebody that I would have certainly been drawn to as a young man, but you’re right.
She’s just not, uh, given a whole lot. To do here. Uh, she’s she’s not really an integral part of the plot, which is unfortunate because I would have like to have seen more of her and don’t get me wrong. Alexandra Paul who plays Lee is also very beautiful. I don’t want to make it sound like, I think she’s some kind of troll.
She’s certainly not. She’s very beautiful too. Kelly Preston just kind of has more of an all American. Look, you know, and especially in this movie, she’s blonde and thin and perky and
Todd: yeah, like Marty McFly, his mom feel tour didn’t you kind of get a little bit, you know, But you’ve read the book, right? I assume you
Craig: have not.
No, this is one of the few Stephen Kim books that I’ve never read, which, uh, I say that. And then when I try to catalog all the ones I have read, he’s written so many, um, there are actually quite a few that I have read, and this is one of them, but I’d be interested too, because I read that during this time.
And really throughout his career, Stephen King has been so prolific and he was so in demand that the rights for the movie were sold. And I think the movie was already in production or pre-production before the book was even published. I don’t remember who it was. John Carpenter ended up directing it. So I don’t remember if it was the screenwriter,
Todd: bill Phillips, a screenwriter
Craig: who wasn’t really interested in pursuing a movie about a killer car.
They thought that that was too silly, but. When he read the book, he was like, yeah, this is good. Uh, and, and so he decided to do it. And was it him, was it bill Phillips or was it John Carpenter? Who, one of them had a choice between either Cujo or this?
Todd: No Phillips. Yeah. He read both. Books. He thought Cujo was silly.
So he decided to do this one instead.
Craig: I have read Cujo and I think Cujo is an excellent book. And we’ve talked about it on the podcast. I think it’s a great movie to this movie. You know, there’s so much talent attached to it. Of course. Stephen King’s name is huge. John Carpenter is a huge director. It’s got not super, super famous people.
In fact, they specifically chose what their main. Actors to go with people who are a little bit less prominent, some more prominent people, auditioned for the roles. Scott bale, I think auditioned Brooke shields auditioned. And there were a couple of other big names who auditioned. They decided to go with some lesser known people, but.
There’s a bunch of teen boys in the movie. There’s our two main ones who you’ve already mentioned. And then there’s basically like a group of bullies. And that group of bullies is like a cornucopia of teen male actors from the eighties. Yes. None of them stars, but you will recognize every single one of them from some teen movie or some horror movie of the eighties.
Um, so there’s lots of familiar faces. There’s lots of big talent and the movie just didn’t do very well critically or financially. And I’m not exactly sure why.
Todd: Yeah. I’m trying to figure that out too. I mean, I think I have problems with the movie, but I’m not sure that that is why it didn’t do so well, it almost feels as it was going on.
I was like, gosh, this is almost just like Carrie. Again, you
Craig: know, just,
Todd: and it’s, you know, it’s about this nerdy kid who, you know what, with Carrie, you know, she has she’s, she’s totally teased and everything. And then she finds, she has these powers and she uses these powers eventually, you know, to get revenge on the people who were pretty relentless and brutal towards her, this is the same kind of deal.
This guy gets this car and the car has this sort of magical quality where it sort of seems to possess him as much as. It itself has some sentience and as the movie goes on, then the car kills people are bullying him, you know, until the final conclusion that ends in tragedy. So
Craig: yeah, it is, there are a lot of parallels and it’s an odd premise, you know?
Well, like the, the screenwriter, if I had just heard this premise with like an evil killer car, like that’s kind of dumb, but I do think that there is promise here, there, even though I haven’t read the book, I know that there are some differences between the book and the movie in the movie. The first scene that we see is the car on the assembly line.
Like, it looks like it’s done, but it’s still on the assembly line. The song bad to the bone is playing over this opening scene and the car injures and then specter and then kills, right? Another guy who gets into it and drop some cigar Ash on the seat. Um, and it doesn’t really show how it killed that guy.
He, his body is just disgusting. So the movie suggests that this car is just inherently evil, like off the assembly line in the book, it was just a normal car. But then the guy who owned it became so obsessed with it that somehow he developed some kind of like psychic bond or something with it that gave it sentience and allowed it to do things.
That’s, it’s mentioned in the movie, like the previous owner has mentioned and the things that happened to his family, like the deaths of all his family were somehow tied to the car and his death. But the book suggests that it was that relationship. That bond between the car and the owner that gave the car, its energy.
And in the book, when the original owner died, Christine, the car lost that energy. And that’s why when Arnie discovers the car, Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, he kind of falls in love with it and starts fixing it up. It’s like he reignites that energy and we see it in various ways. You know, he fixes up the car himself the first time, but then once he’s established this bond with it, the car starts to be able to regenerate itself.
It starts to be able to do things on its own. Like he doesn’t even have to be. Able to drive it. We see ’em throughout the course of the movie that the mileage keeps rolling back as though it’s gaining energy.
Todd: Yeah. That’s a cool premise actually like that, that notion.
Craig: And I don’t think that it’s executed poorly.
What I found my self thinking was that this would have been better suited for like an hour long episode of an anthology. I just didn’t feel like there was really enough meat to the story. For almost two hours because the movie is an hour and 15 minutes long, it felt a little overly drawn out. I think that it could have been paced a little bit better, but of course they’re going for a feature film.
And so they need a certain link so they can put it in the theater and make money. So I get
Todd: that. I also. Felt like it was a bit padded and you know, that’s why I asked if you read the book because as we all know now, Stephen King’s books can be pretty long, but they’re usually pretty involved and intricate.
And so the story that sometimes gets translated to the movie is considerably different or is missing key elements of the book. Usually abbreviated for time. In this case, I felt like there must be huge chunks missing. Like for example, Kelly Preston’s character. I felt like they had it set her up. To have more at stake or involvement in the movie later, but she never does.
And I sort of felt the whole movie was a little chunky this way, where it lost focus, or I should say it just changed focus a lot. Usually with the film, you know, there’s kind of a focus on one main character story. Like we, more or less focus on the story, the plot around one main character in this movie, the way it starts out, you start to feel this is Dennis’s story, or at least that everything’s being told through his lens.
And I guess it kind of is, but there’s so much of dentists in the first, at least. Quarter, if not third of the movie, then when RNA starts acting weird, there are huge changes. Right. You know, it’s like we don’t get to see and he’s transformation. We spend a bunch of time following Dennis. And then the next time we see RNA, boom, he looks a little strange and he’s kinda got a collar popped out on his shirt.
Uh, and then weird stuff happens and Dennis is concerned and then we’re following Dennis for a little while and the boom. We sort of see Arnie again and there’s something with the car. And then there’s a whole sequence kind of in the middle where the car. Is the focus of the car. It clearly is the villain of the movie.
And then it kind of, which is focus over to Arnie a little bit more. And then when it comes toward the end, the movie it’s that classic, you know, the friend is concerned and so he brings the girlfriend along and they try to figure out how they’re going to help RNA. And they’re going to kind of save the day.
That just sort of feels kind of tacked on at the end. You know,
Craig: it is
Todd: like this gradual progressive transition in all of these, I would say three main story threads. It was like, we just got bits and pieces of it and it would jump from thread to thread being the main focus of the movie. So it led to some moments where I just kind of scratch my head thinking.
Yeah, I guess this is, this is the limitation of a killer car movie. It’s just a car. I mean, it’s like the killer doll movies, this thing, I mean, climb a ladder, go to the second floor. And you’re away from it. And so how sinister can you make a car through a whole two hour movie?
Craig: Right. I agree with what you’re saying is that the focus is weird because in the beginning, like you said, it seems like it’s focused on this relationship between this kind of nerdy guy and this popular guy and, and Dennis, the popular guy has played by John Stockwell.
Again, very familiar. He was one of the pilots and top gun. Um, he was in a. Cute scifi movie, my science project for me, eighties, that I really liked. He’s still working. He was in Teresa’s, but he’s like the nice jock, uh, and RNA and Arnie has been his best friend apparently since they were kids. And so, and you get this establishing scene where they’re supposed to meet, you know, even though the other guys and their friend group kinda.
Take little jabs at RNA, it’s all pretty innocent, but then Arnie gets really bullied by this. This 40 year old kid.
Todd: So typically
Craig: how many,
Todd: how many times did he flunk out of high school?
Craig: My God, this guy looked like he could have been Arnie’s dad, but a buddy and he’s got his gang of goons and you know, it’s serious bullying where they’re taunting and they’re messing up. Messing with him, buddy, even threatened them with a switchblade and Dennis intervenes, but he’s no match for a whole gang of folks.
It eventually gets broken up by a teacher and the bully vows for whatever reason to get Arnie later on, which is kind of stupid. Like Arnie never, never did anything to him. Like you singled this kid out, you picked on him, you got in trouble for picking on him. It’s not his fault, but I guess that’s bullying mentality
Todd: admitted under pressure from the teacher that broke things up, that, that the bully had an, a switchblade on them.
But yeah, that’s it. You’re right. It’s just, it’s, it’s a little silly and it doesn’t have that. This is where it is so different. And so inferior, I think to carry is because we spent so much time with Carrie. And she is such a sympathetic character, whereas Arnie is just like this nice kind of goofy guy doesn’t really do anything wrong.
Most people seem to think he’s okay. And kind of like him, except for this group of bullies who are dicks to him. And his main problem is his parents now, you know, Carrie, right? One of her biggest problems was her mom, but I mean, Arnie’s parents come across as most of Stephen King’s parents do and all of his novels.
As you just overbearing yet. They’re not Carrie’s mom,
Craig: you know? Oh no, no. She was mentally ill. I mean, his parents are just kind of assholes, but I don’t know all teenage, well, I don’t know. I can’t say all teenagers, but when I was a teenager, I clashed with my parents were stupid.
Todd: Well, they’re just kind of strict, you know,
Craig: you’re right in that Carrie, such as sympathetic.
Character and Arnie starts out that way. He just seems really meek, but nice and funny and unassuming, you know, appreciative of his friendship with this guy. And then they find this car it’s just parked, not along the side of the road, but like in somebody’s yard junkie yard and Arnie’s immediately drawn to it.
He wants to buy it. The guy who sells it. To him, his name is George and he’s this old crusty guy. And I’m like, who is that? And so I looked it up and it’s, it’s, it’s Roberts blossom. And he’s the old scary guy from across the street on home alone. Yup.
Craig: much creepier in this movie than in home alone. My asshole brother bought her back in September 57. That’s when you got your new model year in September. Brand new. She was, she had the smell of a brand new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world. I said maybe pussy. When he got her, she had six miles on the odometer, goddamn roller went through hell and back with Christine.
Your brother loves this car so much. Why is he selling it? Cause he’s stone cold there. That’s why I had six weeks ago. His daughter choked to death in it, and his wife killed herself, soften it, and then he ended up killing himself in it. But none of this really, and I don’t even remember if all of that information comes out.
Right. In the beginning, the army is just laser focused on buying this car and he’s willing to give whatever the guy asks. And, um, so he ends up buying it for 250 bucks. Arnie is so sympathy. Then he fixes up this car, which takes no time at all to restore this car. He, his parents won’t let them have it at home.
So we asked to take it to this like self service garage with this crusty old guy who lets them keep it there and lets him use like spare parts from the junk yard. So long as he like helps out around the shop and stuff. But it doesn’t take him any time to restore this card mint condition.
Todd: Yeah. Where did he get these skills?
Craig: Well, he said that he was taking auto shop, but like he had just started taking it that year. Well, I don’t think you learned to completely restore a car. Maybe it’s the supernatural influence of the car. I don’t know, but my point is the moment the car is done. Arnie changes like that.
Todd: Can, it gets confidence and cocky.
Craig: Yeah. And like he stops wearing his nerdy glasses and he starts, you know, wearing like hip clothes. But not just that, he also immediately start getting pretty jerky. One of the first things that we, Dennis notices it, you know, at first and they kind of talk a little bit and like RNs. Standing up to his parents more, but that’s really, really quick.
And then the next thing we see. Is Dennis’s playing football and Arnie pulls up in the car and like, you know, like some cool guy yeah. Jacket or whatever. And he’s got Lee with him and Arnie knows that Dennis was interested in Lee. And so it just seems kind of out of character that he would pursue this girl that he knows that his best friend was interested in and right in that scene, like, because I guess Dennis is noticing them.
He gets in a terrible football accident and is sidelined in the hospital for the next 45 minutes. Yeah. So, so that focus is completely shifted back to Arnie and the car. And by this point Arnie’s not so sympathetic anymore.
Todd: Yes. Well, he’s kind of like the villain of the movie and that becomes a little problematic, right.
Because. Who do you root for? It’s it’s not like this sort of, there’s a sense of possession, right? I mean, there’s this sense, like when he, because he’s so changed because he’s so attached to the car and also his, his clothes in his hairstyle and everything become distinctly like fifties ish. And so there’s, I think that’s supposed to be a subtle nod to this symbiosis that he has with this 1957 Plymouth fury.
By the way Stephen King chose this car. Cause he deliberately wanted a car that didn’t already have, you know, like a legend sort of attached to it. But it’s cool that it’s called the fury. I guess that’s
Craig: appropriate. It’s a really cool car too. Yeah,
Todd: it is. And it looks sinister when it’s up and around. I think they did a really good job with the characterization of the car, but here’s the problem, like you said, so now he’s not sympathetic anymore.
Plus he has a killer car, then they are going after the bullies. That’s what happens next is that those bullies, a one by one get picked off by the car. And I pretty sure, although, I don’t know for certain, I think it’s a little ambiguous. It’s not like a RNA is driving the car. It’s that the car is sentience and the car is going after these bullies.
One at a time,
Craig: the supernatural elements of the car are kind of established before that, like at one point when Dennis is concerned before he gets injured, I think when he’s concerned about Arnie, he goes to look at the car and he notices that it’s like imperfect condition and he notices that the mileage has gone down.
But when he tries to get into the car, the radio turns on and it’s, I think. Is it Chuck barrier a little Richard, I don’t remember, but keep on knocking, but you can’t come in. Which, by the way, I think my favorite thing about the movie is the music they make great in this movie.
Todd: It’s the way Christine talks, right?
It’s through the center of the radio star.
Craig: Yeah, right. And so there’s that, and that kind of spooks him. And then he has a date with not, he, uh, Arnie has a date with Lee at the drive in, and this kind of feels like it comes out of nowhere too. Like she’s kind of standoffish making out. I thought it was such a funny make-out scene because it’s like, Carpenter made a point of showing, Oh, look, he’s trying to touch her boobs and then made a point of, Oh, look, she’s rubbing his crown
Todd: like close up zoom in.
Craig: Yeah. Right. But then she pulls away and she runs out of the car and he chases after her. And she talks about how she’s jealous of the car, which is just weird.
Todd: It’s out of nowhere.
Craig: Yeah, it is out of nowhere and he’s like, well, that’s weird. I thought girls were supposed to be jealous of other girls and she goes, well, who do you spend more time with?
I guess, meaning that he spends more time with his car. Okay. Whatever. So
Todd: we have to take her word at it because we don’t know. Cause we really haven’t seen the what’s been going on.
Craig: He gets her back in the car and then it’s raining at the drive in and the windshield wiper. Stops or like falls off or something.
So he gets out to deal with that and we see his door lock on its own. And, uh, Lee takes a bite of a sandwich and all of a sudden the radio comes on. I don’t remember what song is that? Some sort of. Pointed song and the, the interior glows really bright and she starts choking. Like the car can make people choke on food.
Todd: It’s really bizarre, right? Yeah. I, that part I didn’t get. And he’s unable to get in. She’s unable to get out. And somehow a guy who’s walking by the, she opened the door, he breaks a window. I don’t know.
Craig: She, she, she gets it unlocked on her side. Arnie’s on the driver’s side, trying to get in, but it’s locked.
She gets her side unlocked and somebody else gets her out and gives her the Heimlich maneuver. And she’s okay. But she’s all shaken up by it. And that kind of. It’s not the like straw that breaks the camel’s back, but their relationship is really strained after that. I guess he apologizes to her. And that leads up to what you were talking about the next day they’re together.
And he says, look, I just have to stop by the garage to get. My wallet out of Christine. Like, it seems like, you know, they’re not going to take the car cause she’s weird about it or whatever. But when he goes in, he finds that buddy and his gang have completely destroyed the car and we got to see that happen.
Todd: And that was kind of cool. I’m sure they had a lot of fun actually smashing that car. Probably they went through, I mean, I read that at least 15% of the budget of this movie was on cars alone. They went through like 15 or. Or 20 different
Craig: cars, not more like 28, I think
Todd: not all a furious. Some of them were, you know, cars that kind of looked like it when some of them were plastic and things like that.
But. Uh, but yeah, I even car enthusiasts were actually a little pissed when they saw the movie. I think that so many cars had to have these classic cars had to go through the ringer for it. But, uh, on the other hand, it highlighted this fury, which before, you know, nobody knew about, so what are you going to do?
You know, it’s like one or the other and yeah. And so because Christine got beat and smashed up, he is furious and he’s pissed.
Craig: And he lashes out at her. Yeah. Not violently, but nearly, you know, like very aggressively,
Todd: like it’s her fault or something. Oh, you wanted to see this. It it’s all a little contrived, I think, you know, or at least it’s kind of pushed on us.
Like if there was something that kind of built up to this, if there’s some. Earlier encounters that they had, or, you know, something we could kind of know about this, more detail about the strain of their relationship. Maybe this all would have kind of come off, but it’s just like, yeah. Arnie is going a little crazy.
Craig: Well, I, I, I think that what. The what’s meant to be implied is that it’s, it’s the influence of the car. That’s making him be this way, but it’s like, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Like they feed them the off of one, another, uh, Arnie in the car and it’s having a negative influence on. Him because in moments he still tries to be sweet and nice to her, but he’s just on edge all the time.
And especially now, but that’s when, you know, after he chases her off, he kind of starts talking to the car and he says, it’s going to be okay. We’ll, you know, we’ll, we’ll fix you. And we hear like some crumpling metal and, and he stands back. He sees that. The engine has repaired itself. And so he takes a pause and then he just says, Okay.
Show me as Bill’s a kind of knows. Well, you know, like it’s so weird, but it’s an amazing scene then what the car reconstructs it. So
Todd: it’s fantastic. The special effects here are just great. He stands back in the spotlight and we get these closeup images of the car and the panels that were crumpled and crumbling and going snapping back to nothing.
Of course, this is all done in reverse,
Todd: it’s so convincing that it’s great. I mean, it’s a delicious scene to watch. And the sound design here is amazing. Actually, I think the sound design in the whole movie is quite good, both the sound and the, uh, you know, when you’ve got a car movie, you gotta have good sound design.
Right. But yeah, that in the music is, is both pretty good. And John Carpenter did the music as well. I’ve always enjoyed John Carpenter scores, even though you can. Kind of tell them from a mile away it’s not orchestral, you know, John Williams type stuff, but he can really, he can really bang on a synthesizer.
Actually, the music reminded me now that I went off on that tangent, the music reminded me a little bit of Halloween. I mean, almost felt like a modification of the Halloween score.
Craig: Yeah. All of the neighborhood’s scenes, like, like Arnie’s parents’ house and the neighborhood they live in that was all filmed in the same neighborhood.
Halloween was filmed in. And so it’s very reminiscent and look, um, Halloween too.
Todd: So here we are,
Craig: marks the point, right? Exactly. So here we are. I mean, that sets up. Kind of the, I don’t know, I guess what you would call the scary part of the movie.
Todd: Yeah. Which is just, like I said earlier, watching the car go after these people.
So it goes after the big, big bully first buddy or whatever. Um, no, it goes after one of the other kids first. Yeah. One of the other kids,
Craig: the, the guy that, the, the fat, the fat one that I don’t know, say I don’t know the actor’s name, but I recognized him. He played the gross older brother in the curse, which is maybe we should do time.
Um, But apparently this is the kid who took a dump on the dashboard of the car when they destroyed it. And so he’s the first one to get it now. Carpenter made the decision to black out all of these scenes. These death scenes happen at night and carpenter made the decision to black out the windows so that you couldn’t tell whether Arnie was driving the car or not.
And I was a little bit unclear, especially in this first one, whether or not Arnie was driving the car later on. We know that when the other bullies get killed, he wasn’t, we know that for sure. But in this first one, I don’t know. And so I don’t really know if we can even really implicate army in these murders.
Todd: No, I don’t think we
Craig: there’s. There’s a possibility. That he had nothing to do with it. Now he’s not upset about it. In fact, he thinks that they got what was coming to them, but I don’t know that he actually perpetrated it. I think it was just the car.
Todd: Well, there’s nothing right. There’s absolutely nothing about this that we don’t really get Arnie’s reaction to the murders.
We don’t get, uh, any of RNA talking to Christine saying, Oh, I can’t believe what you did or I’m glad about what you did or. Anything like that. I mean, there’s nothing, it’s just, you know, emceeing with Arnie start seeing in the, at night with one of these bullies and the car is going after them. Uh, and then the next scene is daytime again.
And then Henry Dean Stanton’s character gets thrown in here all of a sudden as a detective. And he feels just thrown in here as well. He’s only got like a couple small scenes and it feels like almost the obligatory. Detective who pops in. Who’s supposed to put some additional, no pressure on the antagonist or whatever of the story, but.
It’s a little weird, the questions he’s asking him. I think he comes in after the second murder. When the kid
Todd: just the first one, just kid backs himself into, um, into like a dead end. And there are
Craig: these walls loading dock or something.
Todd: Yeah. They’re these narrow wall. Actually. I really liked this scene because it just showed how relentless this car is because it’s got him back in there.
However, the car is a little too wide to fit through. But it doesn’t care. Like the car just burns rubber and slowly crumbles itself into this narrow space to pin this guy against the wall. And I guess several men, half. Yeah. Now we don’t see that happen. And that’s another option. The thing about this movie is that there’s.
Is there any Gore in this movie at all?
Craig: Not really. We, we, I mean, we only see the aftermath of one death. Like, like I have a feeling that you’re absolutely right. I think that this whole detective sob subplot must have been severely truncated from the novel. It just kind of serves to antagonize Arnie more,
Todd: but it’s not a real threat.
Craig: Not really. I mean, because the car is supernatural, you know, is he going to discover? I don’t know. I mean, he tries to press him on it, but the detective doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. Um, right after that, there’s just a real quick scene where Arnie calls Lee and is nice to her for like one second and then just totally blows up on her when she kind of brushes him off and.
Calls her a bitch and is really horrible. And then we get another scene of Christine going after the other bullies and she chases buddy. And one of his friends in. Buddy’s car and they at a gas station where the bullies get out and Christine smashes the car. And, uh, one of their other bully friends works in this service station.
The only one left outside of the service station, his buddy, the other two ended up inside and Christine just drives into the gas station and blows it up.
Todd: Like, yeah. Takes a whiz.
So wisdom gas on the floor of the gas station and then runs out and blows it up. Yeah, the whole place explodes. It’s a really cool scene. I mean, It’s going to be tricky. And this was kind of what I’ve said earlier. Like it’s a killer car. It’s got to stay on the ground. It’s got wheels. It has limitations.
All you gotta do is climb a ladder or something. Get away from it somehow or behind like a brick wall. But this, this car is pretty relentless and what it’s willing to smash through. And because we’ve already seen that it’s able to regenerate itself. You know, we, as an audience, understand that. It doesn’t matter how smashed up this car gets, it’s going to be able to go right.
Puncturing the tires, aren’t going to do anything, you know, the end, the front end gets smashed up doesn’t matter. So it’s pretty brutal, you know, in how it goes after them into there.
Craig: Part of the movie, I really felt like was. Jaws with a car. That’s what it felt to me, the car, it felt like the shark from jaws and it was just relentlessly after these people, but, and, and the big explosion, like the whole service station explodes, and it’s a huge explosion.
It looks great. Um, but. You, you get the suggestion that Christine kind of crushes one of the bullies in the gas station. And then, and then the guy gas station explode. So you know that both of the ones in there were killed. We don’t really see it. And then. Another amazing part. Christine comes rolling out of this Inferno and she’s totally engulfed in flames.
Todd: so cool.
Craig: It is so cool to see this card totally engulfed in flames, driving down the road and it chases buddy down the road. And again, you know, get off the street, dumb ass. It eventually just catches up with them and runs him over and you see his body and flames rolling down the street. That is the only carnage really that we see in the movie.
And that it’s not gory, there is no blood. I mean, it’s disturbing to see a person on fire, but you know, in fact, this movie, um, didn’t have enough violence get an R rating. And the only other option at the time, because PG 13, wasn’t an option yet was PG. So. Carpenter intentionally inserted a whole bunch of Fox into the movie so that it would get the R rating because they thought if it was PG, nobody would see it.
And they were probably right. Well then later they were criticized for the language of the movie. Bye. Even though the movie wasn’t super financially successful, had it been rated PG, I mean, I think that would have been. The last nail in the coffin,
Todd: nobody wants to see a PG rated horror movie, you know,
Todd: not like, not from Stephen King, you know?
Yeah. That was really cool. And it was like the car from hell just completely inflamed. And again, in this era, when. We know there was no CGI just to see all of this great practical stuff happening and the stunts that were being done. And, Oh, it’s really that’s the, that was the nice part of the movie for me.
I just really got behind this demon car that could regenerate itself and we got to see all that, you know, we don’t need to see the Gore, but I could see this car and flames going down the street. Not, not bad. Pretty good. Visuals. You know, John, carpenter’s no slouch.
Craig: Yeah, no, he certainly not. And, and that was really fun to watch, but then it’s kinda, like you said before, then the movie takes a turn like that chapter of the movie is over, you know, the bullies are all dead.
Todd: Tina’s nobody left to kill
Craig: no enemy now what? And so now things get weird. Okay. And I have to say that Dennis seems like a really, really nice guy. That he kind of moves in on our girl, which I thought was kind of a Dick move. Now it’s not entirely him. Like she kind of calls him because she’s worried about Arnie and.
It seemed really out of character. Like, you know, they’re just hanging out, talking about how worried about army they are, but she’s awfully friendly with him, you know,
Todd: like very
Craig: touchy and like has her arm around him and like stroking his arm and like laying her head on his chest and like, come on you guys.
Um, but then it becomes about them. And they just she’s like, I’m pretty sure it’s the car. And he’s like, no, that can’t be, and she’s like, no, I’m pretty sure. He’s like, okay.
Yup. So they decide, I guess the deciding factor comes. Um, Dennis says, well, look, we hang out every it’s new year’s we hang out the two of us that his folks, every new years I’ll talk to him about it. He picks them up and then this scene. I really like, and in fact, I hope that you play some of the dialogue here.
Cause I think it’s really interesting, but again, it, it’s not like, it feels like a different movie. Well does it does
Todd: well, here’s the problem. This is why it feels like a different movie. They’re in the killer car. Here we’ve established that this car is a killer and Dennis apparently is willing to get on board with this concept and is worried about Arnie.
So what does he do? He hops in the same car and they go on this road trip and now the car is just a car. I mean, artists, it’s being weird and already being douchey and stuff.
Craig: But, well, it’s beyond douchey. Like at this point, this was when I felt like we were, and even visually you’re starting to see it.
Like he’s getting dark around the eyes and
Todd: sweaty and angry.
Craig: Yeah. And the things that he’s saying. Are really, really dark they’re drinking in the car, which would be a big, no, no in today’s films, but this was the seventies, you know, I think people did that according to my dad. Anyway, they did. You know, so he’s chugging beers and throwing them out the window.
He’s going like 90 plus miles per hour toast death to the shitters of the world in 1979 already. I can’t drink to that. What can you drink?
Todd: What about to us?
Craig: You know, the friendship, a friendship, right? That that’s good. That’s that’s what I. I liked the most about the scene was getting to see, you know, just how far Arnie has been pushed, but also to see how Dennis reacts next to it.
Like he gets really upset. He’s scared clearly, but it also he’s all, but in tears talking to his friend. So I think that it’s, it’s beyond being scared in the moment. And more about like my God, what has happened to you? You know, these guys have been friends presumably since they were little. Um, and, and I really liked that scene.
It had an impact on,
Todd: yeah, it was a good scene. Again, I was still getting back into the groove of, okay. Now Dennis is back in the picture. I still was coming off of the whole bit of Christine running around killing things, and I just felt like it was strange that Christine was taking a break now. I don’t know, what are you going to do?
But I mean, if I were Dennis and I thought that Christine was this killer car, that was, I would have invited him out for pizza somewhere. You know, I, I wouldn’t have gone down the road with them drunk inside this car. And I was kind of hoping something, I was kind of thinking something might happen. You know, I thought maybe the car would kind of turn on, turn on Dennis A.
Little bit or, or, you know, something. Weird, you know, kind of between Christine and Arnie, especially cause Arnie goes on this big thing about, let me tell you about love.
Craig: Let me tell you something about love. Dennis has voracious, appetite, leads, everything, friendship, family. It kills me how much it eats, but I’ll tell you something else.
You feed it right. And it can be a beautiful thing. And that’s what we have in when someone believes in you, man. Anything, any fucking thing in the entire universe. And when you believe right back in that someone, the watch out world, cause nobody can stop you that nobody ever I felt like.
Todd: He’s describing this connection that he has with this car that he’s driving and he’s holding and all that stuff, but nothing else is really coming across visually, you know?
Craig: Yeah. Visually that. Yeah. Yeah. And I get what you’re saying, but kind of the way that I interpreted it is that as long as Arnie’s happy, Christina’s happy, you know, she, she, wasn’t just going out murdering people at random. It was vengeance. Right. And so she doesn’t really have any reason to do anything.
Now, now that’s a good point.
Todd: That’s a good point.
Craig: You know, I think had things transpired differently and Dennis had continued to try to get Arnie away from the car. Then I think that would have been a problem. And, you know, because that’s what they decide. Yeah. We at, you know, after all of this Lee and Dennis.
Come up with this plan, Dennis carves into the hood of the car, the name of the garage. And it’s like the name of the garage tonight or something like that. Um, and Lee’s like, are you sure he’ll come? And he, she he’s like, yeah, he’ll come. Or Christine will come. Their plan is to ambush the car in this garage, Dennis.
Like Hotwire’s a bulldozer and they’re going to ambush the car. Well, Chris, one step ahead of them. And in this, at this time, Arnie is behind the wheel. So I think that at this point we’re supposed to kind of get that the unholy union is complete. You know, it’s not just Christine doing things on her own.
Whether it’s her influence or whether it’s just the culmination of their relationship, he’s aware of what he’s doing. And in this, in this moment, he’s prepared to kill his best friend and the girl that he had professed love for throughout the rest of the movie. Um, so, and I think that’s kind of the turning point, like the point of no return for RNA, which is sad because I wanted Arnie.
To be. Okay. Yeah. And we can talk about, you know, that, that scene,
Todd: it comes crashing in. I was a little unclear of what exactly their plan was. He was in the bulldozer, but she’s on the ground. Uh, and maybe they just didn’t get quite set up before RNA and Christine came in,
Craig: Christina and Arnie were laying in wait.
Todd: Oh, they were in there. All right. Yeah.
Craig: The car was like covered up with some junk or
Todd: so that’s right. And they came out from under the junk. Yeah. And the, I had the impression they burst through the wall, but you’re right. It was just coming out from under some junk against the wall. So they come out and they start attacking them.
And immediately he’s going after her, the girl. She’s able, there there’s a lot of driving around in this small space, but she’s able to kind of maneuver herself against a wall and the dentist is able to maneuver the bulldozer to protect.
Craig: But just before that, see, ha man, it’s, it’s rough because, um, Arnie in the car goes after Lee.
She’s like in the office or whatever, and the car crashes into the office, but Arnie is injected through the windshield and. At this point, dabs yes. Point at this point, yes. A burger dinner
Todd: that was about halfway through. Yeah, you’re right. She ends up in the office at some point. Yeah. And he crashes through the car crashes into the office and Arnie gets ejected through the window and he’s laying there.
And you see, as the picture kind of hands around that he has a huge piece of window windshield glass. Jutting up through his back and out his front,
Craig: in his dying moments, he reaches out and caresses the grill of the car and then he dies. And that was such a bummer because I thought they’ll destroy this car and the, the spell will be broken and he’ll be okay.
And he’ll be sorry. And it’ll, I really kind of wish it had gone that way. But, but it doesn’t, he dies and then the car continues to pursue them. And like you said, I don’t know. There’s a whole bunch of business where Dennis like protects her with the bulldozer. I don’t remember. I think it’s right after it crashes into the office.
There’s a period of time where the front end is really messed up.
Todd: It looks like.
Craig: Yeah, it looks like teeth. And I thought that looked so cool.
Todd: Oh yeah. Without giving the car a hugely like, well, it’s got these supernatural qualities, but without being too overdone with it, just the way that it was smashed up, the way that the front end ends up looking at times, it looks angry.
But then, you know, like you said, it’s got these teeth, it kind of runs around, but then it’s sort of regenerates itself and it goes after her. And she is pretty immobile. Dennis is able to get behind the car as it’s going after her and smashed the bulldozer down on top of it. So it kind of stabs the car with the bulldozer as it’s inching towards her.
And the thing about this bit, I thought was really good. Like again, the relentlessness of this car. So the scar, like we know it can regenerate this huge bulldozers and it, it starts to go on top of the car. And it’s not an easy go. I mean, it’s going over the top of the car slips back and kind of falls off and then goes over it again.
The whole time Christine is moving forward slowly and slowly and slowly, like, you know, like, like a dying person crawling towards someone, you know, reaching out it’s so intense and the sound and the noise and the crunching and the grinding of the metal in this heavy thing on top of it. And finally it just utterly gets completely through it.
Smashes the whole car through and through kind of squeezes the front out its mouth. And Christine kinda is done. I guess it’s just a little too smashed for this. And
Craig: then that’s. I loved it. I loved it when the bulldozer was, um, rolling over it and it was smashing and smashing it, but the car just kept regenerating the car radio, the car radio, who was playing rock and roll will never die.
Okay. You can’t kill me. It’s so funny. They do. They finally get it crushed and like the headlights go out and the radio stops playing. So it’s like it’s dead. And the next scene we see is in a junkyard where they’ve had the car compacted. It’s a silly scene because, uh, the two survivors are standing there with the detective.
Like, did they tell the detective the truth? And he believed them. So
Todd: as they’re staring at it, They hear radio, come on with some music and they’re like, huh. And it turns out to be a guy working in the junkyard. You buy with the boombox, but that’s a little fake out. It was funny. But then the camera, you know, slowly kind of dollies in, on, on the little square that is Christine now, and a little bit of its part sticking out their quivers for a second.
And then, and then we get credits. So yeah, I was, I found the movie to get a little tedious. I think, I think that third turn of events, you know, I was pretty ready for the movie to be done. Cause I got what was going on. Okay. Arnie’s freaking out guys. Just like take care of whatever you need to take care of.
And listen, let’s finish the film. I was a little disappointed that we I’m not a Gore hound. I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t with so many great special effects and cool things in this movie that it wasn’t a little more R rated. Uh, but that’s fine. And I thought the music was great. I thought the sound design was great.
Story was just, okay. Uh, it’s probably not one of them going to go back and see again. I think just for all the reasons we’ve outlined here, that it just does kind of loses its focus. And for me, you know, it became a little tedious to watch and it was really hard. Like you said, to get behind. Kind of a premise, like here’s the central character who’s being beaten down, so we’re rooting for them and they finally get the revenge.
That’s not really how this turns out. Right. So it’s like, Oh, here’s this central character he’s beaten down. But then he becomes evil and then he’s not sympathetic anymore. And then they come in and they kind of get the car, but then they also get him. So nobody’s a winner. Right. And so, yeah, it’s just. I don’t know.
Maybe that’s why it didn’t do so. Well, I don’t know.
Craig: I don’t know. I thought it was okay. John Carpenter is a really good filmmaker, but I would say that. Of his movies. This would fall really low on the list for me. Yeah. It’s not poorly made it’s well shot. The acting is fine. It’s not spectacular, but it’s fine.
Um, like you said, great effects and stuff. I just wonder how it all came together because the special edition DVD has. 20 deleted extended or alternate scenes and that’s a lot. And so it just makes me wonder if somewhere in the editing or something, it just didn’t quite come together the way that maybe it could have, I don’t know.
Maybe they did the best. With the material that they could. Cause it is an odd premise, but in the end, I think it’s okay. I don’t think it’s a bad movie. I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. Didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time to watch, you know, just because it is a Stephen King. Adaptation and because it’s John Carpenter, I was bound to watch it.
And it was, it was fine. I’m not one of my favorites, but it was, it was all right. Um, and I wouldn’t steer anybody. Huh? Good. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t steer anybody away from it. I just don’t necessarily know that I would give it a strong recommendation, but you know, that’s it. And, and again, the, the lovely Kelly Preston, her brief appearance in this, it’s really not much.
We’re kind of grasping at straws here, but she is, she is somebody. Who I always liked. And she seemed like a cool lady. She seemed like a fun lady, you know, before she got married, she was kind of a wild girl. And she, uh, was with Charlie sheen for several years. And it’s kind of an urban legend in Hollywood somehow while she was living with Charlie sheen and they were together alone in the house, she got shot.
I don’t know. I don’t know
Todd: what the full story is. They’re probably by Charlie seat,
Craig: probably. Um, so she, you know, she had her share of wild days, but then she settled down and became a mother. And, um, I am very, very skeptical of Scientology, but she and John Travolta were dedicated to their faith. And if that’s their thing good for them, she seemed.
To be happy. She seems to be, you know, in the later stages of her life to be happy to be a mother and, and to kind of be out of the spotlight a little bit and she’ll be missed. She, she seemed like a cool lady. So we wanted to say something nice about her. This gave us the opportunity. So it was worth it for that.
Todd: Absolutely. Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. You can find us online, just Google, two guys, and a chainsaw. Go to our website. Two guys that read 40 net.com, where you can find a huge back catalog of episodes. You can leave us a comment there on our Facebook page or send us a tweet and let us know what you thought of this episode and or requests is something new for we’re going to be plowing through quite a, quite a few requests after this one.
So until next time I’m Todd
Craig: And I’m Craig
Todd: with two guys and a chainsaw.
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