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zaterdag 27 juni 1992

Christine by Stephen King

Carmageddon avant la lettre

Loosely based upon a short story he wrote earlier, Stephen King created in 1983 with Christine one of the scariest and notorious entities of his numerous books. Randall Flag, Annie Wilkes and Penny Wise the Clown have found their best means of transportation: Christine.

The pimplish Arnie Cunningham is a basic loser, the sort of which every high school has to have at least two. So, it is not surprising that he becomes the joke of the century when he buys a car more fitted for the scrap-yard than for the road. It - or better 'she' - even got a name: Christine. But the car is more than Arnie ever bargained for. She's not only a rusted '58 Plymouth Fury but also a vicious, jealous creature that ruthlessly takes what it wants and kills everyone that tries to hinder her or her beloved Arnie. The only hope of salvation for Arnie is Leigh Cabot - the other girl. But in a love triangle, it is said, one person is always unwelcome.

I am convinced that no-one can ever again write a story about a possessed car without getting compared to this masterpiece of horror. What Poe did with ravens, King does with cars: he makes them diabolic to the extreme. The way King succeeds in bringing an inanimate thing to live and still keep it believable is hard to equal. The evilness that radiates from Christine is certainly heightened by the person of George Le Bay, who like some other memorable characters of King starts to develop a suspiciously close resemblance to Mr. Satan himself. Undoubtedly, this masterly crafted story is one of the mile stones of horror, but there is also another more tender side to this book. Not often King succeeds in writing down a more convincing love story than in Christine. The debt of the characterisation is so strong that the reader cannot but relive the power of juvenile love while reading the chapters where Dennis starts to fall in love with Leigh. This makes the story more human, but at the same time more gruesome. This strong point is also very clear in John Carpenter adaptation for the cinema. A film that showed in the theatres the same year as the book was first published.

Simply a must read for everyone who's in for a few goose bumps that are hard to get rid of.

Trivia: Stephen King mentions in the book that the car had 4 doors, but there never was a 4-door 1958 Plymouth Fury. The only model available was a 2-door.

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