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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Comedy > Killer Car > Zombie > Christine (1983/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/13 Eerie (2012/E1 DVD)

Christine (1983/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/13 Eerie (2012/E1 DVD)


Picture: B-/C     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: B-/C     Films: C+/C-



PLEASE NOTE:  The Christine Blu-ray was limited to 3,000 copies, is now sold out and is going for seriously high money, but other great limited editions are available exclusively at the Screen Archives website which can be reached at the link at the end of this review.



I have complained about how Horror films have not been as good as they used to be.  Here are two examples of films on the track to be good, yet both got derailed in their own ways.



John Carpenter was just coming off of the mixed success of his underrated 1982 remake of The Thing (1982, reviewed elsewhere on this site) when he decided to take on a new project.  Stephen King’s Christine was just going around as an unpublished manuscript when the feature film that would arrive in 1983 hit theaters.  Carpenter was looking for something safer in the genre and found it with this tale of a 1957 Plymouth Fury that might just have an evil life of its own.


Arriving a few years after a cycle of “Devil Car” movies that included The Car and The Hearse, it was either going to be the peak of them, a revival of them or the end of them.  It was the end after the end, though the film still has some interesting moments, it is not a great film and was the beginning of Carpenter becoming more commercial, as well as another King adaptation that missed working, though this one more narrowly so here.


Keith Gordon (De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) plays another nerd, Arnie, who has a good friend in a high school jock (John Stockwell) and a bad combination of emotionally unavailable parents and a few bullies at school to bother him circa 1978.  One day, the duo stop to see an old Fury that is rusted out and a wreck, but Arnie sees possibilities and buys it for next to nothing.  Then he is determined to restore it and even finds an old car garage with a junkyard that helps him do so.  Suddenly, the car is reborn and he uses its name given by its previous owner, Christine.


Though an interesting film at times, which now has a cult following and did some business at the time, it also has many problems.  Arnie personal changes lack convincing exposition, there is a lack of suspense, the retro humor of King’s approach does not match Carpenter’s modern approach with dialogue leaving the characters talking at each other thanks in part to contradictory approaches that do not often work, too many of the characters are underdeveloped and become cartoonish (made worse by a fine Harry Dean Stanton performance, playing a detective here), the car’s evil is never fully flushed out and the result is just not up to King or Carpenter despite the ambition of the makers and actors.


This Blu-ray edition from Twilight Time is a Limited Edition release (surprising some) and only 3,000 discs were pressed, selling out by street date, so the fans are out there.  As of this posting, copies were going for anywhere from $130.00 to $300.00 and this does have more than a few extras, but is it worth it?  Only if you are a big fan, of course.


Those extras include an isolated DTS-MA lossless music score by Carpenter that shows the music audio is not warped by that Carpenter wanted it to sound warped and off-kilter, three featurettes from the DVD (Fast & Furious, Finish Line, Ignition) by Laurent Bouzereau are repeated here in all their analog video glory, we get some Deleted Scenes (parts of which should have stayed), a vintage audio commentary track with Carpenter and Gordon worth hearing and another fine illustrated booklet with text info and a great essay by Julie Kirgo is included inside the Blu-ray case.  Even non-fans will be impressed.



Lowell Dean’s 13 Eerie (2012) also had the potential to be a good Horror outing, but it eventually collapses as the group of young forensic undergrads (CSI Jrs.?) go out to a remote island and find killer zombies!  This had some potential, including in the casing down to the underrated Brendan Fletcher, but it sadly, quickly becomes a make-up/gorefest with no point, everything we have seen before and no point after possibly having one.


Suspense also goes out the window as the first bloodbath kicks in and oh, the zombies are dead killer convicts!  Yawn!!


Too bad the makers did not try to concentrate and make something memorable, but this becomes another formula schlock package deal and wastes 87 minutes of our time.  This could have been good, but the zombie angle is so played out, maybe they were doomed off camera.

Extras include a Photo Gallery, Audio Commentary Track with Director and Producer and Making Of Featurettes.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Christine is as good as the film has ever looked on home video, but it is from an older HD master as the dark scenes show depth limits, crushed Video Black and grain that makes this real 35mm Panavision shoot look weaker than it should.  At its best, especially in many daylight shots, color and definition are terrific and you might even get a few demo shots here and there.  It is better than that awful Blu-ray for Halloween, but not quiet as good as The Thing Blu-ray (same transfer as the out of print HD-DVD) or even the Dark Star Blu-ray, so it is on par with the Assault on Precinct 13 Blu-ray (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) so it is still good, if not great.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Eerie is far softer than it should be, even with stylizing considered, adding to my disappointment with its potential squandered.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Christine can be towards the front speakers as this was a film originally issued in Dolby A-type noise reduction, their old analog noise reduction system and you can hear slight distortion throughout as a result, but Carpenter’s music score holds up and sounds the best since it was apparently sourced form the master tapes like the isolated music score so this is as good as the film will ever sound.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Eerie is poorer because it is practically stereo-only in parts and never has a consistent, pronounced soundfield.



As noted above, you can find a solid series of limited editions from Twilight Time like Christine while supplies last at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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