I cannot speak highly enough of Stephen King. He is my favourite author and I am proud to admit that I have read (almost) every one of his novels. I know what he writes isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I still recommend his work to anyone who’s looking for a good book to read.
Not all of his stories are horror, and some people are surprised when I tell them that he penned The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption (adapted from the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption).
Christine, however, is a horror story. It is about obsession and possession . . . and to some extent, love.
Arnie Cunningham is a loser. He wears thick glasses, has extremely bad skin, is scrawny, and is everyone’s punchbag. His best friend is Dennis Guilden, a jock who looks out for Arnie and is the main reason Arnie hasn’t yet been beaten to death at school.
Arnie hasn’t got a lot going for him, but he is smart and has a natural talent for fixing cars. One day, when he and Dennis are out a drive in Dennis’ car, Arnie near bursts with excitement when he sees the most dilapidated 1958 Plymouth Fury parked in a driveway; Dennis refers to the car as “a bad joke “.
Much to Dennis’ chagrin, Arnie buys the rusty car from the most vile human being he has ever met, Roland D. LeBay, who informs the boys that the car is called Christine and is the best car he has ever owned.
And now that Arnie owns the car, things start to get creepy.
Arnie rents space in a garage to fix up Christine. He mends her up really well, has her looking brand new . . . despite having no recollection of actually fixing her.
And whilst Christine is changing so is Arnie, but not for the better. His sight and skin improve, but his attitude takes on a some what sour and vile note.
And then people begin to die . . . in ways involving some sort of large automobile.
I know a story about a possessed car seems ridiculous, but this is extremely well written. Arnie’s obsession with Christine is believable, given that he’s a dweeb with very little social skills, and a domineering mother who stifles him. He needs a hobby, something that he can call his own . . . and Christine knows that, too, which makes Arnie the perfect host for her demonic spirit.