Christine (King novel)
"She had the smell of a brand new car, and that's just about the finest smell in the world, except maybe for pussy."
—Roland D. LeBay to Arnie Cunningham regarding the worst auto purchase in history. For both of them.
A 1983 novel by Stephen King that was also adapted into a feature film in the same year by John Carpenter. The basic premise is that the most unpopular guy in a Pittsburgh area high school buys his first car, much like any other teenager the world over. The problem is that his car is extremely and psychotically attached to him. The novel details his transition from normal, if nerdy and unhappy, teenager into a somewhat popular greaser loner, and eventually into a lonely psychotic as the car and the ghost of the previous owner begin to exert an ever increasing amount of control over him.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The eponymous Christine.
- Asshole Victim: The bullies who vandalize Christine.
- Badass Driver: Christine herself.
- Also Arnie, as it is later revealed that he was driving, at least part of the time.
- Big Bad: Christine.
- Black Dude Dies First: In the movie, at least.
- A Boy and His X: Arnie and Christine.
- The Bro Code: Dennis's violation does not go unpunished.
- Car Fu
- Car Meets House: Christine disposes of one victim this way.
- Cool Car: Why, Christine of course. Yes, she's evil through and through. So what? The 1958 Plymouth Fury, Autumn red.
- Delinquents: Buddy Repperton and his gang.
- Did Not Get the Girl: It's revealed in the epilogue that Dennis and Leigh didn't end up together.
- Downer Ending: Arnie and his parents are dead, along with eight other people. Dennis has broken up with Leigh. Christine is STILL OUT THERE.
- Drives Like Crazy: Taken to new extremes by Christine.
- Everyone Has Standards: In the movie George LeBay comes off as just as much of a Jerkass as his brother Roland. Even adopting his mannerisms. However when he mentions the story to Dennis regarding Rita LeBay's death, he sounded disgusted at both Roland and Christine's part of it. Even mentioning that he managed to successfully convince Roland to get rid of the car "For decency." Of course the car came back 3 weeks later.
- Feud Episode: First there was Christine. Leigh came later.
- Finger-Twitching Revival: Or, in this case, a chrome-twitching revival.
- Flash Back: Dennis Guilder is writing the story down four years later.
- Funny Background Event: When Darnell harshly lays the ground rules to Arnie, Dennis flips him off behind his back.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Roland LeBay. When every description of you includes the words "unending fury," you are made for this trope.
- Half the Man He Used To Be: Moochie Welch is cut in half between Christine's front bumper and a building in the movie.
- Healing Factor: Christine has it. Up to the point of returning from a burned-out wreck to mint condition within minutes.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Arnie and Dennis. A nerd and a jock.
- Homicide Machines
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: In the film, the final showdown occurs on New Year's Eve/Day.
- I Die Free: Arnie died keeping Roland from possessing him.
- Infernal Retaliation: In the movie, Christine chases Buddy Reperton and one of his cronies to a gas station where they wanted to meet a third. She crashes into Buddy's Camaro, shoves it into the gas station, and causes it to explode in a spectacular fireball. Buddy manages to rescue himself and believes that Christine is destroyed in the flames. But she backs Out of the Inferno, burning all over, chases him down the road, and eventually runs over him, leaving his burning corpse lying on the asphalt.
- The Lady's Favour: Before the final fight with Christine, Leigh gives a scarf to Dennis to wear around his arm.
- Love At First Sight: Arnie and, yes, Christine. When Arnie first sees the car, Dennis describes him like this: "he had been like a man who meets a showgirl, indulges in a whirlwind courtship, and ends up with a hangover and a new wife on Monday morning. It had been... well... like love at first sight."
- Meaningful Name: Christine is a Plymouth Fury.
- Mood Whiplash: An epic, non-comedic example. In the movie Arnie discovers the aftermath of Buddy Repperton and gang trashing Christine. The whole thing comes off as sad and sullen, but when Leigh tries to comfort him, he explodes on her and drives her away. Even using words that LeBay would use. Turning this scene into pure nightmare fuel.
Arnie: DON'T TOUCH ME SHITTER!!!! THIS WAS JUST WHAT YOU WANTED!!!! YOU GET AWAY FROM HER!!! GET AWAY FROM HER!!!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Buddy Reperton and Richie Trelawney look a lot like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards respectively which becomes particularly obvious in a scene where they are driving in a car, and "Beast of Burden" is playing on the radio.
- I always thought that Buddy looked more like John Travolta.
- Not Quite Dead: Christine. Ever.
- Post-Modern Magik: The haunted car is kind of an example.
- Sealed Evil in a Can
- Seemingly Wholesome Fifties Car
- The Seventies / The Fifties: The novel is set in 1978-79, but Christine often turns time back to 1959 (the Nostalgic Fifties version), complete with Seemingly-Wholesome Fifties Girl and a radio that plays Nothing but Hits.
- To be more exact the radio in the 70s plays nothing but hits from the 50s.
- Something Only They Would Say: In the movie, during the showdown between Leigh, Dennis and Christine. It was assumed that like before, Christine was driving on her own when gunning for Leigh. However during one of the attacks, a voice is heard. Arnie's voice, shouting two words that cements that he's not only become as crazy as Lebay, but is actively trying to kill his friends.
Arine: YOU SHITTERS!!!!
- Split Personality Takeover
- Standard Pre-Ass-Kicking Snippet: Former trope namer "Bad to the Bone" is Christine's theme song, sort of.
- Sweater Girl: Leigh.
- Switching POV: The first part is narrated by Dennis, the second part is told by an omniscient third-person narrator and mostly focuses on Arnie, and the third part is narrated by Dennis again.
- Tempting Fate: In the movie. When Moochie sees the fully restored Christine the first thing he asks, who he assumes is Arnie in the driver seat if he's mad. Christine's response? Flashing her headlights at him and trying to run him off the road.
- Took a Level in Badass: Arnie.
- Vehicle Title
- Vehicular Assault
- Woman Scorned: ... Yes.
- Yandere: Christine.