In case someone forgot to tell you, we’re huge fans of John Carpenter, here at The Liberal Dead. In 2012, resident podcast expert Jeff Konopka, myself and several other guests, recorded a retrospective podcast series, examining all of carpenter’s films. Already being fans of Carpenter, it was quite an experience to study his filmography. Being that the series was less about actually reviewing Carpenter’s films, and more about studying the director’s career as a whole, and how each film fits into his body of work. I wasn’t able to appear on the episode of the series that covered Christine, but Jeff and TLD homeboy, Jesse Bartel did a fine job covering this part of JC’s career.
Christine finally arrives on Blu Ray, courtesy of Twilight Time. I know that some of you will groan when you read that, as that means there is little to no chance that MOST of you will be able to procure a copy. The title was limited to 3000 copies, all of which were sold out shortly after the pre-order went live. This Blu Ray is going for around 200 dollars, at the lowest, currently on eBay. So, if you weren’t one of the lucky ones that got their orders in on time, unless you’re willing to shell out some major cash, this Blu Ray won’t be finding itself on your shelf anytime soon. Screen Archives/Twilight Time were nice enough to send us over a copy of the disc for screening, and for that, I am eternally grateful, as this is now a genuine collector’s item.
Christine is not my favorite John Carpenter film. I recognize it is one of his better films, and can certainly respect it for its place in Carpenter’s career. It’s also one of the best films about a killer automobile that you’re ever going to see. But, for me, when compared to films such as Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From New York, and Big Trouble In Little China, Christine is at the bottom of that list of films. Personal biases aside, it is a competently crafted film, with solid performances, a good score, and a genuinely unique story. Carpenter has certainly done much worse, such as Memoirs of an Invisible Man, or Carpenter’s segment of Body Bags. The good news is, even after all of this time, Christine is one of Carpenter’s films that holds up quite well.
I realize that there was uproar over Twilight Time’s release of the 1990 Tom Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead. Personally, I found that disc to be phenomenal. The changes that were made were approved by Savini, and enhanced the viewing of the film, in my opinion. If you skipped out on this release because of that, you have made a terrible mistake, because Christine looks outstanding in its 1080p presentation. The picture isn’t plagued with excessive digital enhancement, the way some catalog titles have been in the past. Film grain is present, so the “it’s too clear” argument that comes from some of you anti-blu ray nuts is null and void. The detail is crisp, and you will notice things on the screen that you’ve never noticed before. The dark scenes are grainy, as they should be, but still beautiful and detailed, and any scene that takes place during daylight is undeniably gorgeous.
The audio track on the disc is a fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. Being that the film was made in the early eighties, there’s not a lot going on in the back channels, but it serves its purpose well, and sounds better than it ever has. All of the special features, including the commentary track with John Carpenter and Keith Gordon have been carried over. As with all Twilight Time releases, an isolated score track has been added to the disc. So, while there’s nothing really new, in the way of extra features to entice you, it’s good to see that the deleted scenes and such made the trip to the Blu. I would highly recommend, if you’re lucky enough to find a copy for a price you can live with paying, that, if you’re a fan of Christine, or a fan of John Carpenter, you pick this title up. I think Twilight Time generally has exclusive rights for three years, so it will be a while, if at all, before we see a wider release of this film on the format.