Underrated Stephen King Horror Fantasy Gets Glowing Review From VFX Artists

Underrated Stephen King Horror Fantasy Gets Glowing Review From VFX Artists
Image credit: Columbia Pictures, Legion-Media

In a world where action sequences have become 90% CGI, the special effects in classic films stand out even more.


  • In 1983, John Carpenter adapted a Steven King novel for the big screen.
  • The film used practical effects to achieve its ends.
  • Recently, VFX artists took a look at one of the movie's most famous sequences and gave it a glowing review.

Recently, the Corridor Crew YouTube channel added the 130th video to their 'VFX Artists React' series. The crew took a look at special effects from a few movies, including recent releases like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Wonder Woman 1984.

These CGI extravaganzas drew some criticisms from the team, while they were pleasantly surprised by the effects from different movie – one that is more than four decades old.

The Killer Car

In the 1983 film Christine, an awkward teenager named Arnie falls in love with a busted up 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine. Christine has a long and violent history – when a factory worker dropped cigarette ash on her, he was later found dead in the car. Since then, at least three other people have died in Christine.

As Arnie works to lovingly restore the car, his personality changes from a sweet and bumbling nerd to a rebellious and arrogant bad boy. Meanwhile, Christine becomes increasingly protective over her owner and anyone who takes issue with him.

Over the course of the film, Christine takes bumps and hits, but she always repairs herself. In one famous sequence, the car gets bashed up by school bullies but completely restores herself before our eyes.

So how did they do it, and why does it still hold up in the eyes of VFX artists?

Practical Effects Live Forever

Watching the scene, VFX commentators Niko and Jordan wonder if perhaps the effect was achieved by building a car out of plastic or wax, destroying it, and then reversing the footage. Sam confirms that this is correct: the effects team behind Christine built a full-sized replica of the car using plastic, and then used hydraulic pumps to pull the car inward, destroying it. The footage was then reversed, so it appeared as though Christine started out wrecked and became whole again.

Computer effects always age badly, but practical effects like this one tend to stand the test of time. That's why the original Lord of the Rings trilogy (made with mostly practical effects) still looks amazing, while the newer Hobbit movies (mostly CGI) look terrible.

For a movie over 40 years old to still have effects that get a nod of approval from experts is quite a feat.

What You Might Not Know

Of course, it took more than one plastic replica to get Christine made – the car needed to be wrecked, brought back to life, and dinged up over and over again. Filmmakers placed ads across the country to track down and buy up not only Furies, but models that looked close enough to stand in for one.

Underrated Stephen King Horror Fantasy Gets Glowing Review From VFX Artists - image 1

At the end of the day, the team had 23 different cars to work with. Most were destroyed to make the film, but a few escaped unscathed. One of the spare cars went to auction in 2015 and fetched a staggering $198,000 US. That's a lot to pay for a killer automobile's stunt double.

Of course, the success of the movie has a lot to do with that price tag. Christine was made for a budget of $9.7 million, but raked in more than $21 million during its run at the box office. Later, the film developed a cult following through VHS rentals, but unfortunately it is almost forgotten today and rarely mentioned even by Carpenter fans.

In 2021, Blumhouse announced its plans to remake Christine, with Bryan Fuller directing. No doubt this new version will be a CGI-loaded version, but we doubt it can live up to the charm of the original.