Tuesday, December 09, 2014

"Christine" movie's 31st anniversary

I understand that John Carpenter's movie was released 31 years ago today, and that he has one of the two restored cars from promotional tours. The other was won in a promotional giveaway and is auctioned off every now and then, next year at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale (got $200,000?).

I have a 1:25 Christine, the '58 Plymouth with a "don't screw with me" attitude. (The movie's a black comedy using the horror genre, mostly making fun of men and their cars; the book's more straight-up horror.) Plastic model kits are a pain, though. For "carpet f-bombing" (thanks, Mr. O'Sullivan), few things beat them. Thin plastic made in Communist China: fun, fun, fun. The plus side is you get to know the car really well; training for future mechanics amateur and pro ("this is a starter; here's where it goes"), including solving problems (putting an extra bar in the chassis frame to secure it to the floor pan, C-clamping the chassis at one corner, then gluing a shim under the frame of the opposite wheel to balance it out). Terrible stuff: Testors enamel spray paint; takes forever to dry. (If there's a next time: primer and lacquer for the car body and other big parts.) Blackwashed the grille and hubcaps with shoe polish. The antenna's a pin. Great stuff: Bare-Metal, like gold leaf in a sheet for model-car chrome and trim. Cut a piece with your X-Acto knife and a ruler, peel off the backing, lay it down like tape, press it, and cut away the excess with the X-Acto. I'd say for an adult with a normal amount of spare time, it takes at least a week to do right. I'd give my Christine a C+ (biggest problem: the consistency of the gloss paint finish). By the way, the book calls the car a Fury (perfect for a horror novel) but the movie never does; she's really a Belvedere (red, white, and silver) but with a Fury engine (twin carburetors). This kit repackaged as a movie tie-in has the Belvedere engine. I've seen one Christine clone, New Jersey's "Evil 58." If I recall rightly, it has parts from some of the movie cars (problem with that movie: in that age before computers they mashed a few '58 Plymouths to film it).

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