Bea’s Reviews: Christine [1983] and Dark Star [1974]

Dir.: John Carpenter

Starring: Dan O’Bannon, Keith Gordon, John Stockwell and Alexandra Paul

Brevity is the soul of wit (or in my case lack thereof), but I also value honesty and these two of Carpenters films, both very early in his career really are not the mans’ finest. Truth be told, legitimately translating Stephen Kings’ thriller about a murderous go-go-mobile is a tall order and in the broader scheme of things, it just doesn’t make for a tense chiller as lensed by a camera. Christine feels meandering, almost directionless with very little emotional investment in the belligerent teen Arnie Cunningham and you could be forgiven if you forget the film forty minutes after having seen it.  Ho-hum.

Dark Star makes no bones about the notion it is a stoner comedy meant for stoners, so for me to say I didn’t get most of the jokes is like saying the sky is blue- pretty freakin’ obvious. This film wasn’t made for the broader spectrum, but that isn’t necessarily a fault, more like a self-imposed limitation placed by Carpenter. Of course, all being said and done, while many audiences didn’t find themselves particularly riveted by an outer space/outer mind comedy, they sure as hell were glued to their seats when lead actor Dan O’Bannon’s gears began to tick over about what would become a heart-warming story of a phallic-headed extraterrestrial wanting to give the members of the USCSS Nostromo a big, wet, lobotomizing kiss. From little things big things grow, and without Dark Star, Alien may never have happened.

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