‘Christine’ Director John Carpenter Optimistic About Remake of Stephen King Classic: “It Will Probably Be Better”
John Carpenter is an unquestioned master of horror, but as special and untouchable as his work is considered, filmmakers over the years couldn’t help themselves. New spins were put on Halloween (repeatedly) and The Thing with remakes, prequels, and – in some cases, failed – reboots. In this tradition, one more of his masterpieces is being reworked and Carpenter is fine with that, interestingly.
Christine, the tale of a vengeful haunted Plymouth Fury based on the book by Stephen King, is getting a remake helmed by Hannibal series creator Bryan Fuller. Carpenter, hearing about it when he sat down with Total Film for their new issue, wished Fuller luck. “Oh boy,” Carpenter said. “Well, good luck to him. It will probably be better.”
The original film’s star, Keith Gordon, also chimed in and was more encouraged than Carpenter. “I think he’s really talented [Fuller], and a good person to do it,” he says via Gamesradar. “I mean, I don’t have a negative feeling about people remaking something, especially 40 years later. Christine could be told in a different way and not be an insult to the original.”
Gordon believes that some movies can be remade while others are too perfect to be touched. “There’s a very short list of untouchable classics that should never be remade – films where their groundbreaking-ness or idiosyncrasy is what makes them special. I wouldn’t want to see anybody’s remake of Citizen Kane, or 2001, or Raging Bull,” he said.
Its fans think Christine is just as groundbreaking and special. To Carpenter, however, the film is not an important piece of his canon. 2023 marks its 40th anniversary, but he is not celebrating the occasion. “I know there’s some rumblings about its anniversary. My question is ‘why’?” he said, hinting at the director’s indifference toward the whole thing.
For him, it was a job at a time when he desperately needed one. “I needed a job, frankly,” he explained. “The Thing was my very first studio film (with Universal). I was just diving in the pool here, and all of a sudden, WHAM. And getting fired off a movie [Firestarter] is not the most pleasant thing.”
The Thing, itself a remake, underperformed at the box office and with critics when it came out. This was due in part to the popularity of ET and the public’s preference for friendlier aliens at the time. Carpenter’s film went on to become a cult classic as would the rest of his Lovecraftian Apocalypse Trilogy that continued with Prince of Darkness in 1987.
Christine will be back in theaters this October for its anniversary. Bryan Fuller has been working on the remake since 2021, and he sought Stephen King’s approval. However, King is “doubtful about the proposed…remake,” according to a 2022 interview.