Christine [1983]

She can't (and won't) drive 55.... Stephen King's novel about the twisted love affair between a boy and his car gets transferred to the screen, courtesy of suspense master John Carpenter. Although lacking some of the more outré supernatural elements of the source material, this high-octane cinematic tune-up more than delivers the goods, horror-wise (Christine's midnight rampages will never be forgotten)--as well as being a sly exposé of the random cruelties within the high-school pecking order. Keith Gordon (who has gone on to become a stellar director in his own right, with films such as A Midnight Clear and Mother Night to his credit) gives a wonderfully controlled central performance. Carpenter's atmospheric original score is backed up by a well-chosen collection of rock classics, including George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" (the titular character's all-too-apt theme song). --Andrew Wright

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