Tag Archives: Christine

Fright Club: Vehicular Horror

We homaged another topic! Thanks Paul for talking us into doing a podcast on vehicles in horror. So many to choose from!

5. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

We don’t want to leave out airplanes—that terrifying vehicle of the sky, the tight metal tube of death hurtling you thousands of feet above ground to a somewhat likely death. Here were our thoughts:

  • Red Eye
  • Final Destination
  • Quarantine 2
  • Snakes on a Plane

We landed (ha! Get it?) with John Lithgow on George Miller’s visceral, claustrophobic segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Lithgow’s John Valentine’s so much more posh, more vulnerable, more priggish than scene-chewing Shatner of the 1963 TV episode. He’s hard to root for, but that thing on the wing—slimy, aware, goading—he’s reason enough to stay on the ground.

4. Christine (1983)

Obviously we needed to include a film about a killer car. Our options:

  • Death Proof
  • The Hearse
  • The Car

A diabolical beauty seduces a young outcast, killing anyone who infuriates her. A fondness for Fifties culture, a solid performance from Keith Gordon, and John Carpenter’s thumbprints make this Stephen King adaptation a goofy bit of fun.

3. Road Games (2015)

We also wanted at least one car chase movie, and there were a lot of great possibilities:

  • Jeepers Creepers
  • Duel
  • Joy Ride
  • Road Games (the 1981 Stacy Keach/Jamie Lee Curtis one)
  • Race with the Devil

That’s a good looking crop of movies! We liked Abner Pastoll’s Road Games for the list because not enough people have seen it, it keeps you guessing from beginning to end, and, like you, we love Barbara Crampton.

2. Transsiberian (2008)

It turns out, an awful lot of great or bizarre or awful-but-endlessly-watchable horror has been made aboard a train. We narrowed down our list to:

  • Creep
  • Midnight Meat Train
  • Terror Train (a George Wolf favorite)
  • Beyond the Door III (Amok Train – which I think is really set aboard a boat)
  • Night Train to Terror (insane, just insane)
  • Horror Express

And somehow we wound up choosing a thriller more than horror, and you’re asking yourself why. Because Transsiberian is a nailbiter from writer/director Brad Anderson (Session 9, The Machinist), it’s clearly a superior film than the rest of those on this list, and we want you to watch it. Woody Harrelson, totally unaware that his wife (Emily Mortimer) is unsatisfied in their relationship, keeps introducing her to the wrongest possible people on this train. Where is his head? Goes scary, wild, tense places.

1. Train to Busan (2016)

We are always, always interested when a filmmaker can take the zombie genre in a new direction. Very often, that direction is fun, funny, political—but not necessarily scary. Co-writer/director Sang-ho Yeon combines the claustrophobia of Snakes on a Plane with the family drama of Host, then trusts young Su-An Kim to shoulder the responsibility of keeping us breathlessly involved. It works. Sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, always exciting and at least once a heart breaker, Train to Busan succeeds on every front.

Unfair and Unbalanced


by Hope Madden

There’s a moment in Christine – Antonio Campos’s clinical character study of ‘70s on-air reporter Christine Chubbuck – when a violently depressed Christine chastises her mother’s parenting. Had she been a better parent, maybe Christine would understand how the world worked.

There is such honest, bewildered frustration in that moment. With that single thought, a career-best Rebecca Hall exposes Chubbuck’s isolated, lonely, crippled soul.

We’re invited to join the stormy decline of Chubbuck’s life. An awkward, severe professional at odds with the era’s sensationalistic news trends, Chubbuck clashes with her Sarasota station’s news manager (Tracy Letts) and pines for its handsome anchor (Michael C. Hall).

Chubbuck’s professional frustrations and personal isolation come to a head simultaneously. Thanks to Hall’s meticulous performance, what we can see is that the emotionally brittle, deeply depressed Chubbuck hasn’t the resilience to contend with it.

Hall’s body language, her gait, her facial expressions and her speech amplify her character’s growing turmoil. It’s a creeping darkness that grows to be almost unbearable before bursting into an eye-of-the-storm calm that’s even eerier for its realism.

Though Craig Shilowich’s screenplay leans too heavily on frustrated spinsterisms as a handy excuse for Chubbuck’s behavior, and Campos’s direction intentionally keeps Christine at arm’s length, Hall’s harrowing turn guarantees that Christine Chubbuck makes an impression.

Campos’s disturbing 2012 horror Simon Killer remained intentionally distant as well – a provocative approach that suited the mystery of the titular sociopath. Here, though, it feels too chilly, almost heartless.

That seems inappropriate, because neither Chubbuck nor those she left behind were heartless. In fact, one of the great successes in Hall’s performance is her ability to personify Chubbuck’s amazingly off-putting, alienating behavior while simultaneously pointing out that most of us are only a few social misjudgments away from pariah status ourselves.

Inevitably, the film feels like a 110-minute prelude to Chubbuck’s infamous on-air suicide, and that’s where Campos and Shilowich’s weaknesses show. What was at the heart of Chubbuck’s final display – institutional sexism, unending loneliness, mental illness, professional integrity, irony?

The filmmakers showed a great deal while exploring very little, but thanks to a performance likely to be remembered come awards season, Rebecca Hall makes sure Chubbuck’s struggle resonates.