The Creepy Cult of Stephen King's "Christine"

In 1983, Stephen King's film about a killer car with a mind of its own was released in theaters, and despite a handful of lukewarm reviews, car lovers (and horror lovers) fell in love in love with the murderous Plymouth Fury. 30 years later, the few remaining Christine cars have their own cult of die-hard followers.

In the very early stages of Christine's preproduction, ads calling for '58 Plymouths went up in newspapers across the country. After almost 2 and a half years, 23 were purchased for the film, including a few rare Plymouth Furys. 16 of the cars were customized and actually used during the shoot, while the others were pieced for parts.

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Of the 16 screen-used vehicles, only four survived scrapping. A few of them ended up in places like The Volos Auto Museum. And one wound up in the hands of Florida's Bill Gibson, who painstakingly brought her back to life, even adding some special additions of his own. Gibson now tours the country with "Christine," a car that he insists he doesn't own.. but is owned by.

Those who weren't lucky enough to snag one of the film-used Plymouths have devoted their free time to build their own Christine Clones, branding themselves the International Christine Club. Many members of the ICC spend their weekends traveling to car shows and horror conventions across the county, winning awards and singing the praises of their worshipped automobile.

Last weekend, I decided to find out what made Christine so compelling all these years later, so I grabbed my fellow adventurer Dana and headed to Lexington, KY for the Scarefest horror convention. Gibson was scheduled to appear with his rare, screen-used 1958 Fury, and I was eager to see it for myself.

Through the huge crowds of cosplayers, film fanatics, and paranormal investigators, I was still able to locate Gibson almost immediately. You see, it was hard not to notice the plumes of green smoke billowing from his tent.

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"I hope she behaves herself today, " he said as he opened the door to the iconic car. "Hop on in and have a seat, see how nice she looks inside."

As Dana admired the interior, Gibson latched the door and a smile spread across his face.

Suddenly, the locks slammed shut.

"Christine, what did I say, honey? Please don't embarrass me in front of these nice people."

The dashboard lit up, and as the radio began scanning the stations, the manual window handles began to spin of their own accord. Gibson paced around the car, pulling at the latches, pleading with the vehicle. Suddenly, green smoke began to fill the cabin, and Dana, for the first time, started looking a little worried.

Seconds later, the door locks pop up, and Christine releases her victim with a loud horn blare. The gathered crowd laughs and claps as they would for any human performer, and it's clear why the legacy of Christine has made such an impact - she is as much a character as the machete-wielding Jason Voorhees. One could even argue that she has more range.

Gibson, a Florida native, says that no matter where he goes with his "new true love", visitors come from far and wide to meet her.

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“Two years ago, a father and son drove six hours from Connecticut in torrential rain,” he told The Pennsylvania Sentinel. “They got my autograph, turned around and went right home. A guy drove 1,800 miles from Saskatchewan, Canada, to meet us today. Once in Cincinnati, people said they came from Sweden just to meet us.”

Even though she hasn't acted in 30 years, the red Fury is set to make another film appearance this winter in the horror flick Smothered, alongside Malcolm Danare, who played Moochie in the 1983 film.

“The fan base is incredible,” Gibson says. “I get requests for used motor oil, nuts and bolts. Christine has a Facebook, a Twitter, a website. It’s been an interesting turn of events.”

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For the owner of horror's most famous possessed car, interesting might just be an understatement.

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