Based on 28 votes and 1 reviews
John Carpenter's adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a haunted 1958 Plymouth Fury remains a vastly underappreciated film to this day. Both novel and film are 'Jekyll and Hyde' stories in regards to its lead character/victim Arnie. The film adaptation is smart enough to play its outre elements seriously, and an even smarter move was to jettison the novel's Grand Guignol shock scenes in favor of an overall tone of tragedy. The cause is supernatural, but the horror is personal. Many of the film's most effective scenes do not even feature the title villain. The seemingly quieter character scenes are disturbing; more subtle than you think and more effective and devastating than you realize. Carpenter was in a self-admitted career retreat with this film, after the unfavorable critical and commercial reaction to his previous film THE THING. He does fine work here, his direction unobtrusive yet sturdy and subtly stylized. Fans of the film will usually give Carpenter the bulk of the credit for this film, but he was aided immeasurably by a terrific cast and an excellent script by Bill Phillips. I would give Phillips the bulk of the credit here, as he took a pretty good novel and reshaped it extensively and emerged with a work that was more subtle, more tragic and more human than the novel ever was. There is dialogue that cuts to your heart and will leave a much longer impression than the cheap scare roller coaster ride this could of been. See this film if you haven't yet, and re-watch it if you have. It's one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever.