Yes, I was an assistant to a movie star last weekend.
She's not your typical movie star, though. She's older and heavier than your typical movie star, and she's a redhead rather than a blonde. But that didn't stop her from securing the leading role in an adaptation of a Stephen King novel which has become world-famous in the 30 years since its theatrical release, and she's definitely movie-star temperamental.
She's Christine, the possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury who killed her way through the eponymous 1983 blockbuster, and who now owns a Pensacola man named Bill Gibson (that's by his own account, by the way). She made an appearance at the Celebration Exotic Car Festival in April where she introduced herself to me and introduced me to Gibson. I am, after all, a huge Christine fan, so I felt compelled to tell her how much I admired her and how great she looked. Gibson informed me that she had had quite a few changes made during her restora... I mean, facelift, including receiving the interior from the actual car in the drive-in movie scene, and the front end from the actual car in the final bulldozer scene.
She accepted my compliments well and, in the sultriest of voices, asked me if I would assist her and Gibson at the Mayhem event of Spooky Empire, the horror convention that began in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2003, but is now headquartered right here in Orlando and has become one of the biggest horror conventions in the United States. I was reluctant, taking into consideration the fate of the characters she came in contact with in the movie, but Gibson promised me that he had her temper under control, so I eventually agreed.
Christine showed me just what she was capable of by somehow managing to both delight and terrify attendees of Spooky Empire's Mayhem, as she lured people of all ages into her dark and mysterious display with the innocent intention of taking a simple picture with her, then scaring them senseless by blasting her horn while they were walking away (which I swear I had nothing to do with whatsoever).
Christine also had not only a TV playing the movie trailers and scenes from the movie, but she also had an absolutely mind-boggling display of movie memorabilia set up at her booth, which included everything from books, magazines she appeared in, and die-cast scale models of herself, to international movie posters and stills from the movie.
What was most shocking to me, however, was the entourage of celebrities that made an appearance at this year's Mayhem and that only a movie star like Christine could introduce me to, such as Lita Ford, the lead guitarist of the 1970s all-female punk band The Runaways. Robert Englund, who still haunts your dreams to this very day as Freddy Krueger, stopped by to visit with Christine and talk with us about cars (seriously, we got into a lengthy discussion about the Vibra-Sonic sound system in early Corvettes). Lana Parrilla, who plays Regina Mills in the ABC fantasy TV show Once Upon A Time, simply could not wait for her chance to take a picture with Christine. Finally, the man himself, director John Carpenter, made a brief appearance with Christine and signed 1:18th scale models of her.
Christine will be in Williamsburg, Virginia at the end of this month for Scares that Care, where she will be raffling some of those models, and more models will be auctioned off in the future to benefit the Oklahoma chapter of the Huntington's Disease Society of America.
So, Christine does have a soft side.
But that doesn't mean she's lost her killer instinct.
I tried to do everything Christine's way throughout the whole Spooky Empire event. I saw to her every need and catered to her every whim, and I thought that by Sunday, the two of us were really starting to get along. But as you can see in the slideshow, she still hasn't warmed up to me quite yet.
Thankfully, I managed to escape, and despite my ordeal... I'm just as big a Christine fan as ever.
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A special thanks to my longtime friend and professional photographer Steve Figueroa, who made spectacular pictures out of my less-than-perfect shots from the event.