The New Batmobile Was Inspired By Stephen King's Christine

To the best of my knowledge, Batman has never named the Batmobile. However, if he did name it and if he followed the tradition of other guys with their cars, chances are, he would give it a woman's name — perhaps Betsy, since it sort of slant-rhymes with Batsy, or Kat, since its engine might purr like Catwoman. Maybe there's even an Elseworlds tale to be told in which Batman discovers the sexy thrills of mechanophilia with the Batmobile à la Julia Ducournau's "Titane."

As it is, the new version of the Batmobile, driving your way in "The Batman" in 2022, draws inspiration from a car named Christine. That's not just any car named Christine, but rather, the 1958 Plymouth Fury at the heart of Stephen King's 1983 novel, "Christine," which John Carpenter adapted into a cult-classic film that same year.

If "Christine" seems like a strange, slightly obscure comparison for a DC superhero film, it goes along with what director Matt Reeves sees as "the horror-genre aspect" of "The Batman." In the new issue of Empire magazine, on newsstands now, Reeves explains:

"[The Batmobile] has to make an appearance out of the shadows to intimidate, so I thought of it almost like Stephen King's 'Christine.' I liked the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of the people Batman's pursuing. There is absolutely a horror-genre aspect to this movie."

She Runs Like a Scream

After the DC Fandome trailer for "The Batman" dropped back in October, I sang the praises of the new Batmobile, with its muscle-car momentum, powered by a classic turbo booster and "some kind of sweet new Bat-hydraulics." This week brought another new trailer for "The Batman," which gave us a fresh look at the "Christine"-inspired Batmobile in action.

The very first image we see in the trailer is that of the turbo booster firing up, and much of what follows rides the same Batmobile momentum, intercutting imagery of a thrilling car chase where Robert Pattinson's Batman runs Colin Farrell's Penguin off the road. The way Reeves frames it — with the Penguin scoping the Batmobile in his side mirror and looking over his shoulder as it bursts through the flames — you can very much see how he might have been going for a horror-movie effect. 

Just imagine the Batmobile as a monster or killer in a slasher movie, relentlessly pursuing the guilty. This goes back to the idea of Batman as a night symbol meant to inspire fear in the "superstitious, cowardly lot" of criminals in Gotham City.

"The Batman" hits theaters on March 4, 2022.