What better way to celebrate the Halloween season than with a look at some truly creepy car cinema. Today's flashback is a supremely diabolical B-movie that does for the road what Jaws (1975) did in the water - The Car (1977). So pull up a Recaro seat you ghouls and goblins and prepare to be scared shitless!
Don't ya just love that horn?! The Car debuted in 1977 and was, like many horror films of the era, of questionable production value and rather campy. No Oscars here. It quickly disappeared from theaters and was soon forgotten. It did, however, grow in subsequent years to have a considerable cult following. While not as large as let's say The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) or Pink Floyd's The Wall (1982), it is routinely included on best car flick lists. Starring a young James Brolin (Josh's Dad) as the Chief Deputy and Ronny Cox as Brolin's second-in-command among others it had a simple plot - a mysterious and demonic car with a mind of its own targets a town and its inhabitants killing them one by one.
And with a name like The Car it certainly better have a good one. And it did! It starts with George Barris. You remember him, the famous car designer and customizer who rolled out some of the top cars for Hollywood such as the original Batmobile, the Munsters hot-rod coach, Starsky & Hutch's Torino, and the Ford station wagon in National Lampoon's Vacation series to name a few. The featured car in The Car was based on a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III coupe. Barris did it up with flat-black paint, tinted windows, custom grille and bumpers, giant fender pontoons in the front, a chopped roof, and no door handles because ... well ... Satan is driving and the Prince of Darkness doesn't very well need door handles.
The movie begins with the car running over bicyclists on a bridge before turning its attention to a very ill-mannered hitchhiker. Did he have it coming? I'll let you be the judge. The local Sheriff, Brolin's boss, investigates and he, of course, gets run over too leaving Brolin in charge. While questioning an eyewitness, she tells him that there was no driver in the car. Oooooooo, creepy.
As the existence of the car becomes known, Brolin and the town's schoolteacher attempt to put the school on lock-down. As if reading their minds, the car attacks the school's marching band driving them into a cemetery. It does not follow. Why not? As the Deputy observes, because the ground is hallowed. After more deaths, road chases, and rampaging by the matte black Connie, a final showdown takes place between the car and Brolin. The car goes over a cliff and dynamite buries it under millions of pounds of rock. Is it over? Not so fast. While the credits roll, the car can be seen patrolling the streets of Los Angeles. You didn't honestly think you could subdue Satan now did you?! Buckle up for sure!