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The Car

Universal Pictures, USA, 1977
AKA: DeathMobile, Wheels
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Writer: Dennis Shryack, Michael Butler, Lane Slate
Cast: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, R.G. Armstrong, John Rubinstein, Elizabeth Thompson, Roy Jenson, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, Kate Murtagh, Robert Phillips, Doris Dowling, Henry O’Brien, Eddie Little Sky, Lee McLaughlin, Margaret Willey, Read Morgan, Ernie F. Orsatti, Joshua Davis, Geraldine Keams, Hank Hamilton, John Moio, Melody Thomas Scott, Bob Woodlock, James Rawley, Louis Welch, Bryan O’Byrne, Don Keefer, Steve Gravers, Tony Brande, Ronny Cox, Kathy Hilton, Leslie Hoffman, Elliott Mason, Johnny Timko

“Oh great brothers of the night, who rideth out upon the hot winds of hell,
Who dwelleth in the Devil’s lair; move and appear!”
                 – Anton La Vey

Some critics had compared The Car to Jaws, and even called it “Jaws on wheels”. When I first saw The Car years ago that was my first thought too, but in a good way. Just like the shark in Jaws it turns up and attacks out of nowhere, at first picking it’s victims where there are no witnesses but slowly creeping closer and closer to populated areas.

When the car settles somewhere around the small desert town of Santa Ynez nobody is safe from it. It strikes out of nowhere at random much like a force of nature and not according to some human logic. It’s a perfect predator.

Two teenagers on bikes, a hitchhiker passing by, and the town’s police chief are among the car’s first known victims. When the chief of police is attacked an old native american woman witness it all. She later claims there was no driver in the car.

We never really get any explanations for what or who or why, but Sheriff Wade Parent, who is leading the hunt for the killer car finds out the old woman was right. At one point the car attacks a parade rehearsal and everyone takes cover at the old graveyard. The car doesnt seem to be able to get at them as long as they stay there. Holy ground? It’s inability to enter the graveyard and the introductory citation from La Vey indicates something supernatural. Maybe the car is possessed by the devil. We never really know.

Not only does it hit people on sight. It also takes out policecars by doing a barrelroll over them and it attacks people even in their own houses.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.