Thursday, April 2, 2009

Films From the Crypt - Episode 2: The Car

Films From the Crypt - Episode 2 - The Car (1977)

Tagline: "There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop... THE CAR"

Director: Elliot Silverstein

View the trailer

Starring: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley


What can you say about a movie like The Car? Well, firstly I guess I want to say that I actually enjoyed this movie. It's 5.2 rating on the IMDb is fairly Indicative of how enjoyable this movie can be. I say that, because it really is a particularly bad movie. And when bad movies get mediocre ratings, that's saying something. The Car has so much charisma that no matter how shitty the acting, how ludicrous the plot, I can't help but watch it.

The Car begins with two youngsters riding their bikes down the road when a very devious looking pure steel, chop-topped black coupe (it's actually some sort of Frankenstein of a Lincoln Mark III and 5 other cars) comes barrelling down the road at the kids. We get a POV shot from inside this monstrosity, and we see that the windows are actually tinted bllllooooddd reeeeddd. Well, we know that we are off to a good start, because within the first ten minutes two kiddies are bidding their lives bye-bye. That's right, side-swiped and run off the road over a ledge.

Soon after, the car rears it's ugly hood again, this time running over (and repeatedly backing over) a young, hippie hitchhiker. Good call, car! So, things in the nearby sleepy little Southern California town start to get a little hairy. Policeman Wade Parent (James Brolin) and company begin a hunt for the car and its lunatic driver. Soon after, the town's police chief is struck and killed by the car, which ends up getting Wade the promotion to chief.

Of course, we all know that there is no lunatic driver and that the car is possessed(ala Christine, although The Car predates Christine). The demon car ends up taking aim at Wade, his children, and his lovely, Sarah Silverman-looking girlfriend. There some reference to Indian spirits or some such things, but that's never really that important to the story. The Car is not concerned with the "why" of it all, I mean, yeah, there's a timid attempt at it, but the movie is almost entirely concerned with the "how". And that's a good thing, because trying to come up with some plausible solution for this would really come off as stupid.

There are other interesting little side stories that lead nowhere and end up becoming red herring of sorts. One of the policeman is a recovering alcoholic, but starts hitting the hooch again once the shit hits the fan, and another one is a Native American that seems like he knows more than he's telling. But don't all Native Americans seem like they know more than you do? Yes.These side plots just kind of fizzle out and are of no real importance. I guess the writers thought about it, and decided had to make a decision: side story about cop struggling with personal demons or more screen time for the demonic Lincoln? Yeah. You would've made the same decision. There are truly a lot of things wrong with this movie, so I'll spare you from pointing out all the little problems and just focus on what's right about the film.

For my money, there are three scenes that make this movie worth seeing by their own merit. The first one is a scene where someone bites it when the car literally jumps through a house, the second is in the cemetery scene when some old hag just randomly shouts out "Cat Poop!" (really), and the last one is the ending which I won't give details on (just in case).

A very interesting, nutty, piece of campy Americana, The Car stands out as a fun film to watch (especially with a group of friends), even while being a pretty big mess of a movie. Definitely keep your eye out for the Universal Studios DVD release of the film that was released last year.


Interesting Trivia: According to a 1977 interview with James Brolin, the working title of the film was "Wheels".

- Jordan M.
Sulphur Springs, TX


Anonymous said... I watch the clip you provided from Youtube, and I'd have to say that the Brady Bunch characters on the bike lost it for me. But I must muse at the fact that the movie tries to musically give you a "jaws" effect...which I thought was hilarious! And - I resent your comment about running over a hippie, Hippies have feelings too. AND - I agree with you about Native Americans knowing more than we think they grandfather is 1/4 Blackfoot Indian, and he sure as hell thinks he knows everything - which unfortunately he doesn't keep to himself. Oh well. Nice review. I think I'd only watch this if I was drunk.

Olympic Artichoke said...

You definitely need to watch it, drunk or otherwise. Make Pop give it a viddy with you!

Olympic Artichoke banners designed by Whalehead

Email us: