Cinophile – The Car

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Nobody can flog a dead horse like the movie business, the exception being drunk conspiracy theorists. Yet amazingly some themes are practically anemic when it comes to use and abuse. Point in case: the demonic car sub genre. There have been a few valiant stabs at it: Steven King was responsible for Christine and Maximum Overdrive, while you could argue Steven Spielberg’s Duel also featured hell on wheels. But many often overlook a mechanical monster so mean, nobody could call it anything other than… The Car

TheCar_01

The Car flopped badly in its day and critics really hated it. Yet today it seems ripe for the cult market. As the titular antagonist, the car is a mean-looking black automobile which decides to start killing people in a rural town. Josh Brolin’s dad, James, is the poor guy tasked with ultimately slaying the beast, but not before it takes out a good number of people. Starting with a pair of cyclists, the car quickly moves up the ranks – mowing down law officers and even gunning for an entire school field trip.

TheCar_02

Horror films often trip over themselves when they try to explain things. Revealing the man behind the curtain has a certain way of sucking the sheer terror out of something. Not The Car: it never explains why this vehicle is killing people or even where it comes from. It just appears and starts piling up the hit-and-runs. This works well: as the film progresses, the car becomes to feel more and more devilish. Like Zeus becoming a bull to shag someone, except it’s Lucifer and he’s got a hit-n-run itch. Suitably the movie credits Anton “Church Of Satan” LaVey as creative consultant and even uses a quote from his infamous Satanic Bible. This was probably just for marketing sake – the movie doesn’t contain anything occultish. But it’s nice to think that the filmmakers wanted this to be as evil as it can be. At last one homage agrees: when Futurama character Bender became a Were-Car in the episode ‘ The Honking’, he took a shape similar to The Car.

TheCar_03

The Car is perfect material for a remake. The story is suitably lean and pacy, the murders are frequent and graphic (relatively speaking) and the monster sends chills down your spine. Okay, perhaps not that much – you won’t be eyeballing traffic for fear of purgatory. But it certainly has a talent for horror. Actually, scrap that idea: in a remake some dolt will be tempted to actually provide a back story. The Car will have none of that. Because it’s The Car.

 

 

Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.

Last Updated: June 26, 2013

2 Comments

  1. I had this on dvd a few years back. Awesome movie.This car will even drive through your house to kill you.

    • James Francis

      June 26, 2013 at 13:18

      Yeah, that was quite a surprising part of the film. Nobody is safe!

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