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Film / The Car

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Evil’s wheels.

"What evil drives... The Car?"

The 1977 film The Car is exactly what would you get if you crossed Jaws with Duel, minus the Spielberg.

Out of nowhere, a car appears in the fictional Utah town of Santa Ynez. But not just any car: It is a heavily modified black 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III, which proceeds to mercilessly run down local citizens. The local police force is baffled by this, especially given sketchy claims from eyewitnesses that the car had no plates, and much more oddly, no driver...

Enter Chief Deputy Wade Parent (James Brolin), who must find out who or what is driving the damn thing and how to stop it, and hopefully protect his kids, his girlfriend, and, well, everybody else from this motorized menace.

The film stars several well-known character actors, like the aforementioned Brolin, John Marley, Ronny Cox, R. G. Armstrong, and John Rubinstein,


A direct-to-video sequel, The Car: Road to Revenge was released in January 8, 2019. This one, set in a Cyberpunkish-future, focused on a district attorney who was viciously murdered coming back to life as the eponymous car. Ronny Cox cameoed.

There's nowhere to run, so you might as well read these examples:

  • Red Shirt Army: Zigzagged with the deputies. Several are killed quickly and without much of a fight after the attack on the parade, but the ones left, many of them minor characters, provide effective aide in the climax and survive.
  • Scare the Dog: Before the Car crashes the parade rehearsal, the horses that are part of it are shown to be scared.
  • The Sheriff: Everett, then Wade. Wade's father was also a sheriff once.
  • Shirtless Scene: Wade's first scene is one, as he's getting up from bed that he has been sharing with his girlfriend Lauren.
  • Sinister Car: The titular car goes on a murderous rampage, terrorizing the residents of a small town.
  • Shown Their Work: Unlike most movies that inexplicably depict sheriff's departments as being town cops, the sheriff and deputies are accurately depicted as being a county department (Thomas County, according to their patches). It simply appears Santa Ynez is the county seat.
  • Stock Footage: Footage from this movie would later be used in an episode of Knight Rider, where a different sort of evil automobile is sent plummeting over a cliff.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When it's clear that Car Fu and bullets won't work, explosives are used to finally defeat the Car... and even that might not have been enough.
  • Tempting Fate: As he pursues the Car, Ray gleefully and repeatedly brags on how the Car has trapped itself and will easily be taken down. It isn’t hard to guess what happens next.
  • To the Tune of...: The main theme by Leonard Rosenman is based on the Latin hymn "Dies Irae".
  • Toyota Tripwire: When Wade attempts to go inside the Car, it knocks him out with its door.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happened to Tattleman, the deputy on guard duty at the parade rehearsal. He's seen wounded but alive when Margie runs to get his car, and he isn't counted among the dead officers that night, so we know he survived, but some update on his condition would've been nice.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Averted. Even though Lauren died with Chas was supposed to be on guard nearby, but had briefly been detoured, Wade comments that if he'd been there they'd have both died and he doesn't feel any resentment about Chas's survival.