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The Car is a 1977 thriller/horror film directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack and Lane Slate. It starred James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, and Ronny Cox. The story is about a mysterious car which goes on a murderous rampage, terrorizing a small town.

The movie was produced and distributed by Universal Studios, and was influenced by numerous "road movies" of the 1970s including Steven Spielberg's 1971 thriller Duel and Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 (from 1975). It has also been compared to Spielberg's Jaws, with a car replacing the shark. The film is memorable for its sound effects, most notably the terrifying horn blast the car makes when claiming a victim.

Plot summary

The movie is set around the small, fictional, Utahmarker community of Santa Ynez, which is suddenly terrorized by a phantom black sedan that appears out of nowhere. The vehicle begins running people down starting with some bicyclists and then a French horn-playing hitchhiker. After the car kills off the town's Sheriff Everett (John Marley), it becomes the job of Captain Wade Parent (James Brolin), to stop the murderous driver.

The car enters town and begins running down the citizens, first attacking a marching band and terrorizing people at a carnival. It eventually chases a group of people into a graveyard, (among them Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd), Wade's girlfriend), but curiously enough, the machine will not pass onto the consecrated ground and Lauren taunts it. The car then destroys a wall supporting a cross and leaves. The police officers chase the automobile down highways throughout the desert, but it destroys several squad cars before injuring Wade and then mysteriously disappears.

The hunt for the car becomes a personal vendetta for Wade when the automobile stalks and then eliminates Lauren by driving straight through her house. Wade concocts a plan to stop the horsepower-laden menace, but after discovering it waiting for him in his own garage, he is forced to carry out his plans post haste. He lures the car into a mountainous canyon area where his fellow officers have set a trap for the machine. There, a final confrontation settles the score and reveals the driver's frightening identity in a cloud of smoke.

Main cast

Critical reception

The film was panned by critics, citing poor dialogue and acting. The film received a 18% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.


The evil car in the film was a customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III designed by famed customizer George Barris, who also designed the The Munsters "Munster Koach" and the original "Batmobile" used in the 1966 television series Batman.

There were six cars built in six weeks for the filming and all were destroyed during production. Supposedly, a seventh car was built later and displayed for a time at Universal Studios, but was eventually given back to Barris, who later sold it to a private collector in the 1980s.

The late Church of Satan leader Anton LaVey was given a "Technical Advisor" credit on the film. His quote: "Oh great brothers of the night who rideth upon the hot winds of hell, who dwelleth in the Devil's lair; move and appear," is given in the opening credits.

Footage from this film is seen in the Knight Rider episode "Trust Doesn't Rust", shown at the end when "KARR" is destroyed by driving off a cliff, a glimpse of "The Car" is seen going over the cliff instead.

In pop culture

The Ertl Company made a limited edition 1:18 scale die cast model of "The Car".

In the episode "The Honking" of the animated series Futurama, Bender is run over by a strange car that infects him with a virus. This causes him to turn into a "werecar" that looks almost exactly like "The Car."

Ricardo Autobahn's 2009 work, The Golden Age of Video, includes several clips from The Car.

See also


External links

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