5.3/10
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12 user 7 critic

Death Car on the Freeway (1979)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | TV Movie 25 September 1979
A unknown, psychotic driver uses his van to kill unsuspecting female drivers on the freeway.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jan / Jan Claussen
...
Ralph Chandler
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Lieutenant Haller
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Mrs. Sheel
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Rosemary
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Lynn Bernheimer
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Mr. Frisch
Alfie Wise ...
Ace Durham
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Ray Jeffries
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Barry Hill
Tara Buckman ...
Jane Guston
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Becky Lyons
Nancy Stephens ...
Christine
Gloria Stroock ...
Dr. Rita Glass
...
Mr. Blanchard
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Storyline

A woman is badly shaken when she is run off the freeway and nearly killed by a crazy van-driver. Her story is not taken too seriously by TV or the police - until another woman is killed in similar circumstances, also by a dark van. The police seem to have no leads, so a TV reporter starts investigating the similarities between the cases. As the deaths mount, she takes hazard-driving lessons. When she finally locates the driver's whereabouts, he's missing, but chases her onto the freeway... Written by Cynan Rees <cynanrees@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He Kills With a Van. Beautiful Women Are His Victims. Until One Meets Him Head On!

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Autoroute pour la mort  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shelley Hack's TV debut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Penny Dreadful (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fiddler on the roam
4 July 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The television film Duel directed by a young Steven Spielberg had a driver menaced by an unseen truck driver. The film got a cinema release in some places. Obviously inspired by Duel is the 1979 Television movie Death Car on the Freeway where an unseen driver known as the Freeway Fiddler (because he puts on bluegrass music) is terrorising women drivers and pushing them off the freeway. It is surprising that no other driver notices the maniac loose on the road when he is bashing into other cars and being a danger to everyone!

The police (represented by Peter Graves) are reluctant to take these incidents seriously and at one point blame the women for being bad drivers for getting into these scrapes. At least it is a social commentary regarding sexism and the police force!

Shelley Hack is the reporter who makes the story public and plots to catch him even taking special hazardous driving lessons in case the Fiddler pursues her.

The director is Hal Needham, a former stuntman and a director associated with Burt Reynolds and films such as the Cannonball movies. There are some good car stunts from such an esteemed stunt director but it also suffers from rather dull made for 1970s television movie narrative.

George Hamilton is wasted as Hack's ex beau and star news reporter. The film loses focus when it dwells on relationship issues and when it introduces some kind of Hells Angels type of group who may know the identity of the Freeway Fiddler.

An interesting premise made bland and even silly when it should had been grittier.


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