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Packard Walsh and his motorized gang control and terrorize an Arizona desert town where they force drivers to drag-race so they can 'win' their vehicles. After Walsh stabs the decent teenager Jamie Hankins to death for being intimate with a girl whom Walsh wants for himself, the mysterious Jake Kesey arrives, an extremely cool motor-biker with an invincible car. Jake befriends Jamie's girlfriend Keri Johnson, takes Jamie's sweet brother Billy under his wing and manages what Sheriff Loomis can not - the methodical and otherworldly elimination of Packard's criminal gang. Written by
This film contains recognizable elements from a clutch of other popular films: lights flying along lonely roadways and up into the night sky (Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)), heavy, mechanical breathing from a lone menacing figure dressed in an all-black body suit (Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)), road pirates terrorizing a wasteland territory in their modified cars (The Road Warrior (1981))), waving a handkerchief between two cars to start a two-car road race (Rebel Without a Cause (1955)) and a dark car from Hell (The Car (1977)). "I don't know, but whoever he was, he's weird and pissed off!" is a strikingly similar line to one spoken in The Thing (1982). See more »
The flashback shows Keri and Jake making love when the gang busts in and kills Jake. Yet Keri does not know it was them, although there's no way she wouldn't have seen or heard them. See more »
Well, you listen good, Skank. I know it's gonna be hard with your melon on chemical overload, but there's a killer out there and I'm gonna track the hairball down. So, when you two crater-heads get finished mining for nose gold and you get a relapse of memory, you let me know, huh? I'm just a phone call away.
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Let's be serious... this movie isn't meant to win an Oscar. It's just supposed to be fun and in my opinion succeeds on every level. The script is hokey, yet there are some really tender moments, like when Billy Hankins realizes who the Wraith really is. The acting is OK but this isn't Shakespeare. This movie is a great escape. Plus the revenge angle is definitely cool. The ending is actually a little reminiscent of "High Plains Drifter", where there is that one unspoken moment where fantasy and reality blur. This is actually one of my favorite films of the 80's. Sure it is massively dated, but, interesting none the less. Just a side note.... one of the waitresses at the drive in is a young Brook Burke of Wild On and Rockstar INXS fame!!!
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