The Wraith (1986) Poster



The black car featured in the movie was a real-life technological wonder, the Dodge M4S. A joint effort of the Dodge Division of Chrysler Motors and PPG Industries, one of the highly sophisticated PPG Pace Cars for the PPG-CART Indy Car World Series. The M4S was designed and constructed at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, and featured performance and technology to match that lofty figure. The innovative body design was developed in the Chrysler studios, while PPG developed the finish - a special bronze pearl paint job formulated just for this car. The M4S was powered by a Chrysler 2.2-liter four-cylinder one-of-a-kind engine that exceeded 194 mph. According to Gary Hellerstein, transportation coordinator for this film, a total of seven versions of the M4S were needed for filming. The original, on loan from Dodge, was used for close-ups and details. Two more "drivers", consisting of perfectly detailed bodies on dune buggy chassis, were used for stunt driving chores. There were four "shells", empty bodies on bare, towable frames, that were sacrificed in various crash scenes.
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While filming a chase sequence shot on a mountainside outside of Tuscon, a crew member was killed and another was critically injured. According to supplementary material on the DVD a camera car was overloaded and overturned. This was the only serious accident during the filming.
Johnny Depp, who was then dating Sherilyn Fenn, was present during filming and was living in the film crew's hotel with Fenn.
Dedicated to the memory of Bruce Ingram, who worked on the film as an assistant cameraman. He was the single person killed when the camera car overturned.
Johnny Depp was considered for the roles of Jake Kesey and Oggie.
The "futuristic" weapon wielded by The Wraith is a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, with a folding stock. It was a 12-gauge tactical shotgun made in Italy, and has the unusual property of functioning in both pump and semi-automatic modes. The odd hook on the weapon is for firing the weapon one-handed with the stock extended, as it wraps around the forearm.
Shot in 27 days.
No explanation is given for the unusual metal bar body attachments that disappear after a kill, though some fans believe these are similar to support braces given people who've gone through severe physical trauma.
Although listed as Plymouth Caravelles in other notes. The cop cars and Loomis's car are Dodge 600s as Caravelles have a plain grille and 600s have the cross-hair grille.
Packard Walsh drove a late-1970s Chevrolet Corvette with a custom paint job and nose clip, with the tail of an 84 Vette; Oggie drove a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z; Minty drove a 1977 Pontiac Firebird with a highly-visible (but apparently non-functional) supercharger; Skank and Gutterboy drove a beat-up 1966 Plymouth Barracuda; Rughead was driving a late-70's Chevrolet pickup. The couple who are cheated out of their car in the first race were driving a similar Daytona Turbo Z. The police drove a variety of mid-1980's Plymouth Caravelles and Gran Furys, as well as early-1980's Chevrolet Malibus; Sheriff Loomis drove a "civilian" Plymouth Caravelle.
Bears a lot of similarity in plot to a TV movie Charlie's father made in 1974 "The California Kid".
Mystery Science Theater 3000 star Felicia Day has stated this is her favorite bad movie of all time, and would love to feature it on Mystery Science Theater 3000 someday.
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).
Rugheads truck is not a Chevrolet, as noted before, but a GMC as can be seen by the GMC emblem on the grille.
The plot of the movie about a murdered victim coming back to take revenge on the vicious gang who killed him was later used as the plot for the The Crow (1994).
Sherilyn Fenn, Charlie Sheen and his future ex-wife Denise Richards all went on to play in different episodes of Friends (1994).
When police are chasing Packard Walsh and The Wraith at the end of the movie, at background can be seen a rainbow. It was purely incidental.
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Matthew Barry (Billy) has worked as a casting director for several of Nick Cassavetes (Packard) films. These include "The Notebook," and "The Other Woman," among others.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The scars on Jakes body matches where Jamie was cut and stabbed when Packard and his gang killed him.
The place where The Wraith arrives to Earth is a desert crossroad. In several beliefs and superstitions a desert crossroad is considered a place to meet supernatural beings, in addition to deal treats with The Devil.
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