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Less is More
guystr0928 November 2003
The Car is a good example of how restraint in the horror genre can work. It honors the tradition of real suspense movies by hinting at more than it shows, and inferring more than it explains. From the cryptic opening quote by Anton Le Vey to the ending in which the two main characters disagree on whether this is really the end, this "demon car" film keeps asking more questions than it answers. For some, this will bring frustration, for others, it makes the movie that much more fascinating. The "body count" is a total of 10 people, with no explicit scenes. And there are no "anonymous" killings. Each victim is named and acknowledged as a real human being and a loss. This is a refreshing departure from gore-fests. I'd rate it a 7 1/2.
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Come on down and get a good deal on existential horror!
hippiedj20 March 2001
I was watching an episode of the animated sci-fi comedy "Futurama" on television and was laughing away at this episode about "The Curse Of The Were-Car" and sure enough....the car they had used was an animated version of that wonderful demon-possessed black sedan from 1977's The Car! Fond memories of that film flooded back to me....

Some critics dismissed The Car as a Jaws on wheels, and it was also lost in the wake of Star Wars' release pouncing any other films out at that time. The general audience was a bit befuddled by the more cerebral aspects of The Car and just weren't sure what they were watching. That's what makes this film one that has made a nice comeback on VHS/DVD for collectors who appreciated all the elements that made The Car unique.

While the film Christine was more of a commercial success, it was a much cruder telling of a story and didn't have a sense of wonderment that drew us into the fantasy. The Car was, as New York Press writer Jim Knipfel wrote, "If Ingmar Bergman had made a horror movie about a murderous automobile, he would have made The Car." The philosophical edge didn't turn the story into a joke, but rather gave some weight to a fantastic and desperate situation, balancing the dread and the actions of the townspeople.

The Car is visually stunning, the desert location is used in a very scenic way instead of vast empty spaces that usually are obvious for film economics. Here, the locations are all over, bridges, mountains, and yes, open spaces...all are used well and keep the beauty in contrast to the sinister element driving through and plowing people down. Excellent camera work keeps this one a notch above even more mainstream films.

I've always though that cars up through the 1970s had faces on them, mostly expressions of anger or sinister intentions. The most beautiful cars in the world could just be so frightening if you look right at them. This black sedan custom made for the film could just sit there and do nothing (well, it does sit on dark streets sometimes) and you'll get chills.

Combine the scenery with the deadly car and the various personalities of the characters, and you have something more profound than just a movie about a mysterious car running people down. These people have purposes, ideals, and obviously problems, and put those against the situation they're faced with...this film is chock full of substance. In a way, like an "art" film, it is true as Knipfel also noted that Ronnie Cox (the alcoholic deputy) is weeping a lot and is seen mostly in doorways and windows. James Brolin (the sheriff) does tend to stop and stare at walls as if to find answers, and Kathleen Lloyd (the school teacher) decides to get in a debate with the Car as it has them trapped in a strangely placed graveyard.

While you won't be terrified out of your seat, you will definitely feel some goose bumps and find yourself with a serious look on your face as you gaze at several scenes. Yes, there is something about this film that transcended the typical horror genre. I have a first printing of the paperback novelization by Dennis Shryack And Michael Butler (Dell Books, May 1977) and the book does go a bit deeper into the why's and how's and such of the Car and the mysticism involved. But the film does a fine job of entertaining, even if you want to say it's schlock, you can't deny it's much elevated above the other B-horror efforts of the time.

Many, many horror films like the pretty-teens-in-peril ones being manufactured ad nauseam are pretty much forgotten after the initial video rentals die down. Then there are films like The Car that have been sought after for years and celebrated when it arrived on VHS/DVD for the first time since its theatrical release in 1977. Films as unique as The Car have held their own because there was care put into their production, more thought to its intention, and a long-lasting affect on those who have understood it and appreciated it.

Sure, a horror film doesn't have to be full of "importance" to be a fun and scary experience, but when film makers take that chance to make something more unique, then good for them! Long live The Car!
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WARNING!!-Please ignore all reviews on IMDb-Just watch the film and judge for yourself.
baz-howard211 January 2008
If it wasn't for the fact that this site is a great reference point...I would just give up ever consulting IMDb again. 'The Car' is an exquisite, dark, modern B-Movie CLASSIC. The consensus of people that would rather give 2007's 'Transformers' a virtual 8/10 and this absolute peach a mere 5 has just about done it for me. I just give up. Honestly...I advise anyone with a half gram of sense to do the same. Does this review system actually represent the mainstream of movie goers? Or is it merely indicative of the moronic, populist, dumbed-down tripe that marks "great CGI" and "All-Star Casts". I'm beginning to feel more and more that its the latter. Increasingly, it seems there is a stockade consisting of all celebrity line-ups and patchy plots repaired by Mac Monkey Special effects, that effectively provide a barrier between us (the viewer) and any real talent.
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Don't See This Film With MST3 Fans...
2savages25 May 2002
I think those who are slamming this film are missing the point. The dialog does tend to be dull, and the characters are often uninteresting, if not one-dimensional. There is no explanation for where the car came from, where it goes, and who or what it is.

Welcome to real life.

If you're looking for a well-thought-out story with highly-developed characters, and a movie where everything that happens is explained and wrapped up at the end, this is the wrong movie.

If you're looking for a movie that at times feels like a cross between a news report and a diary, this is the one.

The unpredictability of the car, the unexplainability of its actions, the normalcy of the people in the movie all make a rather unbelievable story, well... believable.

And I LOVED the ending. I wish they had made a "Car II: the devil takes Manhattan." :)

Blair Witch Project takes shaky camcorder scenes about a witch we never see and spends the entire show having the characters scream and cuss at each other. It is a hit.

The Car combines beautiful cinematography, a logical progression of events, and gets you involved trying to figure out how to stop this monster. It is ridiculed as "70s trash."

Rent this film, & you decide who is right!
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The Devil Passed His Driver's Test!
Cobbler4 January 2000
What a flick. I just bought the widescreen edition and watched it to celebrate the new century. Let me briefly list a few of its many strong points, most of which are essential to the success of the 1970s "Killer Object/Animal" horror subgenre:

1. Colorful small-town (desert, Southwest-y) flavor. A parade or similar celebration (rodeo, picnic) should occur. 2. Quirky dialogue. 3. John Marley acting beligerent. 4. A Panicked Crowd Scene, with folks dashing for their lives as the demonic beast/machine/inanimate object heads their way. 5. A smart-alleck hippie who meets a horrible end.

Seriously, though-- this film isn't "scary" in the traditional sense, but its true power lies when you really start thinking about the car itself. Where did it come from? Is the Devil driving? And is it plaguing our major characters because of their sins? (i.e. Ronny Cox as an alcoholic falling off the wagon, James Brolin as a single parent trying to keep his daughters happy as he dates sexy Kathleen Lloyd.) What I'm saying is at its heart, this is a creepy, unsettling film with some really strange philosophical/religious questions at its core. And how many horror films can claim that? A solid 7/10.
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gypsycaine13 June 2003
The devil made me do it. Really. I bought this VHS the second I saw it. It kept me awake with nightmares as a child, and the library offered no help in locating it until I hit that nice vowel-starting auction site. In re-watching it, I realized that there are signs of the decade it was created (especially in the bell-bottoms, I couldn't stop laughing when I watched the kids in the band practice their parade because the fashion world has come back to them again!), but there are other nice things.

One of the main details that this movie has is no explanations are made. The Indian woman comments about the ill wind that came with the car when she gives testimony. The sheriff's deputy feels that the reason it can't go into the graveyard is due to the hallowed ground. (Btw, the graveyard scene is the one that freaked me out as a kid). Parent (Brolin) discovers there are no handles on the doors, and another witness says that there's no driver. This all adds up to a nasty scenerio. Much like the later movie Poltergeist, you have to wonder if the Indians are right--get out of town! (they fled to the Deep Country--smart cookies!)

I adore Kim Richards, and her sister Kyle is a darling in this film. As an adult, I couldn't help but think who would take care of them should something happen to Parent. I think this is a good sign in a movie--you really begin to identify with the characters when things like this come to you!

The comment at the beginning from Anton gives the whole movie's plot a good basis. I do recommend this as a stay-home, eat popcorn, and enjoy flick!


**** out of *****
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The Car is the star in this underrated gem
fertilecelluloid9 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Car is the star in this tense, single-minded thriller. Belonging to the "Duel" / "You Drive" / "Christine" school of driverless car TV and cinema, it is a testament to its makers that the film manages to be suspenseful and unnerving for most of its ninety minutes.

Unlike "Duel", the climax does suggest that a supernatural force had possessed The Car -- however, from the scary appearance of the thing, I'd lay bets that the vehicle was nasty long before it was possessed.

A masterstroke is the car's horn. It's frightening and creepy. And in the scene where The Car attempts to enter a cemetery, it is used to chilling effect.

The film is also very well shot and makes great use of wide angle lenses and low angle traveling shots. The car itself, built by the geniuses behind the Batmobile, is a prize, a lumbering, bloated killing machine with a hot grill and curved edges.

Underrated and under-appreciated.
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Satan's Boss Wheels
GroovyDoom26 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
You may be surprised to find out that, while it's not Grade-A material, "The Car" is actually a very well-made and underrated film. The director's biggest achievement is that he has taken a ridiculous premise and somehow crafted a fine thriller out of the material. He uses some sly techniques to get the viewer involved with most of the characters, even the ones who are in the film only to get run over by the villain: a mysterious black sedan that drives out of the desert to randomly run people down.

Sure, sure, it's silly, but within the dry universe of this movie, it comes off as very menacing. Not only is the film well-constructed, but it plays on some very deep psychological reactions that we as human beings share. I think every person is unconsciously wary of being struck by a speeding car, and here is a car that exists solely for that purpose. If a car on the highway cuts you off, you're probably going to think "That guy's an idiot," but the characters don't often refer to the "driver" of the car when talking amongst themselves, they acknowledge it as simply "the car". Notice the subtle moment when one of the little girls in the film says that Lauren "cussed the car out"--not the driver! Additionally, a car horn can immediately conjure a rush of primal fear--how many times have you drivers had a near-accident that was avoided only because of the honk of a horn?--and the weird staccato horn blasts of the car suggest a disproportionately larger vehicle, like an 18-wheeler. Completing the effect is the fact that the car has no driver. This isn't the work of a psycho motorist, it's actually the car itself that is doing it.

The cinematography is outstanding in this film, too. There are many subtle images that make an impression, such as long, wide shots of the desert that are broken by the glimmer of sunlight off of the car's windshield off in the distance. The car itself is intriguing--it has a few identifiable characteristics of a modified Lincoln, but it's very weird. In one of the movie's creepiest scenes, the grille of the car rolls silently out of the blackness and waits for the perfect moment to attack, suddenly roaring to life and taking off like a bat out of hell to go run down its intended victim. There is also a brilliantly freakish moment when we suddenly realize exactly what the car is capable of; it does not even need to stick to the road to carry out its violent intent, and we see it careening toward one of its victims even as she huddles inside her house. The director makes full use of the locations, such as the strange tunnel at the beginning of the film, those wide open desert shots, and the quarry at the climax of the film, when our heroes set a trap for the car.

The weaknesses include certain portions of the soundtrack, campy thriller music that cheapens the overall effect of the film. There is also some awkward acting from a few of the supporting characters. One particularly shocking scene, where the car attacks a children's parade rehearsal, features a few goofy moments of humor (intentional and otherwise) that lessen the overall effect of an otherwise tense scene. The lives of the characters encompass some unpleasant elements such as spousal abuse, alcoholism, and religious crisis, but it gets a little too heavy-handed and the first impulse is to not take these things seriously.

But when "The Car" is all revved up, it's very suspenseful and effective. There are some truly amazing stunts in it, and they're captured well on film. It's got a giddy sort of terror to's both silly and scary. Highly recommended.
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I give it a 10
Terr3229 October 2000
not because I think it is a perfect movie, but because of all the people who have severely underrated this movie. This is a very well crafted movie. No, its not the best acted movie, but for this type of movie, it is. You have to look at these movies in a relative manner. Its a movie about a mysterious car that goes around wreaking havoc. That is the story. A ridiculous premise but the makers pull it off. No small feat. The actors do a good job and I really enjoyed the direction, especially the long shots out in the desert. See this in widescreen, if possible. It adds a lot to the feel of the movie. James Brolin is very good as the hero and there are a lot of memorable scenes. No, its not a 10. More like an 8.5, but its far better than a 5 average.
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Another good job by Elliot Silverstein!
RodrigAndrisan29 May 2018
Six years after Spielberg's "Duel," this "The Car" resumes the theme and manages to make an equally dramatic and engaging film. Perhaps this is exactly what Elliot Silverstein has proposed and succeeded. Not seeing who the driver is, the big black car is the evil character, a devil-possessed car. Which "dies" in a massive explosion, but because is the devil himself, the end credits are flowing on the images with the wheels of the same car... Great performances by all the actors, James Brolin, John Marley, Ronny Cox, but specially by Kathleen Lloyd and R.G. Armstrong. Great suspense!
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Movie based on the an Urban legend of Route 666
Sirsharp11 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***Contains Spoilers!!***

This movie about a black sedan that terrorizes a town by running over anybody it can. Is actually inspired by the legend of Route 666. The story goes, that a black sedan or truck sinisterly use to run vehicles off the road, and even play chicken with on suspecting drivers. Legend says this black vehicle is blamed for numerous deaths, and actually at one point in time; had a real Police A.P.B out on it.

If this is not enough to scare you, it is a very little known fact that Anton Levy the one time leader of the satanic church is listed in this movie's credits as an advisor!!

James Brolin gives a wonderful performance as Wade. The unfortunate sheriff faced with the problem of stopping something, that can't be stopped.

The Black car gives off a very sinister sounding air horn that just goes right through you.

I first saw this movie at age 8, on Late night T.V. I must say it gave me nightmares. Watching it now does still gives me a bit of a chill, knowing that out there some where in the Arizona desert, they may be a car just like this!!

I give it 7 out of 10.
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Driving Home Terror!
ReelCheese18 July 2006
Anyone who sets aside time for a movie about a possessed car that runs people down knows they're not not going to get an Oscar winner. Still, THE CAR is a decent (though largely forgettable) little 1970s horror film.

THE CAR is reasonably paced with enough unique qualities that its intended audience won't be completely disappointed. A wry James Brolin stars as a small town sheriff leading the charge against the big ugly car as it mows down innocent cyclists, antagonizes school children and plows through homes. The characters are surprisingly developed, believable characters who react to this madness as (probably) you or I would. It's director Elliot Silverstein's willingness to take the story seriously, avoiding obvious opportunities for campiness, that makes the automobile (custom made for the film) a dynamic villain. That said, at no point is THE CAR particularly scary. Then again, how many horror films actually are?

What's interesting about THE CAR is that no one, not even the audience, knows where the vile vehicle came from. It simply shows up on an otherwise beautiful day. Some might see this as a cop out, but Silverstein, who cut his teeth on THE TWILIGHT ZONE, among other TV series, wisely understood one of the enduring rules of horror: some things are better left unexplained. The film's climax does reveal who was behind the wheel (if you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it), but the hows and whys of the situation remain up to our individual interpretations.

There's not a great deal of appeal in THE CAR to those outside its target audience of popcorn-munching horror buffs. But if you find the film's premise irresistible, you'll want to take THE CAR for a spin.
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What is the car? It's a Barris.
willybgood11 October 2003
Designed for the movie "The Car" starring James Brolin. Made from a 1971 Lincoln. Fenders were 20 gauge steel shaped over the original body. The grill was hand made from square steel tubing. 4 bumpers made from heavy 18 gauge steel. Seven inch single headlights sunk behind the grill and fender. Body was raised to upper doorline. Four radius wheel wells around a six inch reverse deep chrome wheels and Goodrich tires.

Top was chopped 4 inches with all black transparent windows. Full body roll bars installed over and around stunt driver. A steel tube canon was installed on passenger side which had a telephone pole inside and steel cap which housed dynamite and black powder. When the stunt man rolled the car he would trigger the tube telephone pole by igniting the dynamite which drove the pole into the ground and roll the car 5 times. Finished with 20 coats of black pearl lacquer. A total of four were made.

I love this particular custom. Its looks mean and growls nicely. Too bad i can't afford it.
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Not a great classic, but still fun to watch
Milpool27 October 1999
I really like the car. Having seen it years ago, when I was just young, I recently purchased the remastered, widescreen version, which brings out the desert in a much greater degree of clarity. The Car is, by no means of the word, a true classic, but a good film none the less, if only for great cinematography, and a few unbelievable stunts. The dialogue in between the car's attacks is made up mostly of filler; I can't seem to watch that early bedroom scene without hitting fast-forward (what was all that tripe anyways?). Nevertheless, That wicked Black Sedan stays in your memory, long after you've seen the movie. Where can I get an evil sounding air-horn like that?!
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Thriller tale of a sadistic, killer car who hunts anyone.
rick.spencer231 October 2000
I've seen "The Car" several times over the years. I am a big fan of horror movies and while this is not exactly a "classic" by any means, I still enjoyed it. The plot is basically a car which drives around a desert town killing everyone/anyone it can. In these types of movies, you tend to enjoy watching and choosing who becomes the victims. I found the acting to be a little trying at times. In fact, at times, very bad. I mean, having two actors scream at each other (in one scene) does not create tension, it creates confusion. I like James Brolin in this film and John Marley as well, even though he didn't have much to do.

The star of the movie is "The Car". What I did not enjoy about the film was as a viewer I did not know anything about the car. Where did it come from? Why was it there? Was it the devil? A demon? I wanted to know more about this killing machine. I found that by the end of the film I was still a little confused. Also, I think this movie was a rip-off of the TV thriller released back in 1974, "Killdozer". The tale about a killer bulldozer terrorizing a construction crew. Possibly one of the worst ever made TV movies. The Car was much, much better. I remember seeing "The Car" at the movies. I think it stayed for about a week. Needless to say, the movie was a bomb. However, that does not mean it was a bad movie. There aren't very many horror movies that are a big success at the movie theatre. I think they tend to be more successful on video.

It's a shame that this movie wasn't more successful because I was looking forward to a sequel. Who knows, maybe they'll release "The Car 2" or "Son of Car". All that being said, take my advice, rent this movie. Pull up a chair, put the lights on low, snuggle beside your favorite person (wife, etc.), grab some munchies and, no matter what you do, make sure you keep that remote in your hand at all times.

Sit back and enjoy!
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The Creepy Car of the Devil
claudio_carvalho25 September 2009
While traveling through the desert nearby the small town of Santa Ynez on their bicycles to camp, two teenage bicyclers are murdered by a mysterious black car. Then the car hit-and-run a hitchhiker and the crime is witnessed by the local Amos Clements (R.G. Armstrong). Sheriff Everett (John Marley) puts his men in alert and plans road blocks in the area to arrest the murderer. Sooner he becomes a victim of the car and Sheriff Wade Parent (James Brolin) begins a hunting of the vehicle that is threatening his town and seems to be impossible to be located. When his beloved girlfriend and teacher Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd) challenges the driver in a cemetery, the car hunts her in her home and Wade realizes that he might be dealing with supernatural powers.

The cult "The Car" is a supernatural tale of a creepy car that apparently might be driven by the devil himself. The entertaining story is visibly inspired in "Duel" and is inconclusive, and the viewer never knows for sure whether the car is driven by a demoniac being or by a wicked skilled driver. The havoc caused by the car is never graphic and that is a good point since the story is supported by the performances and the choreography of the stunts in the car chase. Further, thirty-two years later this movie has not aged. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Carro, A Máquina do Diabo" ("The Car, The Machine of the Devil")
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Over-customized Lincoln on a rampage
knsevy12 December 2002
Forget the hokey hook in this film. Try to appreciate it for the creepy flick that it IS. Mind you, I fully endorse running over French horn players (and I used to BE one)...

I rate this as a beautiful horror flick for one big reason: the good guys don't win outright. After all the terror and killing, the cops still need the help of the wife-beater to put an end to the 4-wheeled monster. I love films where heroes and villains have to work together.

If I'm not mistaken, The Car is a George Barris customization. Whether that's right or not, I know it's a heavily-modified 2-dr Lincoln, most likely a '67 or '68 model.

This is a fun film to watch, whether you're out for a thrill or just to MST a bad movie.

K. N. Sevy
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They Saved Hitler's Car!
Jeope!14 July 2000
Lemme say this about "The Car" - the horror movie genre received a monumental boost in credibility with the release of this proud and noble pic. Gathering together some key horror movie elements (small desert town, scrappy desert folk, demonic Lincoln), the makers of "The Car" must've felt they were on top of a goldmine. They had an A-list cast led by the future Mr. Barbra Streisand and the awesome Ronny Cox. After a decade of love, peace and grooviness, America was once again ready for killer car movies. So what went so terribly wrong? Two words: Star Wars.

It's true. If it weren't for George Lucas, "The Car" would've been the surefire hit of 1977 and we'd all be reminiscing about the classic "Car Wars" trilogy and remembering how incredible James Brolin was as Indiana Jones.

Sadly, "The Car" disappeared into the night, never to receive the credit it deserved as a true horror breakthrough as a classic portrayal of man versus machine. Pitting a mysterious chopped-down souped-up Lincoln with a cruise-ship horn against a motley crew of never-say-die townsfolk, "The Car" follows the bloodthirsty path of a supercharged, soulless sedan as it brutally chews up scenery, cyclists, and one memorable french-horn-toting hitchhiker. It is indeed a chilling movie that eerily foretold future trends such as road rage and godawful James Brolin films, with an ending for the ages.

Bearing in mind, a great deal of this is sarcasm. But truthfully, "The Car" is highly recommended for the good-bad-movie lover - it is an excellent film to make fun of.
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Very Good!
NerdBat18 February 2018
I thought it was just going to be another B movie, but hey, this one actually turned out pretty good. The only parts I wasn't too keen on was the fact that the car literally just "shows up" out of seemingly nowhere, and you never find out what it really truly is, or why its there. The way the movie is layed out, it can leave you on the edge of your seat at times, which is rare with this kind of film usually. There are some times as well that leave you forming your own little theories on why certain events are taking place, for example, the car being unable to enter a graveyard. The reasoning for this is suggested, but never truly set in stone. Later on you notice the car is completely indestructible, its tires unbustable, glass unbreakable and completely unstoppable, which adds to the suspense. The ending, for me, was both a bit confusing, and very eye opening. I really liked this film, more than I thought I would.
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Pay no attention to the 5.0 rating...
xhari_nairx15 June 2001
Most of these voters probably saw a pan and scan television cut and probably hate movies released before 1989. BATMAN FOREVER and THE MUMMY RETURNS have higher ratings, and that, dear reader, is pure bull. The truth is that this movie's got more going for it that 90% of the genre films of the last 20 years. If only I was born about 15 years earlier, I would have been old enough to enjoy the American films of the '70's in their theatrical run. THE CAR is another testimony to the superiority of the '70's cinematic sensibilities. Here's a movie about a killer car (not a killer driver, mind you, but a killer car). Yes, it's JAWS with a car. But the craft involved really makes this film exceed what you might think possible for a film with such a hoo-dah B-movie premise. The set pieces are constructed with care, (boosted by fine cinematography and editing) and the car winds up genuinely menacing. The characters are nothing to write home about, but they at least react to the prospect of a menacing killer vehicle in a fairly tangible way (that is, except for the the hero's girlfriend in the movie's worst scene, but hey, it's a set up....). That is an important thing most genre thrillers prefer to pass up on (or fail to accomplish). The bottom line is that this is a JAWS rip-off that actually attempts to rip-off the strengths of JAWS, and succeeds. That's worth a rental (make sure to watch the widescreen version).
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Underratted Little Sleeper
eibon0411 July 2001
Before there was Christine(1983), there was The Car(1977). Some of the best automobile stunts come from this movie. An atmospheric and sinister film with some interesting religious motifs. To call this film a Jaws rip off is to give this film a disservice for the movie is more a deep look into the faithless lives of the townspeoples. More closer to Ingmar Bergman than Jaws(1975). The Car(1977) was written by Michael Butler who also wrote the horror film, Murder by Phone(1980), and the Western ghost story, Pale Rider(1985). Ronny Cox plays a varation of the character from Delieverence(1971). Brilliantly directed by Elliot Silverstein. The highlight of the film is the opening sequence. Very good motion picture that has gain a cult following over the last twenty plus years.
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One of my all time favorite!
darill-280273 January 2018
This is one of my all time favorite, I still watch it sometimes because I have the DVD disc in my collections. I would love to see a new remake or a new movie like this one again.
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A Pretty Fun Ride in The Car
ShotgunHemingway25 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
What can you say about a movie like The Car? Well, firstly I guess I want to say that I actually enjoyed this movie. It's 5.2 rating on the IMDb is fairly Indicative of how enjoyable this movie can be. I say that, because it really is a particularly bad movie. And when bad movies get mediocre ratings, that's saying something. The Car has so much charisma that no matter how shitty the acting, how ludicrous the plot, I can't help but watch it.

The Car begins with two youngsters riding their bikes down the road when a very devious looking pure steel, chop-topped black coupe (it's actually some sort of Frankenstein of a Lincoln Mark III and 5 other cars) comes barreling down the road at the kids. We get a POV shot from inside this monstrosity, and we see that the windows are actually tinted blood red. Well, we know that we are off to a good start, because within the first ten minutes two kiddies are bidding their lives bye-bye. That's right, side-swiped and run off the road over a ledge.

Soon after, the car rears it's ugly hood again, this time running over (and repeatedly backing over) a young, hippie hitchhiker. Good call, car! So, things in the nearby sleepy little Southern California town start to get a little hairy. Policeman Wade Parent (James Brolin) and company begin a hunt for the car and its lunatic driver. Soon after, the town's police chief is struck and killed by the car, which ends up getting Wade the promotion to chief.

Of course, we all know that there is no lunatic driver and that the car is possessed(ala Christine, although The Car predates Christine). The demon car ends up taking aim at Wade, his children, and his lovely, Sarah Silverman-looking girlfriend. There some reference to Indian spirits or some such things, but that's never really that important to the story. The Car is not concerned with the "why" of it all, I mean, yeah, there's a timid attempt at it, but the movie is almost entirely concerned with the "how". And that's a good thing, because trying to come up with some plausible solution for this would really come off as stupid.

There are other interesting little side stories that lead nowhere and end up becoming red herring of sorts. One of the policeman is a recovering alcoholic, but starts hitting the hooch again once the crap hits the fan, and another one is a Native American that seems like he knows more than he's telling. But don't all Native Americans seem like they know more than you do? Yes.These side plots just kind of fizzle out and are of no real importance. I guess the writers thought about it, and decided had to make a decision: side story about cop struggling with personal demons or more screen time for the demonic Lincoln? Yeah. You would've made the same decision. There are truly a lot of things wrong with this movie, so I'll spare you from pointing out all the little problems and just focus on what's right about the film.

For my money, there are three scenes that make this movie worth seeing by their own merit. The first one is a scene where someone bites it when the car literally jumps through a house, the second is in the cemetery scene when some old hag just randomly shouts out "Cat Poop!" (really), and the last one is the ending which I won't give details on (just in case).

A very interesting, nutty, piece of campy Americana, The Car stands out as a fun film to watch (especially with a group of friends), even while being a pretty big mess of a movie.
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A very solid & suspenseful 70's vehicular horror film
Woodyanders28 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
An admirably sober-minded entry in the demonic killer car fright film sub-genre, this surprisingly creepy and unnerving picture has a big, ugly, driverless black sedan terrorize the dusty, desolate desert armpit burg of Santa Ynez, New Mexico. It runs over several folks left and right before stalwart Sheriff Wade Parent (an excellent, properly steely and courageous James Brolin, who ironically went on to become a spokesman for Amco!) forms a posse to track the evil automobile down and destroy it.

The admittedly absurd fantastic premise stretches credibility to a near breaking point, but thankfully the plot's patent ridiculousness is successfully surmounted by Elliot Silverstein's smooth, plain, unfussy direction, Leonard Rosenman's ominous, menacing score, Gerald Hirschfield's gritty, panoramic cinematography (the widescreen shots of the arid, sprawling desert terrain evoke a harrowingly palpable sense of isolation and vulnerability), a grimly serious, brooding tone that's rife with dread, despair and a particularly nerve-wracking sense of gradually escalating hopelessness, all-around bang-up acting (Ronny Cox is especially fine as a weak, alcoholic deputy), realistically drawn warts-and-all characters, judiciously used special effects, and, most significantly, a remarkably solemn, mature and even complex script by Dennis Shyrack, Michael Butler and Lane Slate which refuses to explain the car's uncanny supernatural powers, therefor creating a marvelously ambiguous and very unsettling gloom-doom mood that's further enhanced by generous sprinklings of believably harsh unfairness and stark amorality (both caring, compassionate original sheriff John Marley and Brolin's sweet schoolteacher girlfriend Kathleen Lloyd are killed while vile, hostile wife beater R.G. Armstrong helps save the day). The typically terrific Anchor Bay DVD for this genuinely scary and gripping 70's vehicular horror outing offers a gorgeous'n'gleaming letter-boxed presentation along with the theatrical trailer and a couple of nifty thumbnail bios.
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Honk! Honk!
bannonanthony13 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I finally have this film on videotape to keep and I must say that satisfies me greatly, as this film is a very suspenseful and action-packed feature. The story concerns a nasty looking black customised Lincoln (which I'm glad to say made Sky One's list of the movies' greatest cars) with tinted windows which, presumably, hide the fact that there is no driver. It terrorises a small Californian town called Santa Ynez (Hicksville would be a more appropriate name for it) and slaughters several people.

James Brolin plays Wade Parent, sheriff of the town (Well, he was deputy sheriff until the hot-rod from Hell made a pancake out of his boss.)who tries desperately to stop it's reign of vehicular homicide, but with very little success. His Bible-bashing buddy Luke realises that the car is demonic as it could not harm a crowd that was hiding out in a cemetery. For Brolin, the matter becomes personal when the car kills his girlfriend, and with the aid of the local wife-beating demolition expert, Luke, a stereotypical Indian deputy named Chas, a squad of firemen turned cops and a mother-lode of dynamite, he defeats Satan's Street Machine. Or has he? As the credits start rolling, we hear the familiar blast of the car's horn and see it driving around somewhere else. Or was there more than one in the first place? That's one of the problems with this film. Many questions are left unanswered. I am willing to believe that the car was indeed demonic, but what was it's motive for killing people? Another IMDb user suggested that it was punishing people for their sins. Well, the two teens at the start were intending to elope together, so I understand that. But the other guys it kills did nothing. The aforementioned wife-beater is left off the hook, even by the cops. Okay, so he helps them to destroy The Car in the end, but that's no guarantee that he won't use his wife for a punching bag again.

Also, I know that the film is set in a small town, but even in a small town since when were the police force allowed to recruit people from the fire department to replace their losses? Did the guys take a crash course in law enforcement as well? At the end of the day, who cares? It's just plain, harmless fun. Recommended!
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