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13 user 9 critic

Death Car on the Freeway (1979)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | TV Movie 25 September 1979
An 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
... Lieutenant Haller
... Mrs. Sheel
... Rosemary
... Lynn Bernheimer
... Mr. Frisch
Alfie Wise ... Ace Durham
... Ray Jeffries
... Barry Hill
... Jane Guston
... Becky Lyons
... Christine
... 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 | Plot 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

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Autoroute pour la mort  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shelley Hack's TV debut. See more »

Goofs

During every freeway chase/attack scene, the involved vehicles constantly appear in different lanes with different vehicles surrounding them in each shot, especially when the killer and victim are both traveling in the far left lane - interior close-ups always show them suddenly in the center or right lane with new backgrounds. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Haller: Miss Claussen, I appreciate your interest, but I think we're talking about two separate incidents that have no connection.
Jan: Lieutenant Haller, I called Becky; they both said positively that van had one-way glass.
Lieutenant Haller: But Lynn Bernheimer told investigators the van was black.
Jan: Look at the way the two attacks happened.
Lieutenant Haller: Eh, attacks, attacks is your word, not ours.
Jan: In both instances, okay? The women were trying to get off the freeway, pulled in front of the van.
Lieutenant Haller: *A*, *a* van.
Jan: Okay, a van, and he proceeded...
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Connections

Referenced in Death Proof (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Duel II: Rush Hour Rage!
2 July 2014 | by See all my reviews

Who better than Hal Needham, notorious stunt driver and director of many good ol' boy car chase movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run", could direct this modest but worthwhile TV-thriller with numerous crashes and exploding vehicles? The resemblance with Steven Spielberg's phenomenal "Duel" is unmistakable, but that doesn't necessarily makes this film a blatant rip-off. Both films center on a psychopath who, seemingly without much of a motive, uses his/her vehicle as a deadly murder weapon. In "Duel" it's a filthy old truck in the middle of nowhere, whereas in "Death Car on the Freeway" it's a Dodge van on the traffic-infested highways of California during rush hour (which is probably why he occasionally has to switch license plates and re-paint). William Wood's scenario also hints that the murderous van driver does have a motive, in fact. He exclusively targets attractive women alone in a car, so that must make him a misogynic and underdeveloped pig that can't stand that women grow stronger and more independent nowadays. So, symbolically, the person on his tail is a rather timid and initially insecure female journalist who just liberated herself from her self-centered husband and doesn't get taken seriously by her management, or the TV Company's management. The "freeway-incidents" are tense and spectacular, in spite of the obvious budget restrictions, which is a good thing because the rest of the film is overly talkative and somewhat dull. The crashing cars burst into flames illogically fast, if you ask me, but that only makes it more exciting. Although it's "just" a TV-movie, "Death Car on the Freeway" stars a fairly impressive number of familiar names, like Peter Graves, George Hamilton and Robert F. Lyons. Horror and cult fanatics should particularly keep an eye open for a brief appearance by Sid Haig.


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