With the pagan ritual known as Hallowhoon just around the corner, I thought it might be a good opportunity to take a look at some car-related horror movies to fit the season. If you’ve ever been a teenager on a date, you know that nothing gets her scrunched up next to you better (or is as good an excuse to scrunch up next to him) than a good scare-fest. Since we’re all car geeks here, we might as well kill two birds (the Birds, now that’s a scary movie- remember the Aston Martin in that one?) with one stone and take a look at some of horror-dom’s best and scariest cars and trucks.
So, without further adieu we give you-
Redusernab’s Top 10 Scariest Movie Vehicles!
Number 10: Frankenstein’s Death Race 2000 Car-
While it may have been no more than a beetle kit car with a lot of makeup, the fastest car on Earth sure managed to do a lot of damage in this camp classic. David Carradine, post Kung Fu, but pre autoerotic asphyxiation death, plays the man-made man, specially constructed to drive the death-dealing lizard car, but incapable of love.
Number 9: The War Wagon from Jeepers Creepers-
It can fly, it can hum a tune, it’s into scrapbooking. And it’s 7 feet tall, and drives the Utility Truck from Hell. Jeepers Creepers is a road picture, and that road is littered with the corpses of attractive teens up to no good- standard fare for movie maniacs, and the kind of characters that might as well wear a shirt with “Monster Chow” emblazoned on the front.
The war wagon doesn’t get a lot of scream time, but the scenes of it chasing the main protagonists in their Chevy Bel Air are some of the scariest of the movie.
Number 8: The car from The Car –
Before he married Barbra Streisand, James Brolin faced another horror- a maniacal killer car in The Car. Driverless and looking like a Monte Carlo with botched plastic surgery, the Car is evil incarnate, and it’s up to Brolin to send it back to Hell.
Number 7: Freddy Kruger’s Cadillac-
Although only arriving at the end of this slasher paragon, the Krugster’s ’56 Eldorado Brougham- where his body was dumped at Penny Brothers Auto Salvage- impresses with its sassy green and red striped top. Its self-possessed raising and window-closing lets both the teens inside, and the audience, know that a sequel was not far away. Also, somebody needs to tell Ronee Blakley that that is not a door.
Number 6: The Wraith-
It’s hard to say which is scarier in this high-octane ‘80s thriller- the lead character’s insatiable thirst for revenge, or Clint Howard’s freak-show hairdo. The film’s tagline is If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear. Well, as we all know, teenagers are all about doing the wrong, so they are the Wraith’s primary victims. Sex addict Charlie Sheen stars, along side a heavy helping of ‘80s fashion and thumping new wave soundtrack. Scary!
Number 5: The truck from Duel–
Before he blew us all out of the water with Jaws, Steven Spielberg made the roads seem even more deadly than tailgating a Pinto, with one of the most effective mano-a-mano contests for survival ever seen on a movie of the week.
Taking time out from playing McCloud, Dennis Weaver portrays a passive man who passes a trucker who’s too full of road rage to let the slight pass by. What follows is ninety minutes of cat and mouse, seat of your pants battle that stands up today as one of the great action films of any era.
Number 4: The Deathproof Nova-
Deathproof is the better half of the Grindhouse double feature, and stands as a pretty decent Quentin Tarantino movie in its own right. Kurt Russell was not the first choice to play Stuntman Mike, but as Mickey Rourke was busy making himself pretty for the Wrestler, Russell stepped up. He acquits himself very well. The majority of the terror in the film comes at the end of act I, when a head-on collision is presented in excruciating, multi-angle detail. More terror comes in the second act when Aussie stunt legend Zoe Bell hood-surfs a Challenger in pursuit of Russell’s replacement ride.
Number 3: The Wagon from Paint Your Wagon–
Scary Clint Eastwood singing!- The horror, the horror!
Number 2: Christine–
Who hasn’t wished for a car would that make them cooler? Of course, you always have to be careful what you wish for, as Horror-master John Carpenter demonstrates in the best of the ‘80s possessed car movies. Based on the Steven King novel of the same title, and featuring an appropriately named Plymouth Fury, Christine proved that not taking care of your car will come back to bite you on the ass. And then run you over.
And the number one scariest movie car is. . .
The Tall Man’s hearse from Phantasm. Dubious plotting, amateur acting and wicked-bad dialog aside, when Angus Scrim starts chucking zombie dwarves at you, it’s enough to make you rip the velour out of the theater seat with your butt cheeks. The Tall Man is one of the creepiest horror villains in film history, and when he rocks the Caddy hearse he proves that it brings enough evil to be more than the match for the film’s ’70 Hemi Cuda that the orphan-brother protagonists roll in.
Scrim is able to one-arm caskets from the back of the hearse, and whether driven by him, or one of the min-Zees, the creepy car has an almost supernatural ability to keep up with even that Cuda. While later Phantasm movies have failed to capture the claustrophobic terror of the first, appearances by both the Tall Man and his über-creepy ride have made them at least watchable. BOY!
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