By Jane Lasky
Anyone who has ever named their car knows that these handy four-wheeled transporters possess their own unique personalities. Most are not of the evil kind—at least in real life—but on the big screen, anything can happen, including the presence of a number of hair-raising hoopties that become major menaces to many an American community. Consider the following.
Author Steven King doesn’t hold back on the horror, whether that be with his characters, his settings, or even his well-placed props. Cars are definitely included in the latter, with some of those vehicles also categorized in the former. Christine is one of the most famous of the lot.
The vicious 1958 Plymouth Fury that stars in the 1983 John Carpenter-directed terror film—an unforgettable cult classic based on a King bestseller—is acquired by a teen nerd. The boy attempts to restore the red-and-white vintage automobile while suddenly becoming an entirely different (read: arrogant) person as he goes about this task, later discovering his new ride is possessed. In fact, the previous owner died in this particular vehicle. As this point, Christine restores herself to her shining glory, then fixes to go on a rampage to kill.
Wheels of Terror (1990)
A 1974 black Charger is in charge in this small screen movie that fits squarely in the scary category. Oh, and about that car: It seems to be driving itself. While no one is apparently behind the wheel, the vicious vehicle takes to terrorizing young girls, one who happens to be the daughter of the school bus driver who, after seeing her girl being taken, refuses to be bullied. Instead, this dare devil goes after the creepy culprit in a crazy chase that takes place in the desolate Arizona desert. Wheels of Terror, starring Joanna Cassidy, Marcie Leeds, and Gary Carlos Cervantes, was directed by Christopher Cain.
The Car (1977)
Directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack and Lane Slate, and starring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd and John Marley, The Car tells the terrorizing tale of a shiny black automobile bent on terrorizing the citizens of a small Utah community. Enter the town sheriff. This law enforcer is sure he can and will stop the madness by stopping the vehicle that apparently personifies pure evil.
Black Cadillac (2003)
A trio of trouble makers enjoying a wild night out at a roadhouse get waylaid after their ride runs out of steam on a treacherous mountain road. It is then that a certain 1957 Cadillac goes after these ragamuffins, with the daredevil drag racer behind the wheel of this ferocious hunk of metal taking on the three guys in a car chase that spells danger in the most horrific way. Black Cadillac, starring Randy Quaid, Shane Johnson, and Josh Hammond, is based on a real story said to have been experienced by director/writer John Murklowski.
Death Proof (2007)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this highly applauded horror flick that showcases Kurt Russell as the main character—a stuntman who takes to murdering young lovelies—does double duty as both a self-contained, auto-driven thriller as well as a requiem to the slasher/muscle car movies so popular in the 1970s.
The plot? Russell’s psychopath driver named Mike meets a bunch of beautiful women who are out on the town and ready to play. What these females—played by Rose McGowan, Jordan Ladd, Rosario Dawson, and Vanessa Ferlito—don’t know, is that play in this case becomes a deadly proposition, one that sees the madman driver be the only one to survive the drive, protected for some reason by his own particular vintage hunk of malicious metal.