So there’s a deadly, demonic, driverless car driving around a small desert town turning jaywalkers into pancakes and filling potholes with brain matter. It runs down bicyclists, hitchhikers, cops and even a marching band. Since everyone knows that possessed cars can’t enter hallowed ground, the townsfolk camp out in a local graveyard so they don’t get turned into roadkill while sheriff James Brolin and Small Desert Town, USA’s finest (including John Marley from Deathdream and Ronny Cox from Robocop) track the car down and try to give it a parking ticket.
Some of the scenes of the car stalking it’s prey are pretty intense (especially the opening sequence) and feature negative POV shots of the evil auto. Unfortunately you got to sit through a lot of inane lovey dovey bullshit featuring Brolin trying to get his daughters to warm up to his new girlfriend (Kathleen Lloyd from It Lives Again), tons of boring police procedure malarkey and plenty of Indian mumbo jumbo before you get to the good stuff.
I’ve seen plenty of “You have got to be kidding me” moments in films, but the scene where the killer car is corralled by three cowboys on horseback has got to take the cake. Somebody was clearly huffing paint fumes before they sat down to write THAT scene.
The car itself is far and away the best thing about the movie. It was created by George Barris, the man who made the Batmobile for the Batman TV series and exudes a real sense of menace. It’s a shame director Elliot (A Man Called Horse) Silverstein couldn’t make everything else that doesn’t revolve around people getting run over very interesting. If there had been a more capable director in the driver’s seat, the film could’ve been worthwhile, but as it is, The Car deserves to be put up on block and sold for parts. The film is hokey as all get out and starts and sputters more than a broken down Pinto, but any movie that opens with a quote from Anton La Vey can’t be all that bad.
Brolin is OK in the lead, but all his charisma is in his moustache. He would later go on to face the ultimate terror when he married Barbara Streisand. Lloyd is pretty hilarious when she taunts the car by calling it a “psycho idiot horse’s ass!”, but it’s R.G. (Predator) Armstrong who gets the movie’s best line: “I’m going to shove that horn so far up your ass you’ll be farting music for a year!”