THE CAR (1977)
Article 5390 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
Featuring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley
What it is: Death on four wheels
A killer car is on the loose in a small Utah community. Can the law enforcement officers stop it?
My first brush with this movie was when my wife told me that she’d seen the trailer; it apparently sent her into fits of laughter. So you can imagine that I didn’t go into this one with the highest of expectations. Fortunately, the movie was much better than I expected; the car is creepy enough to pass muster, it uses silence very effectively, and there are moments in the story that are really unexpected. Yet, at least partially because the concept itself doesn’t seem promising, it is always skirting the edge of being campy and comic. The movie also has a sense of weirdness that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t; the “taunting from the cemetery” sequence and the scene where one character is injured by being knocked aside by the car’s door suddenly swinging open were scenes I found more head-scratching than effective. Also, given the powers that the car exhibits, I find it hard to believe that anyone would really believe that the car was defeated at the end of the movie, but that may be intentional, since the movie heavily hints at a sequel that never came. I will say this much; the movie did hold my interest throughout, and there are not a lot of movies that can do that.