October Review: The Car

This low-budget thriller from 1977 has developed a sizable following, and can be seen in pieces on Youtube. Cheesy, yes, but it’s better than you’d expect– and it stars a George Barris custom job.

Title: The Car

Available from Amazon.com

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack, and Lane Slate.

Directed by Elliot Silverstein.

The Car designed by George Barris


James Brolin as Wade Parent

Kathleen Lloyd as Lauren

John Marley as Everett

R.G. Armstrong as Amos Clements

Elizabeth Thompson as Margie
Eddie Little Sky as Denton

Full Cast and crew may be found here.


For no apparent reason, a possessed car begins terrorizing a small town in the American southwest.

High Point:

The film features some decent stunt work, and the night scene in Lauren’s house demonstrates The Car’s ability to transcend its idiotic premise.

The film features some non-stereotypical Native American characters—- still a rarity in films that are not expressly about Indians.

Low Point:

The ridiculous, red-filtered car-o-vision effect.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 They’ve crossed Jaws with Duel and thrown in a little of The Exorcist. This might seem highly derivative, but ripping off those three particular movies at once represents a bizarre kind of originality.

Story: 4/6.

Effects: 4/6 These are good, considering the times and the budget.

Acting: 4/6 The actors don’t embarrass themselves, despite some awkward dialogue. A few put in strong performances; the rest at least match the standards set by the better tv-movies of the era.

Production: 4/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6. The filmmakers have kept it fun and relatively exciting.

Overall: 4/6 The Car is in some respects a better film than Christine, but not as good as Duel. This is the sort of movie you can watch while handing out Halloween candy. You don’t really need to keep up with the plot developments, and the kiddies at your door won’t be traumatized by inappropriate dialogue.

In total, The Car receives a score of 26/42.

Seventies Movie Check-list!

  • Overwrought score: Yes
  • Hero with Burt hair and porn ‘stache: Yes
  • Hip cop: Yes
  • Feisty Heroine: Yes
  • Liberated sexuality: Yes
  • “Jiggle”: Yes
  • Short shorts: Yes
  • Tight pants: Yes
  • Dude with baaad outfit: No
  • Precocious kids: Yes
  • Viet Nam Vet: Yes
  • Zany hippiesque outsider: Yes
  • Fat sheriff: No (but a couple of the deputies are overweight)
  • Car chases: Duh, yes.
  • Cool motorcycle: Yes
  • Custom Van: No—- but did I mention the George Barris car?
  • Inexplicably exploding vehicle: Yes
  • Paranormal/occult gooblygook: Yes
  • Official corruption: No
  • Drug references: No
  • Gratuitous Social Issues: Yes (spousal abuse and alcoholism)
  • Someone getting called “turkey”: Yes
  • Ambiguous Ending: Yes.

October Reviews

October 6: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
October 13: The Golem
October 27: Them!
October 31: ?

3 replies on “October Review: The Car”

  1. This movie creeped me out …
    If you’ve ever been standing on a deserted road, late at night, and there’s a sudden gust of wind out of nowhere …


    It was hokey, but I was eleven or twelve at the time. Cars are *everywhere*, and I have never liked cars with tinted windows.

    Fun movie, I remember it fondly. :)


    • Re: This movie creeped me out …

      It was hokey, but I was eleven or twelve at the time. Cars are *everywhere*, and I have never liked cars with tinted windows.

      I was thirteen when this came out. It’s pretty much the sort of film a thirteen-year-old boy would like to make (70s version).

  2. Honk… … … … Honk Honk Honk

    My brothers and I still imitate that distinctive beep: "Honk…………… Honk-Honk Honk" to mean something is eeeeevil.

    If you’ve seen this movie, I KNOW you can just hear it when you read this.

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