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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Car (1977) - Horror

The Car (1977) - From the opening scene where two bicyclists are run off the road and over by the black car of the title; the question of "why?" is the elephant in the room. Is it a wealthy thrill seeker reaping death on the lower classes from his customized Lincoln? Is it the ghost of native Americans marginalized in the desert town? Is it some kind of voodoo wrought by a victim of domestic abuse?
The police try to find the car and stop it, but the bodies start to pile up. Wade Parent (James Brolin) tries to protect the town but has few answers, isolated road blocks do not accomplish anything except give the car victims alone in the desert. On a side note why do the cop cars blow up when their roofs are damaged?
When the car comes after the local marching band they hide in the local cemetery, and Parents girlfriend Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd) yells at it. It does not enter the cemetery though. Could this mean it is some kind of supernatural force. Why is it here terrorizing the town? Unfortunately for Lauren she returns to her house and it (the car) flies through her bay window to get her. Wade is pissed off and when he finally gets the chance to confront this black behemoth he does it on his motorcycle. In the standoff he see the car is inviting him with an open door, but when he goes to look in and see the driver the door whacks him in the head and out cold. Why did the car leave him alive? Could it be that it likes him and wants him as its owner?
The final showdown is a big chase scene with Parent being chased by the car towards a canyon where his men are setting up explosive. The explosion is exceptional, possibly the best part of the film. Director Elliot Silverstein never answers any of the proposed questions about the origin or motivation of the car. Never lets us know if it is indeed supernatural. Never does anything that could make this film satisfying. The script written by Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack is a mess with no subtext other than melodramatic interpersonal rivalry and small town politics.
So much more could have been explored in this scenario but instead we get the killer car for no reason. The cops trying to stop it for obvious reasons and that's it. As a PG movie it does not even give horror fans the prerequisite gore in its kills.
Rating (2.0)Rating of 5.0 and up are recommended Zombiegrrlz rating Skip It!

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