Fright Fest Review #2: The Car (1977)

Talk about road rage...
Talk about road rage…

Subgenre:  Killer Object

Summary:  A sentient car terrorizes a rural Utah town.

Review:  The Car opens promisingly enough, with a Jaws-aping sequence in which a sinister Lincoln Continental runs down two young cyclists.  As for the rest of the plot, it more or less sticks to the Jaws structure, with the attacks growing more frequent and the police banding together to stop the threat.  To the movie’s credit, the titular vehicle is perfectly cast; it’s both sinister and somehow lifelike.

The world of The Car exists in that wonderfully surreal dimension exclusive to B-Movies.  It’s a world where French horn-playing hitchhikers mill around outside farmhouses, where the school band practices sitting in a circle on the lawn, and where parades are held for no apparent reason.  This alternate reality is further cemented by the acting and writing, which feel like an alien’s attempt at depicting normal human interaction.

Unfortunately, The Car is unable to sustain these bad-movie pleasures in its second half, in which the pacing comes screeching to a halt.  There’s clearly not enough story to fill its running time, and its last third is a chore to get through.

The Verdict:  The Car contains flashes of B-Movie greatness, but its latter half is too weak to warrant it a recommendation.  I give it four livid Lincolns out of ten.

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