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The Car (1977) — Episode 27 — Decades of Horror 1970s

“Is it a phantom, a demon, or the Devil himself?” – the tagline for the cult classic, so-bad-it-is-good, Jaws-on-land Seventies horror film The Car  (1977)  promises something satanic behind the wheel of the custom  971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop… The Car. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 27  — The Car  (1977)

Decades of Horror started 2015 with The Black Saint’s favorite flick, The Manitou, we end the end taking a look at Doc’s most cherish thriller Universal’s and  Elliot Silverstein’s The Car, featuring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, R.G. Armstrong, John Rubinstein and Ronnie Cox. The film is designed as a semi-rip-off of Jaws with a killer car stalking its victims in the desert outside of  Santa Ynez. This film is remembered for its  George Barris’ car design – the man behind the Batmobile and theMunster’s Drag-u-la. Santos agrees with director Silverstein that the film just isn’t scary, but Doc is adamant that the film remains a terrific, fun flick from his childhood – and the Black Saint concedes that he did have a fun time watching The Car.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Doc Rotten
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior. Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.

3 Replies to “The Car (1977) — Episode 27 — Decades of Horror 1970s

  1. Nice discussion between you two, although Doc, I think you should have defended the movie a little better from the Black Saint’s critiques. Personally I think even a car can evoke a terrifying response if done well. Christine did it well, but The Car not so much .

    I think when Santos says The Car is not scary, I don’t think it is a fair assessment. Of course you can’t rely on jump scares with something so large but it still can be a formidable presence which can still instill terror. Duel is another film that does this well. Maybe it’s better to think of The Car, not as a serial killer in the mold of Michael Myers but, more like a monster like the giant ants in “Them!”. Perhaps Santos should have said that a car is less likely to create suspense than to say it’s just not scary because it’s a car and the presumed simplicity to avoid it. Jaws was just a shark. All anyone had to do was not swim in the water and there would be nothing to be afraid of. I doubt there are many people who would say Jaws was not a scary movie.

    Despite some of the campy effects and acting, the movie does have a few scenes that are terrifying. The aforementioned death of Kathleen Lloyd’s character is a well done sequence of horror. From the moment the cop car drives away and then suddenly the headlights come on in a darkened driveway, is about as close to a jump scare you can get with a Lincoln Continental. It’s a great scene with an awesome follow-up and probably more of what the director initially wanted.

    Don’t get me wrong. The Car has enough negatives to keep it from being even a good movie, but the promise is always there despite the silly circumstances. I don’t know if The Car could be remade into a credible horror film, especially if set in modern times. As is, The Car lies in the so bad it’s good category. It’s enough for me to give the film a 3 out of 5 star review.

    P.S. Small nitpick. It was Peter MacNichol in Dragonslayer and not John Rubinstein, although I suppose I could see why the identity was mistaken.

    P.P.S. Too long already for me to add recommendations for future podcasts but maybe I’ll send an email. Or maybe you guys should set up forums. Just a thought.

  2. this is the best #HorrorMovie ….. the demon inside of the car …..”It’s a shame I did not have Part 2″ / because if you notice, well the final credits of the film: from what I saw, the car appears walking through a city, new york style …..

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