Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Car

Directed by Elliot Silverstein.
1977. Rated PG, 96 minutes.
James Brolin
Kathleen Lloyd
John Marley
R. G. Armstrong
Ronny Cox
John Rubinstein
Kim Richards
Elizabeth Thompson
Kate Murtagh

The Lincoln Continental Mark III is a marvel of 1970s engineering. Sure, I could wax poetic about its classic look and sturdy construction, but suffice it to say what the people of Santa Ynez say about it: it’s big and black. Heeeeyyyy, that’s what she…nevermind. The most important feature of the particular vehicle we focus on is that it’s driven by Satan, himself. No silly, he’s not actually sitting in the driver’s seat. No one is. The townspeople of Santa Ynez can’t tell this from the outside, however. The windows are tinted an incredibly dense red. Red, Satan, get it? All they know is that this behemoth of a car is mowing down any pedestrians it comes across. Man, there are days I wish I could do this! Does that make me evil? Anyhoo, the race is on to keep The Car from running over the whole town.

Our hero is Captain Wade Parent (Brolin). The responsibility of stopping The Car falls to him after the town sheriff finds himself all killed and stuff. There is a subplot about Wade trying to get his two daughters to accept his girlfriend Lauren (Lloyd), who happens to be their teacher. However, this is about as important to the movie as you are. There is another slightly more relevant one about one of the deputies who is an alcoholic being so shaken he goes back to the bottle. I only mention it because he’s played by Ronny Cox, or as I like to refer to him, Lt. Bogomil from Beverly Hills Cop. Yes, I know he’s done plenty of other stuff. Sue me. Actually, you’re more important than either of those storylines because the movie needs you to watch and not ask silly questions. Why did the devil choose this particular town? Don’t worry about it. Just know that’s he’s there and be glad you’re not. How does ramming a bicycle directly from the back send it and the rider careening over the side of a bridge? Unimportant. How come no one tries any evasive maneuvers aside from waiting until the very last possible second to jump out of the way? Never you mind. How exactly does Lt. Bogomil’s, er – I mean the deputy’s wife get those into that top? Accept that some mysteries will never be solved.

There are some questions you might persist on asking. What can this car do that others can’t? You mean, aside from drive itself? For starters, it can turn sideways, flip itself and/or leap off the ground whenever it wants. Nice. Think you’re safe in your living room? Nope. Here comes the Car flying through your window, somehow landing back on the street despite driving straight through your house. Huh? Yes, that really happens. It can also flick open its doors with enough force to hospitalize a grown man and occasionally gale force winds kick up when it comes around.

Okay, what have we learned today? We’ve learned that Satan likes Lincolns and is pissed off at the (mostly) good people of the fictional desert town of Santa Ynez. We’ve learned that His Lincoln can routinely defy the laws of physics. We’ve also learned that this is a grade Z unintentionally funny, cheesy hunk of 70s horror. Believe me, I mean this in the most endearing terms possible. In other words, it’s so bad it’s awesome!

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