dir. Elliot Silverstein
"Whatever happened to last Thursday? I had it made last Thursday."
I can't tell you how many times I've heard other horror fans say, "Gee, I really like Jaws and all but I wish that the shark had wheels and an engine and that it killed people on highways instead of in the water. Where's that movie?" I'll tell you where that movie is. It's in Elliot Silverstein's late seventies flick The Car. That's where it is.
In Silverstein's action packed James Brolin starring killer car movie, no attempts are made to explain any of the goings on. The Car is one of the purest examples of my favorite genre, the "wouldn't that be awesome" movie. This screenplay, most likely birthed after the writers enjoyed their fifth round of car bombs, is one reckless piece of movie, driving foolishly through the landscape without regard for reason, credibility, or anything resembling coherence. Existing as a well shot excuse for various scenes of a driver-less car speeding and killing folks, The Car is exactly what you'd think it would be. It is not until the film's finale when the car gets sploded and various demon figures burst from the flames that it is revealed, "Oh I guess the devil possessed this car and stuff. Well, I'll be damned. I'm glad that's over." Or is it? DUH DUH DUH.
Since this movie had but the vaguest reference to Satan and demonic possession, Anton LaVey was brought in as a technical advisor for the picture.
[Side note: I am convinced that Anton LaVey's position as head of the church of Satan was merely a ruse through which to make scratch by performing the role of technical advisor to various low budget horror flicks.
"So Elliot, I understand you're directing a movie about a killer car."
"Yes, it's basically Jaws meets Duel. A fun little horror action flick."
"A killer car, you say? So, who's driving this car? Why is he murdering people?"
"Hadn't really thought much about it, Anton. Umm, no one I guess."
"So this car, no one at the wheel mind you, just goes around killing people willy nilly. No regard for human life. Doing it just for the hell of it. No other reason?"
"I don't know. Hadn't really thought about it."
"You hadn't thought about why this car would be killing people?"
"I don't know. The action scenes would be really cool. We could film some car chases and shit. Why does Jaws eat people? It just makes for a cool movie."
"Well how convenient."
"Look, I'm not trying to kid myself, Anton. I ain't making Shakespeare or like--" Elliot interrupts himself to grab another Schlitz. "I'm sorry. Being rude. You want one?"
"Drinking that filth. I see why your mind would come up with such filth for the screen."
"Ain't gonna lie. These shits give me hangovers somethin' fierce. Don't know exactly why I drink the bitches. Just ain't one for learnin' I suppose. Damned if they don't get the ol' creative juices flowin', though."
"Well isn't that special."
"As I was sayin', no one drives the car in this movie. It kills because it's awesome. It just...It is what it is."
"So let me get this straight, a killer car roams the highways in search of fresh human flesh. It kills without remorse."
"We're gonna have awesome shit. Like, there's gonna be this scene where the kids in the school marching band are practicing for this huge parade and shit-"
"Why? What's the parade for?"
"Doesn't matter. So anyways, they're like practicing and stuff and then out of nowhere--BAM. Car's here. The car's thinking, 'I've got tons of people to run over.' And it'll be extra scary for the audience because it's a bunch of kids getting chased."
"Lovely. Let me see. Let me see. A driver-less killer car roams the landscape in search of kills. No real reason for any of this. It just needs to kill. Who could be behind all these shenanigans? Who could it possibly be? Let me see, who could be the one pulling the strings? Could it be, oh I don't know...SATAN?"
"I guess. Sure."
"You know, if your making a movie about Satan it sure would help to know a little about the fella, Elliot."
"Look, I don't care. I just want 'splosions and shit."
"Do you want authentic or do you want shit? Because, you know, given what I do--I forget. What exactly is it that I do? Oh that's right, I'm just, I don't know, just the leader of a little group called the church of Satan. Perhaps you've heard of it."
"Do you need a job. This movie isn't really about that shit. Look, if you're hurting for money I can help ya' out. Just say-"
"Silence. This disciple of Satan does not accept charity. I just think that if you're going to make a movie about the dark one you should do it right."
"Well, like I said, I'm not really making a Satan flick. That whole angle is just an excuse for this car to come to life and shit. We don't really deal with that shit until the finale when the car explodes and demons and shit rise out of the fire."
Anton becomes over-excited. "Ah ha. Ah ha. Not a Satan movie? Not a Satan movie? Well what is that finale? Huh. Riddle me that. Do you have any idea what demons look like when they've burst from an evil car? Huh, do you? Because you know who does know. I sure as hell do. That's who."
Elliot rolls his eyes and sighs in resignation. "Anton if you wanna be the advisor-"
"I'll take it. How much does it pay?"
"We don't really have any extra room in the budget. I'm sure craft services can make a few extra sandwiches and-"
Anton thrusts his hand forth, shaking Elliot's hand. "You've got a deal mister."
The two men, using their free hands, give thumbs up.]
[Second side note: my apologies to any folks who came here expecting a review of The Car. If you're wondering, I dug the shit out of this movie.]