What is The Car (1977)?

The Car (1977) has a great “evil” car design by George Barris, decent sound effects, an interesting score, and that’s about it.  Everything else is pretty poor.  

This movie tries to be a car chase movie like Duel or something but it misses the whole point of Duel to begin with.  Duel was filled with suspense because of it’s isolating, man versus machine themes, but The Car veers all over the place (haha pun) searching for a plot to do the same thing.  It doesn’t work.   All the stupid subplots are terrible.

The main plot tells the story of an evil Car stalking through a small town attacking some people.  That’s it.  Of course, it’s about as shallow as Duel but at least Duel has other things to rely on besides the basic premise.  You know, things like great cinematography, a tight script, and deeper themes.  There’s none of that in The Car.  The camera work is sloppy, the script couldn’t be any worse, and it’s as shallow as a kiddy pool.

The Car also wants to be Jaws.  Clearly, the evil car does the same things as the shark in Jaws, except James Brolin and the heroes are horrible characters.  Jaws really isn’t anything without the script and the heroes, so The Car is really weak to begin with, which makes Jaws look like the greatest movie ever made.

I can’t explain some of the choices.  Unlike in Jaws, the weapons really do nothing against the threat.  James Brolin fires his gun at The Car and it doesn’t do anything.  It doesn’t ricochet or leave a mark or anything, even against the rubber tires.  It’s like he’s firing blanks.  This really makes no sense.

Honestly, The Car’s poster hints at a deeper theme that’s not really explored in the movie and I’m left wondering why.  Is this car from Hell?  Is it possessed by The Devil?  Those questions could have opened the door to other things and a deeper exploration, but this is only touched on a little bit and not fully fleshed out.  Instead we get a weak love story between James Brolin and Kathleen Lloyd, but neither one can act.  There’s no “expert” to help us investigate The Car either, so this movie isn’t even going to try exploring anything.

Overall, the less said about this terrible movie, the better.  I guess it has some entertainment value if you want to watch it to study the car designed by George Barris, but you can do that by looking at pictures.  Some other things in The Car might remind you of movies that do the haunted car better, which is the worst part, because maybe they could have had something here if they had a good script, better actors, and a decent director.  Instead, we get a half-hearted attempt by Universal to do things on the cheap for a quick buck, because that’s what this is.

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