Midnight Movie: The Car (1977)

You’ve heard of Christine. You’ve heard of Maximum Overdrive. But, neither even comes close to the 1977 masterpiece The Car. Starring James Brolin as a small town sheriff, The Car is about, well, a self-driving car that is possessed by….something, that uses its power to kill a total of eleven people in this small town. This film is wild.

Let’s start off with the fact that the composer, Leonard Rosenman, heavily uses “Dies Irae” throughout the course of the film, which seems to set more of a comical tone, than a sinister one, given the subject matter. Director Elliot Silverstein clearly has a love of landscape, as the backdrop for this film is gorgeous. And that’s the only gorgeous part about this film.

James Brolin’s performance in this film, well, it’s as if he didn’t know how ridiculous the film was. Meanwhile, everybody else sounds like they are literally just reading a script. No emotion, nothing. It’s incredible.

The actual dialogue in this film is incredible. From offhanded comments like “You know it’s impossible to brush your teeth without shaking your ass?” to one of the only POC’s, a native, saying “Just checkin’ the tipi” as he drives past his mobile home, this film is just filled with dialogue gems.

On top of the entire supporting cast being mediocre, at best, (sorry Ronny Cox), the sound mixing is some of the worst. All the scenes with dialogue are about the average volume. But, when the car honks its horn, holy hell, be prepared to turn the volume down. Especially if, like me, you watched this film in the middle of the night while others were sleeping nearby.

The run time for this film is an hour and thirty-six minutes and, I would argue, is simultaneously too long and not long enough. With every fiber of my being, I recommend this horrible film.

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