Friday, November 28, 2003

Movies You Really Should Own (and Don’t) Volume 1: The Car

(1977, directed by Elliot Silverstein)
available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment

When I picked up the DVD, I thought The Car was a TV movie. I’d seen it quite a few times on TV, and I’d loved it then. In fact, the movie had been theatrically released against Star Wars – and tanked horribly.
As a TV movie, robbed of its widescreen grandeur, The Car is a serviceable 70’s devil movie. I’m fond enough of the genre to own some of its classics (Satan’s Cheerleaders, The Devil’s Rain), so it was a no-brainer to pick it up.
Man, was I in for a treat. In its original aspect ratio, with its scenic vistas and expert framing, The Car is a classic of the horror genre. There is an element of remoteness to the framing of many of the shots – even though there are a group of characters, they are all alone. They live alone, they die alone…and in the case of Deputy Luke (Ronny Cox), they weep alone. Mr. Barbra Streisand himself, James Brolin performs quite adequately in the lead, but it is the titular Car that is the true star of the show…It roars, it gets pissed, and it kills (quite frequently).
Is the car driven by the devil himself? Well, the film wisely never answers that question. It ends, as it should with a big question mark.
The DVD offers little in the area of extras. There are widescreen and full frame versions of the movie, but what kind of fucking idiot wants to chop up a beauty and watch the full frame? There is also a theatrical trailer that I’m guessing was probably seen by twenty people back in 1977. Other than that, you get nuthin’. No goodies. No animated menus. No director commentary. Still, if you can find it for under $20, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up at all.