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The Car

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The Car is the titular antagonist of the 1977 horror film of the same name, which was sold as "Jaws with a car".

The Car in question is a demonic modified 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III that is strongly suggested to be either the Devil or some other demon, with no visible driver. The Car existed to destroy and like many horror antagonists was almost completely unstoppable, despite the heroes' best efforts to defeat it.

Summary

A mysterious matte black car (similar in appearance to a Lincoln Continental Mark III) down the road targets two bicyclists cycling on a canyon: at the bridge, the car proceeds to crush one cyclist against the wall, and ram the other from behind, catapulting him off the bridge. A hitchhiker, hoping to get a ride, encounters the car and insults it after it purposefully tries to run him down. In response, the car runs over him several times and leaves. The local sheriff's office, called to the first of a series of hit and run deaths, get a lead on the car that appears heavily customized and has no license plate, as pointed out by Amos Clemens (played by the late R. G. Armstrong) after he sees it run over the hitchhiker.

That night, in an apparent bid to kill Amos, the car instead runs over the sheriff, leaving Chief Deputy Wade Parent (played by James Brolin) in charge. During the resulting investigation, an eyewitness to the accident states that there was no driver inside the car, furthering Wade's confusion. Wade asks his girlfriend, Lauren (played by Kathleen Lloyd), who is a teacher at the local school, to cancel the upcoming marching band rehearsals for their safety. Lauren and her friend, who is Wade's deputy Luke Johnson's (played by Ronny Cox, who would later play Dick Jones in Robocop) wife, ask him to let them rehearse, to which Luke unwittingly agrees.

The car enters the town and attacks the school marching band as it rehearses at the local show ground. It chases the group of teachers and students into a cemetery. Curiously enough, the machine will not enter onto the consecrated ground as Lauren taunts the purported driver that any of the townsfolk have yet to see. Seemingly angered, the car destroys a brick gate post and leaves. The police chase the automobile along highways throughout the desert before it turns on them, destroying several squad cars and killing five of Wade's deputies in the process. Wade confronts the vehicle and is surprised to see that none of his bullets put a dent on the car's windshield or tires. After unsuccessfully trying to open the door (the car has no exterior door handles), Wade is knocked out and the car escapes.

That evening, Lauren, on her way home to pick up her personal belongings, is killed when the car jumps driving straight through her house and rams her, right when she is speaking to Wade over the phone. Luke puts forward to a grief-stricken and distraught Wade the theory that it acted in revenge for the insults hurled on it by Lauren and notes it cannot enter sacred grounds. Wade concocts a plan to stop the car by burying it beneath a controlled explosion in the canyons that lie outside of town. After discovering it waiting for him in his own garage, he is forced to carry out his plans post haste. He is pursued by the car into a mountainous canyon area where his remaining deputies have set a trap for the machine. In a final confrontation, Wade and Luke, at the edge of a cliff, bait the car into running straight at them, then jump aside as it goes over the cliff. With the dynamite detonated and the rubble falling on it, a monstrous demonic visage appears in the smoke and fire from the explosion, shocking the deputies.

Wade continues to refuse to believe what the group saw in the flames, despite Luke's insistence about what he saw. The movie concludes, in some cuts, with the car prowling through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, clearly having survived.

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Trivia

  • It has similarities to another possessed car from the Stephen King novel and film Christine.

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