When you think of traditional horror movie villains, cars may not be the first that come to mind. Serial killers, ghosts and zombies may dominate the horror industry, but there are a handful of films where demonic cars and homicidal trucks take the centre stage.
As Halloween is coming up, let’s take a look at the top ten horror movie motor vehicles.
‘Fear is the driving force’
Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film Duel features a creepy 1995 Peterbilt 281 Tanker that decides to terrorise businessman David Mann (played by Dennis Weaver) on a road in the middle of nowhere. The driver of the truck is never revealed, and it is clear to see why Spielberg chose the anthropomorphictruck as its villain; being stalked by the psychotic truck – who may or may not have a driver – is truly horrifying.
‘Read the signs’
Dead Endis a particularly creepy film starring Twin Peaks actor Ray Wise and stalwart Insidious actress Lin Shaye. The film focuses on a family travelling to the in-laws for Christmas, though they soon find themselves on a road that never ends, and a mysterious black car takes victims into the night. The mysterious car that takes people away in this film is a Cadillac Funeral Coach, which is a pretty disturbing in itself.
‘Terror comes in all shapes. And all sizes…’
In Roadkill, Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski’s characters are hunted by a mysterious truck driver known as ‘Rusty Nail’. This driver uses a standard big rig to stalk the protagonists after they play a trick on him pretending to be a female truck driver called ‘Candy Cane’.
‘On this road in the middle of nowhere evil has found the perfect place to hide. It has a face. It has a home. And worst of all it has a plan.’
The vehicle of choice for 2001 film Jeepers Creepers is a rusted 1941 Chevy COE, driven by a winged cannibalistic demon creeper, complete with cow catcher on the front and a personal licence plate reading BEATINGU (that’s ‘be eating you’, guys, in case you were wondering).
‘Once she lures you behind her wheel…You’re all hers.’
Halloween director John Carpenter brought this Stephen King novel to the big screen in 1983. The film tells the tale of a teenage boy and his newly purchased used 1958 Plymouth Fury he calls Christine. Over time, as the boy begins to act strangely and drifts apart from his friends, it appears the car is to blame. The ultimate tale of a boy who loves his car perhaps a little too much…
‘There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop… The Car’
No prizes for guessing what this one is about. The evil car in this film is a 1971 black Lincoln Continental Mark III, controlled by supernatural murderous powers.
‘Imagine your worst nightmare: machines take over the world!’
The only film ever to have been written and directed by author Stephen King, Maximum Overdrive features machines – and in particular, trucks – that have come alive and become homicidal (starting to notice a theme, anyone?)
‘Are you tired of the expected?’
Not technically about a car, but a tyre; a homicidal tyre to be precise. This odd film follows a tyre on a murderous rampage throughout a desert town after it becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman.
‘He’s heaven-sent and hell on wheels!’
The Wraith is a cheesy 80s movie with a not-so-great 5.2 out of 10 score on IMDB. Though the film lacks in substance, it makes up for it with a sexy Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor car, driven by the mysterious protagonist in a race to the death.
‘They ain’t afraid of no ghost’
Though not strictly a horror movie, we couldn’t leave Ghostbusters off the list! With probably the most iconic vehicle on this list, the Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac professional chassis built by the Miller-Meteor company. The vehicle has become a well-known signal for the Ghostbusters franchise and is recognised all over the world.