Admittedly I’m not anything resembling a “car guy”. I’m more at home pretty much anywhere that ISN’T a garage. Shit, put a wrench in my hand and it’s probably not going to turn out well (unless I need to bash a zombies head in. Then were set!). So yeah, I’m pretty much the polar opposite of the traditional, red blooded “man” in that regard, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate an awesome ride when I see one. Horror movies are teeming with cool looking cars, trucks and sometimes tanks to gawk at so lets do just that. This list is the 5 vehicles that turn my crank from my favorite genre, presented in no particular order.
Maximum Overdrive (The Goblin Truck)
I can vividly recall the circumstances surrounding watching Maximum Overdrive for the first time like the 90’s was yesterday. I will probably be able to recall that first viewing until my memory starts to slip from me in old age and senility sets in. But don’t think it’s due to any sort of overwhelming love of the film or allegiance to Stephen King, because that certainly isn’t the case. I’ll remember this movie till the end of my days (because I couldn’t use that gray matter for more important info, like my telephone number or anything) because I watched it back to back with Terminator 2 in the mid 90’s, back when my parents were trying (and failing) to control what I viewed. It was late at night in a northern BC town, around 1995 or ’96 and I had convinced my parents to let me stay the night at a friends place. As luck would have it said friends parents were far less stringent on what he could or couldn’t watch and I’m sure could give even less of a shit what I watched with him. Enter two movies that would indelibly etch themselves into my psych for good or ill. But I mean, I turned out fairly normal right? So far I’ve resisted any deep down desires I’ve had to don a leather jacket and race a Harley in the LA river right? I’m also pretty sure I haven’t mocked up any semis to have giant goblin faces for front grills so I could harass people at truck stops either so I think we’re in the clear. All in all I think I developed rather normally, regardless of the VHS based deviance in my youth.
But we’re here to talk about the Maximum Overdrive, not the Terminator franchise ( I’ll save that for another time) and so, lets do just that. Directed by Stephen King himself( so poorly it earned not one, but two Golden Raspberry nominations) and starring Emilio Estevez (Emilio!), this movie was also scored by none other than ac/dc. You’d think with that many big names that they could have assembled something at least halfway decent but no, not really. At least we got an iconic looking truck out of the deal and I guess at the end of the day that’s better than nothing.
Stuntman Mikes 1970 Chevy Nova Stunt Car (Death Proof)
Who out there in genre land can honestly say they don’t enjoy Kurt Russell every now and then, be it wielding a flamethrower in John Carpenters The Thing or eye-patched up and to the presidents rescue a’ la Escape from New York? Not this guy, that’s for sure. So even I can put aside my sometimes distaste for mainstream favorite Quentin Tarintinos’ work to enjoy a good old fashioned movie about beautiful women and the cars that kill them. Stuntman Mikes stunt car is a good old fashioned american muscle car, stripped down to the essentials and “death proofed”, but just for the driver of course. For anyone else, it’s a death trap.
I recently re-watched Death Proof for the sake of this list and had forgotten that Eli Roth was in it. He almost manages to out douche Quentin Tarintino in this outing. Almost. Tarintino will always be King Douche (and his girlfriend Lianne Spiderbaby is apparently no better). Anyhow, I’ll just pack up my hate for now. Back to the topic at hand, Mikes Stunt Car. A simple skull and crossed lightning bolts adorn the hood of this black monster, obviously marking it as a bad motherfuckers vehicle (because that what skulls mean right?). My only gripe with this movie (douches aside) is that it’s long on the talk and short (comparatively) on the car action. That said, it was a Tarantino flick so we all saw that coming a mile away.
Dead Reckoning (Land of the Dead)
Everyone is allowed to change there opinion on things, and I am no different. When this movie came out in 2005 i was decidedly NOT a fan. And not because I didn’t like George Romero (that would be blasphemous!) or because I couldn’t appreciate Dennis Hoppers’ (RIP) over-the-top performance as ruler of the walled refuge of Fiddler’s Green. The tipping point into blind hate for me was John Leguizamo. I just couldn’t take The Pest seriously in a end of the world, zombies at the gates situation. Try as I might,all I could see for years was Luigi with a crossbow. Thankfully, I recently decided to marathon the Dead movies (sans Diary because fuck that shaky cam stuff. Sorry george but i can’t take that stuff from anyone, even a living legend) and so when it came to watch what I assumed would be the least enjoyable of the four I was pleasantly surprised that my maturity (or apathy) had kicked in at some point in the last decade (ok, almost decade but close enough) and I found myself enjoying Land quite a bit. I attribute a good portion of that enjoyment to watching Luigi and crew kick all kinds of undead ass in Dead Reckoning, their post end of days tank/bus of sorts. From mounted machine guns, a computer system that seems to do a handy job of running everything, missile launchers to fireworks that could be deployed to distract the walkers, Dead Reckoning comes equipped to handle pretty much any situation the zombie hoards can throw at you.
Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters 1 &2)
Possibly one of the most recognizable vehicles in ANY genre of film, the Ecto-1 is one of the (in my opinion) neatest looking and well equipped vehicles on this list. Though there have been many variations on the Ecto-1 over the years (thanks toy manufacturers… no really, I love the shit out of toys), the original movie car remains my favorite version. At it’s heart the Ecto-1 is a 1959 Miller Meteor Cadillac Ambulance (say that 5 times fast) that has had more money poured into it than most 20-somethings have in there savings account (according to wikipedia over $9900 worth converted into 2012 dollars). Where did that money go? I’ll tell ya: rocket boosters, a hydraulic bumper, an “Ecto-Scope”, CB radio, car phone(Bill Murray be gettin’ all the ladies with his car phone), a Proton Cannon and a containment trap for those ghost busting road trips. Yes, I do realize that Ghostbusters is technically not a horror movie, but it’s got ghosts and demons and possessions (oh my!) and by those factors I say it counts, at least where this list is concerned. Also, really, who doesn’t like the ghostbusters? Even if you do have a tiny black empty husk where your soul should be, you can’t tell me that you don’t at least appreciate Bill Murray simply for being Bill Murray?
The “Classic” – Sam Raimis 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 (Evil Dead/Evil Dead 2/Army of Darkness/Evil Dead (2013))
For the purposes of this list, I’m talking about the final form (or maybe not if rumors are to be believed) of the car that appears in Army of Darkness. This is another one of those movies that I watched during those formative years back in the 90’s that would determine my tastes for the next decade or so. Outfitted in the best medieval blacksmithing and an S-Mart employees know how can muster, the Classic really comes into it’s own in Army of Darkness. Retrofitted (reeeeal retro..eh? eh? ’cause it’s the dark ages?… ahhh that was lame) with windmill sails to act a a main weapon, they also added all sorts of pointy bits, bashy clubby parts and a even a little bit of armor in case any deadites get past the all of the weaponry.
Project Satan from Futurama