What evil drives... The Car?
A car appears in the fictional Utah town of Santa Ynez. But not just any car: It is a heavily modified black 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III, which proceeds to mercilessly run down local citizens. The local police force is baffled by this, especially given sketchy claims from eyewitnesses that the car had no plates, and much more oddly, no driver...
Enter Sheriff Wade Parent, who must find out who's driving the damn thing, how to stop it, and hopefully protect his kids, girlfriend, and, well everybody else from this motorized menace.
Generally considered to be pretty bad. So Bad It's Good, actually. Gene Siskel gave it just one star and called it "The Cinematic Turkey of 1977."
- Antagonist Title: And Vehicle Title, besides.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: The Car that ate Santa Ynez
- Automated Automobiles: It is not exactly stated, but it seems The Car is possessed.
- Badass Driver: The Car demonstrates some tricky maneuvers. Wade also qualifies, given that he's the only guy in the movie who outmaneuvers The Car.
- Car Fu: The Car is so adept at this that attempts to out-Car Fu it fail utterly. Wade is Genre Savvy about this, and rather then try to take it out on a mere motorcycle, simply uses that to lure The Car into a trap.
- Car Meets House: The Car kills Lauren by driving through her house.
- Chase Scene: A number of them. Most of them don't end well.
- Cool Car: Aside from its appearance, The Car can shake cliffs by ramming them.
- Cue the Sun: The sun rises just after The Car is destroyed.
- Domestic Abuser: Amos, who regularly beats his wife Bertha.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: At least twice, it is shown that taunting The Car is not advisable.
- Dying Like Animals: For their part, people aren't particularly good at avoiding The Car.
- Epigraph: The film opens with a quote from Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey:
"Oh great brothers of the night, who rideth out upon the hot winds of hell, who dwelleth in the Devil's lair; Move and appear!"
- The End - or Is It?: The end credits show The Car driving around New York, suggesting that it wasn't destroyed after all.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Ray's police car explodes when The Car pushes him over the cliff, as do the other cop cars when The Car rolls over them. Funnily enough this even applies to The Car itself: When it is defeated by falling into an explosive-rigged canyon, it sends up a huge, unearthly firestorm.
- Evil Laugh: The Car simulates one with its horn.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Wade's kids eavesdrop on him fooling around with Lauren.
- Flipping the Bird: John flips The Car off when it almost hits him. This probably wasn't a good idea.
- Good Hurts Evil: They don't realize it at the time, but running into the cemetery is specifically what saved Lauren and the kids- The Car cannot enter the cemetery, as it is hallowed ground.
- Hollywood Night
- I Shall Taunt You: When The Car traps the kids in the cemetery, Lauren starts taunting it to cause distraction. This turns out to have been a bad idea, as The Car seeks her out in revenge.
- Immune to Bullets: Shots fired at The Car mysteriously change their courses to miss it. This is dismissed as bulletproof glass and foam-filled tires, but the reality is quite a bit worse.
- Infant Immortality: Played straight, but only just barely. The Car only didn't get at the kids because they ran into the cemetery.
- Karma Houdini: Amos.
- Loud of War: The Car's horn is extremely loud, and is variously used to intimidate victims and as a sort of Post Mortem One Liner, coupled with the equally loud engine. At one point, it shatters some windows.
- Obviously Evil: The Car is big and matte black, with huge fenders, a low-cut roof, and windows tinted so dark it's impossible to see the interior. It also has no license plates or handles on it's doors. Virtually the only thing disturbing the overall image is it's shiny grill and over-sized chrome bumper- almost giving the thing an Evil Grin.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The Car appears in Wade's garage this way. This is also likely how it moved about the town unchecked in spite of police patrols and roadblocks.
- Parental Substitute: Luke was one to Pete when his father died.
- Railing Kill: The Car bumps Pete over a bridge railing to his death.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Wade, in his first scenes.
- Scare the Dog: Before The Car crashes the parade, horses in it are shown to be scared.
- Shirtless Scene
- Super Window Jump: How Wade eludes The Car in his garage.
- Stock Footage: Footage from this movie would later be used in an episode of Knight Rider, where a different sort of evil automobile is sent plummeting over a cliff.
- Stuff Blowing Up: When it's clear that Car Fu and bullets won't work, explosives are used to finally defeat The Car... and even that might not have been enough.
- Toyota Tripwire: When Wade attempts to go inside The Car, it knocks him out with its door.
- Vehicular Assault
- Window Pain: When The Car is in Wade's garage, it starts to make so much noise that garage's windows shatter.