Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


THE CAR (1977). Director: Elliot Silverstein.

An ominous black sedan with an unnerving horn shows up in a sleepy desert community and begins tearing after and running down assorted citizens. Once you swallow the rather absurd supernatural premise and bizarre developments, The Car turns out to be a very nicely done, suspenseful chiller with a genuinely creepy atmosphere and some thrilling sequences. In addition, the screenplay by Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack presents three-dimensional characters who have back stories and who you come to care about. The performances are all quite good, with Ronny Cox and John Marley especially effective as two police officers, and R. G. Armstrong scoring as a belligerent wife-beater. James Brolin is fine as the sheriff, Wade Parent, as is Kathleen Lloyd as his girlfriend, Lauren (who features in perhaps the movie's most bravura sequence). Silverstein's direction makes the most of the material and Leonard Rosenman's eerie score embellishes every scene. Gerald Hirschfeld's wide screen photography is also top-notch. The movie was not welcomed by the critics but it's actually a neat little intelligent chiller if admittedly on the far-fetched side.

Verdict: Definitely worth a look. ***.

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