Ghosts in the machine: six of the most iconic horror film cars of all time
As Halloween is around the corner, we look at the most, er, spirited performances from cars on the big screen. - By Nick Francis
Halloween this year is going to be more subdued than normal – no parties for adults to attend dressed as sexy nurses or cul-de-sacs thronging with kids going berserk on a sugar high. But one of the best ways to celebrate all things creepily has always been to draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook and put on a horror film. And nothing can stop us from doing that.
Cars have played a pivotal role in all genres of film since the dawn of cinema, including horrors movies, so if you’re a car fan you can still get your fix of blood and gore while enjoying some scares. Here we take a look at some of the most iconic horror film cars.
1958 Plymouth Fury: Christine
The film Christine, and the Stephen King novel of the same name, is the ultimate horror flick for car fans, as the demon doing all the killing is the car itself. The titular role is played by a 1958 Plymouth Fury, who possess her owner and makes him take revenge on the school bullies in a murderous rampage.
1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex: Ghostbusters
Okay, okay, Ghostbusters is hardly a horror movie, but it is still a great flick to stick on at this time of year, especially before the kids have gone to bed. And one of the most memorable performances in the film comes from the ‘Ectomobile’, which was a converted ambulance made by Miller-Meteor, a US coachbuilder which specialised in converting Cadillacs into service vehicles.
1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88: Evil Dead
We all know how the Evil Dead film starts, it’s the classic horror film scenario: a group of pals drive to a cabin in the woods for some fun, but soon find themselves being slaughtered in the woods. The car they drive to their deaths is a beaten up Oldsmobile Delta 88, and director Sam Raimi loved it so much he featured the same car in most of his other films.
1971 Plymouth Valiant: Duel
This film was Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut, and the man himself apparently said he didn’t care which model of car was used in the film other than it had to be red so that it stood out in shots in the desert. A truly frightening film, Duel follows the gripping game of life and death when a truck begins to stalk a salesman driving his Plymouth along the highway in the American wilderness.
1970 Chevy Nova SS: Death Proof
The ultimate muscle car of the 1970s, with a brawny 4-lite V8 thumping away under the hood, the Chevy Nova SS was the perfect car to transport stuntman-turned-serial-killer Mike McKay in Quentin Tarantino’s uber-violent Death Proof. In the film, the car was ‘death proof’, but only for the driver, thanks to its reinforced roll cage, but the hapless women picked up by McKay would meet a bloody end when he deliberately crashed the car.
1954 Aston Martin DB 2/4: The Birds
We’ve topped off the feature with this one because we need something representing Britain in this list, and because it’s an absolutely stunning car which featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s chiller The Birds. The convertible Aston is the ride of main character Melanie Daniels who constantly tries to escape the murderous birds in her car. Perhaps the most iconic scene is the final moment of the film when Melanie slowly drives her DB 2/4 away while thousands of birds gather to watch.