Monday October 31, 2016
Written by Andy Roberts
Halloween beckons, and for those of us who wish to avoid trick-or-treaters there is the alternative of a good – or at least entertaining – film.
And so we have carefully selected five horror films dating from the 1950s to the 1990s, each featuring at least one splendid motor-car. Happy nightmares…
1950s: Night of the Demon, 1957
I could have chosen the Humber Hawk Mk. VI Estate in Quartermass 2 but instead here is a film that opens with Maurice Denham being attacked by a demon while driving a Hawk Mk. IV saloon. Once you ignore that fact that said demon is boss-eyed and that leading man Dana Andrews looks soused in all of his scenes, there is much to like about Night of the Demon; brilliant performances from Niall MacGinnis and Brian Wilde plus a guest appearance from a 1953 Sunbeam Alpine Mk.1
1960s: The Sorcerers, 1967
One of the best horror films ever shot in the UK, The Sorcerers takes place in a grim and extremely un-swinging London. The streets scenes were shot without any official permits and anyone who has seen the film will remember the final reel chase between a battered Jaguar Mk. VIII and a police Wolseley 6/99. The budget would not allow for stunt doubles and when the driver loses control of the big Farina it spins through 360 degrees, a moment not in the actual script. Nor was the aftermath of the Jaguar’s explosion on a Notting Hill bombsite; windows in adjacent offices blew out and cast & crew deemed it expedient to make a quick exit.
1970s: Dracula AD 1972, 1972
‘Dig the music kids!’ Many Triumph enthusiasts are proud of the Stag’s cameo in Diamonds Are Forever but seem unaccountably ashamed of its starring role in one of the most hilariously ill-judged Hammer films of all time. Gasp! As Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing do their best with a script on a par with a Wimpy menu - Thrill! at a long and fairly pointless scene involving a Citroen Dyane 6 in a car wash. And marvel at one “Johnny Alucard”, the hippest vampire to ever drive an orange Stag Mk.1 along the King’s Road. Far out daddio.
1980s: Christine, 1983
Once you can distract yourself from the incredible array of cars on screen – asides from the various Plymouth Furys and Belvederes, there are also a 1968 Dodge Charger, a 1974 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and, best of all, a 1969 Ford Cortina GT Mk. II – the message of Christine begins to sink in. This is more than one of the finest adaptations of any Stephen King novel and a classic black comedy of the 1980s, it is also an awful warning to anyone on the verge of becoming too fanatically involved with their classic car. So beware the example of Arnie Cunningham…
1990s: Misery, 1990
Just eligible for inclusion in our 1990s category is another King adaptation and one which James Caan’s imprisoned author undergoes a (literally) shattering experience. It goes without saying that Kathy Bates’ terrifyingly human villainess – who favours a 1974 Jeep Cherokee S - is one of the great performances of American cinema although some car enthusiasts are more concerned with the fate of Mr. Caan’s 1966 Mustang Coupe. The Ford has comparatively limited screen time but its importance to the plot is pivotal. And remember – ‘he didn’t get out of the cockadoodie car!’…