10 Horror Films Featuring Villainous Motor Vehicles

Photo: Miss Colleen/Flickr.

Unless you’ve made the big switch over to an electric vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf, you’ve most likely experienced some sort of bone-chilling terror at the gas pump over the past few years as fuel prices wildly fluctuate ... mostly in the upward direction.

Although the cost of filling up your tank has become the stuff of nightmares and the price of crude oil is probably the scariest thing affecting your personal finances, look at it this way: At least your car isn’t displaying anthropomorphic or even homicidal tendencies (even though you might after pulling out of your local Chevron station).

In the fine cinematic tradition of haunted house movies, this Halloween we’re taking a look at a few films starring malevolent automobiles that you’d probably want to let pass when traveling down a dark and lonely highway. Whether operated by predatory truckers, speed-loving psychopaths or unseen supernatural forces that couldn’t be bothered to wait in line at the DMV along with the rest of us, “Herbie the Love Bug” these cars most certainly are not. Although acclaimed directors such as Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino have dabbled in the murderous motor vehicle genre, we’re still waiting for a “haunted hybrid” flick ... think of the “Amityville Horror” with a fuel economy-centric twist. Do you have a favorite auto horror film?

“Duel” (1971)

Model/make: A 1955 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck driven by a teamster/possible serial killer who is having a really bad day.

Demonic driver: Steven Spielberg

Petrified passenger: Dennis Weaver

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “Fear is the driving force.”

Take a test drive here.

“The Car” (1977)

Model/make: A demonic, hit-and-run-happy Lincoln Continental Mark III that revels in antagonizing the residents of a small Utah town.

Demonic driver: Elliot Silverstein

Petrified passengers: James Brolin, Kim and Kyle Richards

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop ... THE CAR.”

“The Hearse” (1980)

Model/make: A relentless (and relentlessly spooky) vintage hearse that delights in scaring the living daylights out of a vulnerable divorcee.

Demonic driver: George Bowers

Petrified passenger: Trish Van Devere

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “There is a door between life and death and now, that door is open!”

Take a test drive here.

“Christine” (1983)

Model/make: A beautiful but berserk 1958 Plymouth Fury with a penchant for regeneration and plowing down innocent people.

Demonic driver: John Carpenter

Petrified passengers: Keith Gordon, Alexandra Paul, John Stockwell

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “How do you kill something that can’t possibly be alive?”

“Maximum Overdrive” (1986)

Model/make: Various marauding and murderous vehicles including, most notably, a gang of sinister semi-trailer trucks.

Demonic driver: Stephen King

Petrified passengers: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Yeardley Smith

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “Evil’s Wheels.”

“The Wraith” (1986)

Model/make: A high-performance Dodge M4S prototype with a mysterious teenaged driver who’s hell-bent on revenge.

Demonic driver: Mike Marvin

Petrified passengers: Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, Sherilyn Fenn

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

“Jeepers Creepers” (2001)

Model/make: A souped-up Chevy delivery truck from hell operated by a cannibalistic boogieman with wings named the Creeper.

Demonic driver: Victor Salva

Petrified passengers: Justin Long, Gina Philips

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “Fear takes a road trip.”

“Joy Ride” (2001)

Model/make: A standard big rig with a not-so-standard lunatic named “Rusty Nail” (voiced by Ted Levine of “Silence of the Lambs”) behind the wheel ... and the CB radio.

Demonic driver: John Dahl

Petrified passengers: Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “Terror comes in all shapes ... and all sizes.”

Take test drive here.

“Black Cadillac” (2003)

Model/make: A sinister 1957 Cadillac driven by a mysterious, drag-racing crazy who has apparently seen “I Know What You Did Last Summer” one too many times.

Demonic driver: John Murlowski

Petrified passengers: Randy Quaid, Shane Johnson, Josh Hammond

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “Revenge is in the driver’s seat”

Take a test drive here.

“Death Proof” (2007)

Model/make: A classic 1971 Chevy Nova and a 1969 Dodge Charger converted into vehicular homicide machines by a psychotic former Hollywood stuntman played by Kurt Russell.

Demonic driver: Quentin Tarantino

Petrified passengers: Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms

What the owner’s manual failed to mention: “White-hot terror at 200 MPH!”

Take a test drive here.