Ghosts, murder, spiders and all manner of spooky, scary stuff take centre stage in horror films, but sometimes it’s the cars you should be really afraid of. After all, sometimes even death needs to get from A to B. So to celebrate Halloween, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best cars to feature in horror movies. When you’re done reading, get out of here, you’ve had your treat.
A Plymouth Fury 1958 takes centre stage in the John Carpenter film adaptation of Stephen King’s book of the same name. A teenage driver decides to buy a rust bucket for his first car, against the advice of his friend, which he lovingly restores. It turns out the car has a mind of its own. After it gets vandalised it goes on a murderous, vengeful rampage while turning owner ‘Arnie’ into an evil chap. And we thought our first car was frightening.
You could argue Ghostbusters is anything but a horror film, but to create a horror movie list of cars without the much-loved 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor and its ECTO-1 number plate would be like forgetting to put Bruce Lee in a martial arts film list. The car itself was anything but scary. Ironically it was actually an ambulance — but we guess it was saving peoples lives in a roundabout way.
Go on, say Jeepers Creepers three times and see what happens. No? Then you’ve probably seen the original film, which involves a weird winged thing killing people and ripping out their eyes. That’s scary enough, but it’s the moments when the stars of the film are hounded by a rusty-looking 1941 Chevrolet Coe with the sinister number plate BEATNGU we remember best.
In the Wraith, a gang leader who scares people into drag racing their cars has an entire town living in fear. That is, until a mystery driver dressed in black body armour comes along in a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor and members of the gang all start to have mysterious ‘accidents’. The M4S was an actual prototype, of which there are only four in the world. It had a top speed of 194.8mph and a 0 to 60mph time of 4.1 seconds.
As the film suggests, this film involves a hearse ─ those horrible vehicles you use to ferry about dead people. That alone makes it worthy of our list, but it gets worse. In the 1980 film Jane Hardy is stalked by an old black hearse (as if it would be any other colour) and an unknown driver. Whether you believe in evil forces or not, this is not a car you want to see late at night.
The Evil Dead
Although the zombies take centre stage in The Evil Dead, the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 features in all three films, making it either the bringer of doom or the unluckiest car ever. It was actually used because the director drove one in high school, although we’re guessing his lacked the spinning blades of death and time-travelling ability of the one in the films.
Being followed by another driver is a scary proposition, but try being stalked by an apparently psychopathic truck. That’s exactly what happens to salesman David Mann in the 1971 film Duel. While the film (spoiler) never reveals the culprit, adding to the fear, we do know director Steven Spielberg deliberately chose the 1955 Peterbilt 281 Tanker because it had more of a face than current trucks, making it appear more menacing.
No prizes for guessing what this film is about. But can you remember the star? Give up yet? It was a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III tweaked heavily by movie car maker George Barris. In the film this mysterious black car is controlled by supernatural powers, terrorising an entire town by murdering its inhabitants. That’s nearly as heart-stopping as the US$84,000 the car cost to build.
There’s nothing remotely scary about the Ford Explorer XLT, but it was in this car that scientists, invited to see reanimated dinosaurs, suffered so much misfortune. At one point in the film we see a T-rex rip the roof off and throw the poor 4×4 around like a toy. Perhaps the beast hated the horrific green and yellow paintjob as much as we did?
When a scarred man turns up in a car with a skull and crossbones on the front (or are those lightning bolts?), you know it can only mean trouble. In fairness, the black Chevrolet Nova is an innocent bystander in the 2007 Quentin Tarantino film ─ it’s stuntman Mike who uses the “death-proof” vehicle to murder a group of women that makes it frightening.