Nine of the best cars from scary movies – Sunday Times Driving

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Halloween is the time to sit down in a darkened room and be scared out of your wits by a fiendish film or two.
And if you get your kicks from things with four wheels, we’ve rated nine of the best cars from scary movies — some legendary, some less well-known, but all on one side or other of pure evil.
Make/ model: 1958 Plymouth Fury
Perhaps the most famous scary car of all, John Carpenter’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a possessed 1958 Plymouth is now a cult classic.
The story focuses on Arnie, an awkward teenager who buys Christine and soon changes personality. The car, too, seems to have a mind of its own, exacting revenge on a gang of bullies who beat up Arnie, while also showing a jealous streak when Arnie gets a girlfriend.
As well as having murderous intentions, Christine is able to miraculously regenerate, even after being engulfed in flames, while a soundtrack of fifties rock ‘n’ roll plays with every kill.
Make/ model: 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance
One of the most famous movie cars of all time, Ecto-1 is the repurposed Cadillac ambulance that the Ghostbusters used to attend paranormal events across New York City. With its roof rack full of scientific instruments and a distinctive wailing siren, Ecto-1 certainly let New Yorkers know when the Ghostbusters had arrived.
As well as carrying Venkman, Stantz, Spengler and Zeddemore on board, a converted stretcher kitted out with the team’s proton packs rolled out of Ecto-1’s back door, while ecto-containment devices allowed spirits to be transported safely back to Ghostbusters HQ, a converted fire station.
Make/ model: 1955 Peterbilt 281
Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut offers two-for-one on movie wheels. Originally made for television, Duel was given an international cinema release in 1972 and has since gone on to become a cult classic.
The story follows salesman David Mann, who enters into a psychological battle with a never-seen truck driver at the wheel of a filthy Peterbilt tanker that tries to terrorise Mann’s Plymouth off the road.
The two play a game of cat and mouse through the Mojave Desert, with Mann attempting to get away from the terror truck, only to be thwarted at every attempt.
Make/ model: 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88
While the Evil Dead franchise is synonymous with its hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), there’s good reason for including the Oldsmobile that he drives only briefly in the first movie. That’s because it belongs to the movie’s director, Sam Raimi, who has since managed to include the car in every film that he has directed, including his Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire (2002-2007).
It appeared in all the Evil Dead movies, including with a Mad Max-style makeover for 1992’s Army Of Darkness, as well as the underappreciated Ash vs. Evil Dead reboot series for Netflix (2015-2018).
Prepare for a gore-fest.
Make/ model: 1971 Lincoln Continental MkIII
While some horror cars play a supporting role, as with Christine this one is the main protagonist. A seemingly driverless car goes on a rampage in a small Midwest town, killing anyone that crosses its path.
The car itself was heavily modified by famous Los Angeles customiser George Barris, the man behind the original Batmobile. For The Car, Barris took the huge Continental MkIII, chopped the roof, added oversized bodywork and blacked out the windows for a more sinister look.
Make/ model: 1969 Dodge Charger
Quentin Tarantino’s sixth movie is based on the director’s fascination with stuntmen and their custom-built ‘death proof’ cars, which he learnt about via Sean Penn on a night out.
The protagonist (played by Kurt Russell) is a stuntman who preys on young women, and reveals too late to one victim that the ‘death-proof’ part of his cars only applies to the driver.
The menacing black Charger is the focus of the second half of the movie — Russell’s “Stuntman Mike” drives a souped-up Chevy Nova in the first part — where it is used to antagonise a group of young women in a white Dodge Challenger. Mike picked off more than he can chew this time, though.
Make/ model: 1980 Panther DeVille with Chevy V8
One of Disney’s biggest baddies must be the Dalmatian coat-coveting Cruella De Vil. The 2021 story Cruella follows her path to the dark side, and along with it comes the return of her favourite set of wheels, a Panther Deville with DEV 1L number plate.
This isn’t the first time the obscure British car maker has been at the heart of Cruella’s story — the 1996 version of 101 Dalmatians, as well as 2000’s 102 Dalmatians also feature the same custom DeVille.
Make/ model: 1981 Dodge M4S Concept
If you’re after OTT killer-car thrills, then The Wraith is the ultimate 1980s expression. The story revolves around a vengeful supercar intent on killing a gang of criminals that race rivals for their cars. After every successful slay, the car miraculously repairs itself, just like Christine.
The car in the film was called the Turbo Interceptor, and was based on a real concept car created by Dodge. It featured a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while six copies were made for use in the film.
Make/ model: 1952 Packard Funeral Coach
If you inherited a house from an aunt and then found out that she had tried to form a pact with Satan, you’d probably run a mile. But in this early-’80s horror, the protagonist stays put, even after being visited by a black Packard hearse that vanishes into thin air after parking on the drive.
But the car and house aren’t the only unsettling things about this rural community.
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