Vehicles of horror hold a special place for fright fans. From haunted cars to sinister trucks, let’s roll out the most iconic spooky rides.
5. Maximum Overdrive, Western Star 4800
In the 1986 film Maximum Overdrive, Earth passes through a comet’s tail, causing lifeless machines to come to life and become malevolent. The story follows a group of people trapped at a remote truck stop, facing the threat of homicidal semis, trucks, and cars. Stephen King’s first and only directorial effort is loosely based on the short story “Trucks.” The main antagonist is a Western Star 4800 tractor unit, easily identifiable by its menacing Green Goblin mask on the grill and the Happy Toyz logo on the trailer. The demonic semi-truck dominates the truck stop, its roaring engine evoking a looming danger, capable of flattening the patrons at any moment. Maximum Overdrive is gloriously cheesy, intended for the drive-in or late-night cult screenings. However, that Green Goblin mask on the grill is seared into the minds of horror fans.
4. 1957 Ford Sedan in Psycho and Halloween H20
This classic car makes it on the list of iconic vehicles of horror because it bridges the golden era of fright films to the modern one. In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) encounters a familiar face at Hillcrest Academy. Janet Leigh, the iconic star of Psycho, makes a brief appearance as Norma, Strode’s secretary. Of course, Leigh is also the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis, adding another layer to the scene shared between the two scream queens. When Janet Leigh’s character exits the picture, she does so with a clever nod to horror history. She drives off in the same 1957 Ford Sedan that took her to the Bates Motel in Psycho.
3. The Coolest of the Vehicles of Horror… Death Proof, the ’70 Chevy Nova
Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film Death Proof features a unique vehicle of horror. Stuntman Mike, played by a scenery-chewing Kurt Russell, is a killer with a different kind of murder weapon. His cherished matte black 1970 Chevy Nova, deemed ‘death-proof’, is equipped with a white skull and crossbones on the bonnet. The reinforced stunt rigging makes it an instrument of death when Mike is behind the wheel. This car is ideal for the film’s adrenaline-fueled car chases. Of course, it also perfectly complements Russell’s unhinged character.
2. ‘73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 from The Evil Dead Series
Groovy… On the surface, this clunker seems like an unlikely choice to chart on a list of iconic vehicles of horror. However, fright fans know this ‘73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 has managed to make its way in a laundry list of projects thanks to The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi. The filmmaker’s car since his teen years, the Delta 88 has become a staple in Raimi’s movies, prominently featured in the Evil Dead films and TV series. This enduring symbol belongs to Ash Williams, played by fan-favorite Bruce Campbell. The Delta has even made appearances in Raimi’s other films, including as Uncle Ben’s car in Spider-Man and a brief cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
1. The Top Vehicle of Horror… the ’58 Plymouth Fury, Christine
It’s only fitting that vehicles of horror from the mind of Stephen King bookend this list. 1983’s Christine was based on a novel by King and directed by horror mastermind John Carpenter. Christine, the iconic killer car, is a cherry-red 1958 Plymouth Fury with a mind of her own. Restored to near-mint condition by her owner Arnie, she embarks on a rampage of murder and mayhem, leaving a lasting mark in horror movie history. Of course, Stephen King’s classic story about a car that transforms an ordinary person into a murderous mechanic strikes a chord with gearheads.
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