A driverless car is actually a weapon of revenge when it falls under the control of an ancient Hittite God called Akaza in this action/horror hybrid from Charles Band (the same guy who created ‘Full Moon Entertainment’ and brought you the “Puppet Master” movies.
This one is a little weird, and I like that. It begins with a slow motion shot of a Camaro cresting a hill on a sunny Southern California highway. The top is down so it is readily apparent that no one is at the wheel. Dun! Dun! Dun!
The car proceeds to run an innocent pair of hippies in a van off the road. This is an excellent stunt that ends in a spectacular explosion in which magic happens (actually it’s dumb luck) because you can clearly see a dummy propelled from the front seat and surrounded by flame. This was before CGI so it’s a cool effect.
Next we meet our leads. Beautiful bride Kim (played by Sue Lyon who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita) is observed shopping at a swap meet where she purchases an idol of the aforementioned God, Akaza. We know this is a bad idea as she purchases it form a shady dealer played by the uber-creepy Reggie Nalder (Barlow the Vampire in the “Salem’s Lot” miniseries directed by Tobe Hooper).
Next we meet her husband, Marc. He is a bitter, jealous, and generally cranky guy who blames his wife for the car accident that has hurt his mobility. He may be mean spirited but he does have a beautiful speaking voice thanks to the fact that he is played by Jose Ferrer. Minutes after Kim walks in the door he is hectoring her for going out when he can’t. She tries to shrug off his attitude and give him the idol knowing he collects that sort of thing but he is determined to be a tool.
She pops into the sauna to relax but Marc follows her there and continues to berate her before throwing his present present back at her and insisting she leave. Unlike a character in a haunted house flick she does just that and splits. Unfortunately that was Marc’s plan all along. he sends out his loyal Doberman who runs cross country and springs onto Kim as she is navigating a curve in her Camaro. She crashes and wakes up in a hospital to find that she has lost he memory.
Meanwhile we get several scenes intercut with this action. Each time we see the Camaro attacking other vehicles. These scenes are quite good and feature plenty of car carnage.
Back at the hospital Kim is still clutching the Akaza idol. Her brain may not be taking calls right now but the idol remembers everything. The statue is able to launch an attack on Marc’s dog by possessing his wheelchair.
Marc figures that Kim is responsible and finds out she survived the crash with no memory of him. Luckily her physician comes calling. He needs an expert on weird idols and wants Marc to examine his patient’s statue. Marc seizes the opportunity to track down Kim and lure her home. Once there he locks her in the sauna and turns it up full blast.
At this point we realize the movie cheated us a bit. While in the sauna Kim’s eyes flash red and the car begins its assault after escaping the police lot where it was towed after the accident. Apparently all of that motor vehicle mayhem we saw actually happens now as the car races to Kim like it was Lassie trying to save little Timmy after the poor dope fell down a well. At least we get to see the crashes again and this time from the Camaro’s viewpoint .
This is a fun time waster that manages a mean feat by ripping off a horror movie that hadn’t come out yet (The Car) and mixing in a little “Exorcist” exploitation too. This is an old exploitation trick that Roger Corman, in particular, excelled at. He got a rip off of “The Abyss” into theatres six months before James Cameron’s film opened. The cast are game and also include the lovely Leslie Parrish, an aging John Carradine, and John Ericson. The perfect flick for a Pabst Blue Ribbon kegger.
Best Line: “Did you see that car? Nobody was driving.”