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Hell on Wheels: 10 Deadly Rides from the Movies and TV

It’s said that America has had a long-standing love affair with the automobile. But sometimes love affairs go south, and what was once the object of your affection becomes the instrument of your destruction.

Case in point: These famous wicked motor vehicles from movies and TV series (below). Whether driven by homicidal maniacs or possessing twisted minds of their own, these killer cars are truly to die for.

Christine

1. Christine (from “Christine” [1983]). From the mind of author Stephen King and the lens of director John Carpenter, Christine is an appropriately named 1958 Plymouth Fury that delights in mowing down innocent pedestrians while slowly leaching its demonic sensibilities into the mind of its nerdish teenage owner. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Duel Truck


2. The Tanker Truck (from “Duel” [1971])
. Four years before Steven Spielberg scared the swimming trunks off us with “Jaws,” the then 25-year-old director made his mark on Hollywood with this gripping TV movie about a traveling salesman (Dennis Weaver) being stalked on the open highway by a rust-encrusted 1964 Peterbilt 351 tanker truck he had the bad judgment to cut off. Spielberg wisely never shows us the truck’s driver – if there even is one.

Death Proof Car

3. Death Proof (from “Grindhouse/Death Proof” [2007]). This is the tricked out 1971 Chevy Nova SS 424 homicidal stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) uses to kill women in staged high-speed crashes. The car is equipped with a safety cage that provides a “death proof” environment for Mike while his unwitting victims are hurled through the windshield to their untimely deaths. Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Green Goblin Truck

4. Happy Toyz “Green Goblin” Truck (from “Maximum Overdrive” [1986]). It’s Stephen King again. This time (and, to date, the only time) behind the camera, directing a tongue-in-cheek apocalyptic tale about modern machines run amok. The “Green Goblin” truck is just one of many vehicles brought to life when Earth passes through the tail of a rogue comet, developing an understandable urge to run over Emilio Estevez.

Wraith Dodge M4S Turbo

5. Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor (from “The Wraith” [1987]). Man, the 1980s were good times for killer car movies. Anyway, this is a turbo-charged street racer driven by a masked man who may or may not have been earlier injured (or killed?) in a hot rod wreck. The Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor featured in the film is just one of four of these custom models ever built.

Killdozer

6. Killdozer (from “Killdozer” [1974]). Long before SyFy was making cheesy high-concept, low-budget horror flicks for undiscriminating cable viewers, ABC-TV was cranking out micro-budget MOWs (movies of the week) that often had an exploitable supernatural bent. This included this mid-1970s clunker about a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer that gets possessed by a malevolent spirit trapped in an ancient meteorite unearthed at a construction site off the coast of Africa. Granted, it’s no “Sharktopuss,” but then, what is?

Animal House Deathmobile

7. The Deathmobile (from “Animal House” [1978]). A highly modified 1966 Lincoln Continental, the “Deathmobile” may not have actually killed anyone, but it did cause significant property damage during the Faber College Homecoming Parade. Hey, wait a minute. How could a 1966 Lincoln Continental even exist in a movie that takes place in 1962? That just shows how truly evil it is.

Olds Delta 88

8. Oldsmobile Delta 88 (from “The Evil Dead” movies [1981/1987/1992]). This may be the hero’s car, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be badass. Especially when it’s tricked out with body armor and a giant buzz saw.

The Car

9. Lincoln Continental Mark III (from “The Car” [1977]). Four versions of this 1971 Mark III were built by legendary car customizer George Barris (who also built the classic 1966 Batmobile). Three were destroyed during filming. The fourth wound up in the garage of a private collector. Because who doesn’t want to own a car possessed by the Devil?

KARR

10. KARR (From “Knight Rider” [1982]). The “Knight Automated Roving Robot,” KARR was KITT’s evil twin, a prototype autonomous automobile programmed for self-preservation. Although seemingly destroyed at the end of the Season 1 episode “Trust Don’t Trust,” aired on November 19, 1982, the rogue Trans Am proved so popular it returned for an encore during Season 3 in the episode “KITT vs. KARR,” first aired on November 4, 1984.

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