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10 Movie Vehicles Guaranteed to Kill You Faster Than Carbon Emissions

Jesus is not taking this wheel.
Killer Vehicles Horror Movies
By  · Published on October 17th, 2018

Motor vehicles can kill us any number of ways. Sure, we can get hit by a car or a plane could crash or a train derail, but that’s passé! Nowadays planes, trains, and automobiles can kill you uniquely: through climate change.

But don’t you miss the good ‘ol days when cars would just casually plow through your home while you’re on the phone? Sure, emissions standards from the 1970s and 1980s will clearly wipe out way more people but we’re in the age of nostalgia porn and gosh darn it! Killer vehicles are supposed to fall in love with their owners or, at the very least, be fueled by some supernatural bloodlust. Hell, even when I was in college I co-wrote and directed a short about a killer El Camino called Blood Oil.  And as self-driving cars become closer and closer to being a consumer vehicle, just imagine what the future of killer cars will look like!

Keep reading for a look at the 10 best killer vehicles as voted on by The Boo Crew: Chris Coffel, Kieran Fisher, Brad Gullickson, Rob HunterMeg Shields, and myself!

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10. The Wraith (1986)

The Wratih

Teenage revenge wish-fulfillment fantasy at its finest. After Jamie is murdered by the ruthlessly jealous Packard (Nick Cassavetes), he returns to the land of the living as the singular nightmare of the road, The Wraith (Charlie Sheen). Covered head-to-toe in black, The Wraith terrorizes the roads behind the wheel of a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor. No bully or maniac stands a chance racing alongside or away from the Interceptor. Packard is just future meat under its treads. Vengeance personified in apple pie American muscle. – Brad Gullickson

9. Fender Bender (2016)

Fender Bender

Part of what makes Fender Bender so special is the story of its director Mark Pavia. After landing a dream debut of working with HBO and Stephen King on an adaptation of his vampire short story The Night Flier, 19 years would pass before he had an opportunity for a sophomore feature. But during that time the dream didn’t die, despite working a 9 to 5, and he used his free time to continue writing which resulted in this creepy throwback slasher. Our killer’s MO here, if the name wasn’t a giveaway, is to find his victims after getting into mild traffic accidents and murder the shit outta them. The car isn’t the killer here, despite being foreboding, but rather The Driver (an indomitable Bill Sage) who stalks a young girl whose parents are naturally out of town. But be warned, despite the fun 80s vibe, the movie is bleak with a punch of an ending that is shockingly haunting for a slasher. – Jacob Trussell

8. Dead End (2003)


Warning… spoiler for a fifteen-year-old movie driving your way! One of the more common tropes in horror is the whole “they’re actually dead” ending. Thanks (and blame) goes to Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” for that, but while it’s a reveal used too frequently it’s also one that’s often used too poorly. This wonderfully eerie Christmas-set tale is an exception as it unfolds with such intricate precision as to delight even on a re-watch. A family on a holiday drive experiences terror that takes them one by one into the back of a mysterious hearse, and as the various elements fall into play they do so with beats grim, gory, and glorious for horror fans. All that plus the always phenomenal Ray Wise? This is a road trip worth taking. – Rob Hunter

7. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Maximum overdrive killer vehicles

Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Maximum Overdrive is the best Stephen King adaptation ever made. I understand the way the internet works and am well aware of the outrage that would cause. However, I will point out that it is the only King film actually directed by King, features blatant Green Goblin theft and has a soundtrack courtesy of AC/DC. There’s also a brutal scene of a small child being crushed by a steamroller. Plus, it has Yeardley Smith running around screaming. And who ties this whole picture together? Mr. Mighty Ducks himself, Emilio Estevez. So now I ask you this – is it possible to have the best King adaptation without having all those things? I think the answer to that question is a firm no but if you disagree I pray that you never run into a renegade soda machine. – Chris Coffel

6. The Car (1977)

The Car killer vehicles

Take Jaws but replace the shark with a car and move the story inland. After you do that get James Brolin, and all of his glorious hair, to play the local sheriff determined to bring this killer car to justice. Once you do all of that you’ll be left with one of the most kick-ass movies of all time. To exemplify how much this movie kicks ass it’s important to know that it features a car so committed to killing that it stalks down a victim and drives through a house to murder her. The first time I watched this film I jumped and cheered during that scene and I haven’t stopped cheering since. Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe there is some jackass honking behind me. – Chris Coffel

5. Road Games (1981)


Starring acting art forms Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis, Road Games is a neat little suspense flick that takes place on the Australian highway. The story follows a truck driver (Keach) and a hitchhiker (Curtis) as they hunt down a serial killer (played by Grant Page). However, the killer has eyes for a certain hitchhiker and they might not need to do much chasing to find him after all. The film owes a small debt to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, but this is way more entertaining than that movie. Speaking of Hitchcock flicks, Road Games led to director Richard Franklin directing the 80’s Psycho sequel. – Kieran Fisher

4. Joy Ride (2001)

Joy Ride

Paul Walker was attracted to vehicle movies before the Fast and the Furious franchise. Joy Ride might not be his most famous role, but it’s one of the best movies he was ever part of (beaten only by Running Scared and Fast Five). The film is basically a Hitcher redux that follows three friends on a road trip who encounter a murderous truck driver on the highway. The premise is simple, but there’s some strong tension on display here and some thrills to be found. Furthermore, the cast — which also includes Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski — is the most 2000’s ensemble you’re ever likely to see. Movies had more charm back then. – Kieran Fisher

3. Death Proof (2007)

Death Proof

Make no mistake, Stuntman Mike’s car is 100% death proof. Thing is, that only applies if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. Find yourself the passenger side and you’ve got yourself a real big problem. Sociopathic and scratched up, Stuntman Mike recklessly rattles women in his 1970 Chevy Nova, smashing dashes with such impunity Quentin Tarantino played the car-nage back for us a couple times. From the wreckage, like any good 70s slasher baddie, Mike returns with a new set of weaponized wheels in the form of a slick and murderous 1969 Dodge Charger. Only, this new gaggle of gals and their aptly named 1970 Dodge Challenger might just prove more than Mike bargained for. – Meg Shields

2. Christine (1983)

Christine killer vehicles

Let’s face it: no one is ever going to call their car Christine. Why? Because of the Stephen King and John Carpenter joint Christine. Make no mistake: this is THE killer car film, the one that even your grandma has heard of before. And it’s not just through the notoriety of its name, Christine the car in the film is a BEAST. Sentient with a jealous hot streak, Christine will stop at nothing to kill anyone that gets between her and her man (Keith Gordon). The crowning jewel here though is the eye-popping transformation the car goes through after being beaten to hell by a group of greasers. Before CG, without the help of stop motion or miniatures, Carpenter and his crew were able to believably make a car go from demolished to pristine right in front of our eyes. It’s thankfully been getting its deserved respect in recent years, but this moment of cinematic magic is one of the most gratifying of Carpenter’s illustrious filmography. – Jacob Trussell

1. Duel (1971)

Duel killer vehicles

Road Rage: The Movie. We’ve all been there. Cut off by some jackass eager to race beyond the speed limit. Sometimes, we’ve been that jackass. Gulp. Thankfully, we never changed lanes in front of the Peterbilt 281 tanker truck as dopey Dennis Weaver dared in Steven Spielberg’s announcement film. Don’t let the made-for-tv reality fool you, Duel is an utterly cinematic event movie that morphs the everyday foibles of the road into an exhilarating, dreadful chase. The terror is elevated by Weaver’s culpability, and his inability to explain himself to the incoming grill in his rearview mirror. – Brad Gullickson

Drive straight ahead, take the second left, watch out for the graveyard on the right, and then read more entries in our 31 Days of Horror Lists!

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Jacob Trussell is a writer based in New York City. His editorial work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Rue Morgue Magazine, Film School Rejects, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the author of 'The Binge Watcher's Guide to The Twilight Zone' (Riverdale Avenue Books). Available to host your next spooky public access show. Find him on Twitter here: @JE_TRUSSELL (He/Him)