The ‘Possessed/Killer Vehicle’ sub-genre is one that never fails to deliver the goods. In the “possessed” department we’ve got The Car (1977), Christine (1983), Maximum Overdrive (1986), the made-for-video remake Trucks (1997) and the made-for-TV Killdozer (1974). On the ‘killer vehicle’ side, which generally entails a homicidal driver, you’ve got Duel (1971), The Wraith (1986), the Joy Ride movies, and Highwaymen (2004). Charles Band’s Crash! (1977) falls into the possessed category and until a few months ago I had never heard of it. I thought I knew all the possessed car movies. Apparently not.
Crash! stars Jose Ferrer as Marc Denne and Sue Lyon as his younger wife, Kim. The movie enters their lives at a point where Marc has been confined to a wheelchair because of a car accident and for reasons unknown has come to resent Sue. When she comes home one afternoon after buying him a present, a little figurine from Reggie Nalder (Barlow from Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot) at a swap meet, he suddenly orders her to never leave the house again.
She takes off with the figure and is assaulted some time down the road by a Doberman that jumps into the car and causes her to drive off the road. Badly injured she limps out, makes it back to the road and passes out. She’s eventually taken to a hospital where it’s revealed she’s badly disfigured, suffering from amnesia and clutching the figurine. It’s this figurine that’s at the heart of the events in Crash!
It’s a representation of the Hittite (only other time I’ve heard that word used in a movie was Ghostbusters) God, Akasa, whose specialty is revenge. The dog that attacked her and caused the accident was Marc’s. A very well trained dog I have to add for it ran for miles and miles to put itself at just he right spot at just the right moment to leap into the convertible, attack and then journey all the way back home. That’s a hell of a dog.
Enter Dr. Gregg Martin (John Ericson) and nurse Kathy Logan (Leslie Parrish) who are the primary caregivers. Akasa seeks revenge by possessing Sue (she gets all red eyed), possessing her car and possessing a wheelchair that it uses to kill the dog. For most of the movie the car drives around town killing cops for they’re the ones on the front lines, but causing a lot of collateral damage in the process. I found the Sue-possession angle more interesting than the rampaging driverless car.
Since it was made in 1977 there’s a score used of that period, which didn’t do much for me. Not that I hate 70s scores, but for this particular movie it didn’t fit. It kind of felt out of place like the music in the opening credits of The Beast Must Die (1974). I don’t know, maybe, I just wasn’t in the mood for a 70s pop score last night.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen—English Dolby Digital Stereo—no subtitles.
This disc has got the most dreadful audio I’ve ever heard. I listen to movies through a pair of wireless headphones and it sounded it was being broadcast over a car radio. I actually thought for a moment there was something wrong with the headphones themselves. I had to listen to the rest of the movie through the TV because it was just too painful to hear it through the phones. The panavision picture, however, was very nice looking. I didn’t have a problem with that at all.
- Commentary with director Charles Band and David DeCoteau
- Speed Demon: The Making Of Crash! (9:58)
- Rare Video Interview With John Carradine, David Carradine and Keith Carradine
Personally, I’m a fan of the flicks he pumped out under his Empire/Full Moon banner, but I’m not all that familiar with the movies Band made before he formed those studios, but now having seen one of them (his first ever made), well, I will admit the cinematography looks damn good, but I can’t say Crash! won me over in any way shape or form. Say what you will about Band, his movies, his blues, his transfers, his DVDs, etc., there’s no denying he gives good commentary, especially when he’s got someone else with him to bounce off of. This one’s more humorous than the others I’ve listened to mostly because he’s not a fan of Crash! either.
David DeCoteau is right there beside him filling in all the gaps he can’t remember, and what I learned was DeCoteau is a real big fan of Crash!, so much so his 2003 Speed Demon flick was inspired by it. Other tidbits I gleaned/was amused by was John Carpenter used to be his ghost editor for some of these early movies; he rags on John Ericson’s acting, or lack of; the audio issue I mentioned previously seems to be a product of the movie’s production and not the DVD remastering since Band rags on it too at various points; he was in trouble with the DMV for a good decade and knew an explosives expert named “three-finger Willy,” who blew up shit on several of his movies including this one. Speaking of blowing up shit, some of the wrong shit got blown up in Crash!.
The Speed Demon featurette is DeCoteau’s love letter to Crash! He does a brief commentary over the trailer then visits a few of the locations in the movie and shows how they’ve changed and finally gives us a look at his Crash! memorabilia.
The Rare Interview isn’t really an interview it’s a brief intro Band got John Carradine and two of his sons (David and Keith) to do for one of his film compilations he mentions in the commentary.
Not counting the Crash! one that’s included, finally, you get trailers for five other Charles Band movies: Laserblast, Fairy Tales, Tourist Trap and The Day Time Ended. Tourist Trap has already been blued, Band has already expressed interest in bluing Fairy Tales, so I’m going to presume one day Laserblast and The Day Time Ended will be seeing blu-ray editions too one day.
Crash! has got a great poster, but other than that I can only recommend it to die hard Band fans, actual fans of the movie and/or fans of the behind-the-scenes extras he adds to his blues, which always get an A+.
(Note: he mentions the blu-ray version in the commentary, even jokes around about no one but David DeCoteau buying it but as far as I can tell no blu-ray is forthcoming. The review copy I reviewed was a DVD and it’s only this DVD you can buy on Amazon).