A lot of people have a fascination with the automobile. Millions of people also love movies so it is just natural that they are attracted to movies that feature unique cars. The James Bond franchise has used a great deal of catchy cars including his Aston Martin, the submarine car in The Spy Who Loved Me, and the flying Matador from The Man With The Golden Gun. Who would have thought that an AMC Matador could be so cool? Steve McQueen’s 1968 Mustang caught many eyes at it tore through the streets of San Francisco during the epic car chase scene in Bullitt and who didn’t want a Trans AM after watching Smokey and the Bandit?
There are some great movies with awesome cars that have been made over the years. Back to the Future, Batman, Mad Max, and American Graffiti all have one or more cars in them that viewers remember fondly. But we should know that it takes more than a cool car to make a movie. Senseless plots, bad scripts, and hokey visual effects can totally ruin a movie. Not to mention terrible acting. There are quite a few examples of movies that boasted unique vehicles but failed to deliver the other essential elements. Grab some popcorn and check out the list of the 15 worst car movies ever.
15. Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
He’s stronger. He’s faster. He’s Herbier. He’s a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle that can communicate with people, show a wide range of emotions, and compete with finely-tuned stock cars being driven by professionals. It’s a good thing that Herbie isn’t evil! Granted, Herbie: Fully Loaded is a Disney flick so we shouldn’t be surprised that the plot is outlandish and the story is quite contrived. It’s 102 minutes of your life that you will never get back.
Lindsay Lohan’s dad generously lets her pick out any car she wants as a graduation gift. The only catch is that she has to pick it out of a junkyard. Thanks Dad!! Lindsay ends up driving Herbie in a NASCAR race which, as you may have guessed, they win in dramatic fashion with a lot of help from CGI. Everything ends well as Lindsay and Herbie both win the hearts of their respective love interests. Yes, Herbie is a stud too.
14. Duel (1971)
In his feature-film directing debut, Stephen Spielberg puts Dennis Weaver behind the wheel of a red 1971 Plymouth Valiant and has him being stalked by a 1955 Peterbilt tanker truck with a mysterious driver. While the movie succeeds in evoking a certain degree of tension and drama, it also brings about an urge to fall asleep as this 89-minute catastrophe could have easily been packed into a 10 minute short. The ending’s kind of cool though. A big explosion and the evil truck plummeting over a cliff puts an end to Weaver’s troubles. Well, almost puts an end to his troubles because he is now stranded and will need to shell out for a new car. We’re not really sure why the truck had it in so badly for the Valiant. Perhaps adding such depth to an already complicated plot would be too confusing.
13. Super Hybrid (2010)
If you are a fan of serial killer cars, terrible acting, and clichéd story lines then you’ll love Super Hybrid. As one of the 15 worst car movies ever, Super Hybrid is about a shape-shifting car that, after killing a couple of car thieves, ends up being impounded by police. It then goes on to take more lives while at the garage. A few people become hip to the car’s game and decide to set a trap by covering an elevator shaft with a tarp. Why not? It always seemed to work in Bugs Bunny cartoons.
After a couple of miscues and more death, the plan finally works and the car falls into the elevator shaft. Another car is pushed down the shaft for good measure. The movie ends with the appearance of 5 more cars which are possibly angry friends of the newly-deceased killer car.
12. Black Cadillac (2003)
In this 88-minute flop, 3 friends pile into a Saab and head for Minnesota after getting into a scuffle at a bar in Wisconsin. They soon find themselves being stalked by a 1957 Cadillac. The three friends pick up a Deputy Sheriff who is stranded on the side of the road after his car broke down. The villainous Caddy gets a bit more aggressive with its antics. After a quick pit stop, the men return to the Saab and find an ominous message on the windshield. They drive off and eventually decide to kick the Deputy Sheriff out of the car because they think he is the reason that they’re being hassled.
11. Killdozer (1974)
OK, it’s not a car but a bulldozer. Still, it’s a motorized machine and this movie is truly terrible which is why it makes the list of 15 worst car movies ever. In this stinker, a group of men are building an airstrip on an isolated island. A Caterpillar D9 uncovers a meteorite that crashed to Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago. A strange blue light then hits the machine causing it to develop an evil mind of its own. The D9 goes on a rampage in which it kills a bunch of workers. Oh, it also destroys the only two-way radio so nobody can call for help. It comes down to the last two survivors who devise a plan to electrocute the rogue bulldozer. The plan works. The D9 is electrified, an alien entity pops out of the machine, and then fades away. Exorcism accomplished!!
10. The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
You’ve got Johnny Knoxville, Stifler from American Pie, and Jessica Simpson so it’s not like we should be expecting a film that is worthy of an Academy Award although it almost won a couple of Razzies. It would probably be fair to say that the majority of people that saw this movie were more interested in seeing the iconic General Lee get chased around Hazzard County by witless cops anyway. Aside from having a more confusing plot than the television episodes did, it was the same old story. Boss Hogg is up to his no-good scheming ways and the Duke boys need to stop him. At least this film delivered with the car chases but aside from that, it is pretty much a waste of 106 minutes worth of film. No Academy Awards but The Dukes of Hazzard cements itself among the 15 worst car movies ever.
9. Rubber (2010)
Homer Simpson once suggested making a movie about a talking pie that travels through time. This idiotic piece of cinematography isn’t all that far off. Instead of a talking pie, Rubber features a tire named Robert that develops telekinetic powers. And instead of time travel, Robert travels through desert towns. Naturally, Robert doesn’t use its powers with good intentions. He blows up people’s heads, stalks a woman (even watches her take a shower), and kills a bunch of people who are burning tires. The malevolent tire then enters a house, kills the residents, and watches car racing on television. After a police lieutenant’s plot to kill the tire by luring it to a dynamite-rigged mannequin fails, the cop winds up shooting it with a shotgun. The film concludes with a tricycle and a few tires rolling down the road en route to Hollywood. What??
8. 200 MPH (2011)
Fast cars, drug dealers, revenge, and settling scores in illegal street races. No. We’re not talking about Need for Speed or The Fast and the Furious series, although 200 MPH is definitely a wannabe. It’s just that 200 MPH is awful. From the incredibly bad acting to the suspect CGI, this flop has no redeeming qualities. The Mazda RX-7, which is a focal point of this catastrophe, even inexplicably changes into a Nissan 240sx during the film.
The plot is basically a guy seeking revenge for his brother’s death. Not by killing his nemesis, not by kicking his butt, or by calling him names and running away. No, he wants to get his revenge by beating him in an illegal street race but he needs to beef up his car first. We should keep in mind that this movie was created on a budget of just $200,000.
7. Redline (2009)
This clunker is about a bunch of filthy-rich people who race each other in their very expensive cars. They wager enormous amounts of money, platinum bars, other exotic cars, and even people. There is betrayal, death, love, and a bunch of other nonsense weaved together into a boring plot. The heroine, Natasha, is an aspiring musician and a talented mechanic. Unfortunately, she becomes the property of a guy named Michael who is a bit of a tool. He’s also got some financial troubles developing. The film’s climax happens during a race which has a $100 million purse. Natasha tanks the race which compounds Michael’s problems. He is taken away by mobsters to face an unpleasant fate. Natasha, now free, is given a recording contract and makes a gold record. Gag!!
6. Corvette Summer (1978)
In this dumpster fire of a movie, Luke Skywalker, we mean Mark Hamill, plays a character named Kenny who builds a pretty cool looking custom Corvette Stingray in his high school shop class. His happiness is short-lived as the car is stolen. Acting on a tip, Kenny heads to Las Vegas in search of his missing whip. On his journey, he hooks up with an aspiring hooker named Vanessa. After finding out that his high school teacher was behind the theft, Kenny ends up working for the guy who now has the custom Corvette but, as you could imagine, he has ulterior motives. He is predictably steals the car back and returns home but not before using the Force to rescue Princess Leia, we mean Vanessa from a dangerous situation. The car chase at the end was probably meant to wake the sleeping audience.
5. Wheels of Terror (1990)
Grab a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and buckle up so you don’t fall out of your seat when you drift off to sleep watching Wheels of Terror. In this made-for-television snoozer, a woman, Laura, and her daughter Stephanie move to Copper Valley where a dirty old black Dodge Charger has been terrorizing the local population. Laura gets a job driving a school bus and is on her way to pick up her daughter after school one day when she sees the Charger abduct Stephanie. With kids still on the bus, Laura gives chase. She eventually lets the kids off the bus before engaging in a final showdown with the evil automobile. Stephanie eventually escapes from the car and Laura finally pushes the Charger over a cliff. As Laura is reuniting with Stephanie, the car returns. This time the Charger goes flying off a cliff and lands in a building that is loaded with explosives. Kaboom!! No more evil car.
4. The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The Fast and the Furious has been a very successful franchise since it started in 2001 but the story lines have progressively gone off the rails. We could have singled out 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tokyo Drift, or Fast and Furious 6 as one of the 15 worst car movies ever made but we will, instead, focus on The Fate of the Furious. While this movie has the franchise’s signature stable of awesome cars and great race scenes, the plot is a little convoluted. Cyberterrorists, international espionage, and nuclear threats are a far cry from the first few installments which were quite thrilling, action-packed, and not as ridiculous. The Fate of the Furious has a pretty solid cast and the acting is good but one gets a sense that the franchise is getting tired despite plans to add more titles to the series. After all, these movies make a ton of money.
3. Need for Speed (2014)
If you just want to see cool cars doing insanely awesome things then you might enjoy this movie. If you like a hint of originality, tolerable acting, or the semblance of a plot then you will want to avoid it at all costs and do something more productive with your time like driving spikes into your eyeballs. In a nutshell, Aaron Paul’s character, Tobey, aims to avenge the death of a close friend. As in other similar movies, the revenge doesn’t come in the form of killing, a punch in the face, or anything else remotely close. Nope. Tobey’s revenge will be meted out by beating Dino, the unlikable villain, in an illegal street race. That’ll show him!! At least Dino loses a little more than just the race while Tobey wins a little more.
2. The Hearse (1980)
There were quite a few great movies made in the 1980s but there were also a lot of stinkers. Take The Hearse as an example of the latter. A woman, Jane, inherits a haunted house from her deceased devil-worshipping aunt. It turns out that the hearse that carried the aunt’s body was involved in a nasty crash. Both the hearse’s driver and the aunt’s coffin mysteriously disappeared. However, the ghost of the hearse has been seen lingering around the stretch of road that leads out of town.
Jane gets a little spooked and decides she wants to leave town but the ghost hearse follows her around and prevents her from leaving. She finds herself in a chase with the hearse and the haunted vehicle crashes. Jane then rams the hearse and sends it over a cliff where it explodes. You can wake up now.
1. The Car (1977)
Referred to as “The cinematic turkey of 1977” by Gene Siskel, The Car is about a customized 1971 Lincoln Mark III that goes on a killing spree. It’s kind of like A Nightmare on Elm Street but with an evil looking automobile instead of Freddy Krueger. It starts by running down a couple of cyclists, a hitchhiker, and then ups the ante by taking out the sheriff. James Brolin puts the kibosh on his wife’s marching band rehearsal because, you know, there is a killer car on the loose but changes his mind and allows the practice to proceed. You guessed it. The car shows up and spoils the practice. James Brolin’s wife is then killed when the car plows through her house. Are you following this?
The loony Lincoln is finally lured into a trap and buried under a pile of rubble. The film ends with a shot of the car cruising through Los Angeles which nicely sets up a possible sequel which, thank goodness, was never made.
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