Review Index



Not to be confused with the similarly titled David Cronenberg or Paul Haggis films, this is an early effort by the irrepressible Charles Band, who attempted to mix occult horror and car chases (a bit like THE CAR crossed with THE EXORCIST)--the key word here is attempted.

The Package
     For this 1977 film, his second feature, Charles Band somehow managed to corral several legitimate actors: Jose Ferrer, LOLITAíS Sue Lyon, Leslie Parrish and John Carradine, all of whom were evidently down on their luck.
     CRASH! is the rarest of all Charles Bandís films, never having been released on home video in any format. Itís currently available in a variety of different versions, some obviously more complete than others. The most readily available version (i.e. the one most easily findable online) is unfortunately burdened with out-of-sync sound and missing the opening credits.
     By the way, unbelievable though it may seem, this film actually beat what would appear to be its primary inspiration, the same yearís THE CAR, to the punch by a full four months!

The Story
     At an outdoor flea market a young woman named Kim purchases an odd medallion. She then heads back to her house, where she lives with her elderly paraplegic husband Marc.
     Shortly thereafter Kim is attacked by a dog who jumps into her car as she drives down a mountain road, and she winds up catatonic in a hospital bed. Turns out the dog was sent by Marc, who intended to kill her. Discovering Kim survived the crash, Marc enters her hospital room and unhooks her IV. She, however, remains alive, apparently due to the influence of the medallion she purchased.
     In the meantime a driverless black car--Kimís, to be exact--cruises around and drives people off the roads, including several cops, a hot rodder and an elderly couple.
     A sympathetic doctor makes a sketch of Kimís medallion and takes the drawing to an occultist, who claims it represents an ancient, and evil, deity. Kim comes to with amnesia, and no knowledge of the fact that sheíd already awakened once earlier and, seemingly possessed, telepathically caused the objects in her hospital room to rattle and jump around.
     Weirdness continues after Kim gets home in the form of a riderless wheelchair that under her influence runs over Marcís dog. Heís pissed, and becomes ever more determined to do in his wife. Kimís demonic urges, however, arenít finished--and neither is her car!

The Direction
     This film is profoundly weird, although Iím not sure how much of that weirdness was intended. With its somnambulant acting, jumbled narrative and cheapjack filmmaking, the whole thing has a strangely disconnected, almost dreamlike air that was evidently due to ineptitude on the part of Charles Band his collaborators (who included cinematographer Andrew Davis, the future director of UNDER SIEGE and THE FUGITIVE).
     The copious car chases and crashes appear to be the filmís primary reason for being, yet theyíre quite clumsily filmed and edited. Presented more often than not in slow motion, the scenes involving the driverless car fail to either compliment or offset the scary business, and register, ultimately, as the gratuitous intrusions they are.
     The most interesting portions of CRASH! are the frequent dream/flashback montages, shot through distorted lenses; never mind that these scenes were evidently included solely to pad the running time! Thereís also an outrageous funkadelic score, which will be appreciated by seventies nostalgia buffs but will seem distracting and annoying to most everyone else.
     Even a DUI attorney San Francisco, who has seen all kinds of car accidents, should be a little freaked out by the idea of a driverless black car. Unfortunately the car in CRASH! seems about as scary as a minor fender bender.

Vital Statistics

BLC Services Inc.

Director: Charles Band
Producer: Charles Band
Screenplay: Marc Marais
Cinematography: Andrew Davis
Editing: Harry Keramidas
Cast: Jose Ferrer, Sue Lyon, John Ericson, Leslie Parrish, John Carradine, Jerome Guardino, Reggie Nalder, Richard Band, Paul Dubov, Rick Deming, Dawn Orr, John Hayes, Maureen OíHeron, Speed Sterns