Today is the last Tuesday of the Countdown to Halloween, which means today is the last Tuesday's Overlooked Film for the Countdown, and that film is the 1974 Peter Weir-directed film The Cars That Ate Paris.
The story involves the fictional town of Paris, Australia, a rural town set in its old-fashioned ways and insular attitudes. How insular? The town hobby is staging fatal car accidents for outsiders so their cars can be stolen and customized into terror machines. If a person does survive a crash, they are taken to the local hospital to be lobotomized and used for experimentation.
I do NOT want to see the town's ratings on Yelp.
I haven't seen the film, but I've heard much about it and it looks very intriguing. In addition to the carnage, there are also themes of the obsession with cars and the conflicts between older and younger generations. Cars is different from the other "killer car" selections I've written about this month in that these cars aren't possessed by evil spirits or alien gas, but they are in fact possessed by evil human beings--and aren't they the scariest monsters of all?
The film was a big hit at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, but didn't make much of an impact on Australian audiences. It has, however, become a cult classic today. It was released in America in 1976 under the misleading title The Cars That Eat People (wouldn't that be something?). Director Peter Weir would go on to bigger and better things directing films such as Witness, Dead Poets Society, and The Truman Show, among others.
Here is the film's trailer. Enjoy!