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
key word here is attempted.
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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