Heroes are cool, but theyre nothing without a villain against which to prove themselves.
The same is true of their respective rides, with the cars and trucks arrayed on the side of evil helping Hollywood establish character, drive the plot, and in the case of more imaginative productions, even taking the role of primary antagonist themselves.
Which movie villain cars and trucks stand out from the pack? Heres a look at 10 evil rides you wouldnt want to see in your rearview mirror.
The car: 2004 Lexus SC430
The driver: Rachel McAdams as Regina George
Why its so effective: Regina George was the queen bee of The Plastics, the cruellest girl gang at North Shore High School. It therefore makes sense she would drive a Lexus SC430, perhaps the best automotive encapsulation of plastic surgery to ever roll off an assembly line.
With hot styling that suggests its a performer, and yet absolutely nothing underneath its external flash to back that up, the SC430 is a rolling testament to Georges personal brand of vapid, beauty-driven bullying.
The car: 1968 Dodge Charger
The driver: Stunt driver Bill Hickman
Why its so effective: The Dodge Charger is pure visual menace, and its hard to deny the chase scene from Bullitt would have only been half as iconic if it hadnt been this particular Mopar antagonizing Steve McQueens Mustang.
How evil does an all-black Charger look? Decades later, when shooting the movie Blade, director Stephen Norrington asked his designers to come up with a car that was suitably malevolent for the main character, a day-walking vampire. What they presented looked so much like a 68 Charger that the production simply bought one of those, added a hood scoop, and called it a wrap.
The car: 1958 Plymouth Fury
The driver: Christine drives itself, thank you very much
Why its so effective: During the course of John Carpenters adaptation of Stephen Kings book Christine, the titular vehicle runs over, incinerates, crushes, blows up, impales, or otherwise murders no fewer than 13 victims before it is itself flattened by a steamroller. Thats an impressive body count for any villain, let alone one with no arms or legs only acres of deadly chrome.
The car: 1955 Peterbilt 281
The driver: Its unclear, but theyre weird and pissed off, whoever they are
Why its so effective: Road rage is one of the most relatable of the seven deadly sins, so its surprising there havent been more movies made about it. Of that small cadre, Steven Spielbergs Duel is the godfather of them all, with the ugly, rust-covered Peterbilt 281 that spends almost the entire run time chasing down and otherwise terrorizing a seemingly innocent Plymouth driver. By never showing more than the drivers arm or boots, the Peterbilt acquires a horrifying personality all on its own.
A similar premise, where a rogue trucker identified only by his deep voice over the CB would do his best to roll over Paul Walker and Steve Zahn, would again be explored to similar effect in 2001s Joy Ride.
The car: Freightliner FLA 8664 wrecker
The driver: Robert Patrick as the T1000
Why its so effective: Patricks T1000 might not have been physically imposing, but the Freightliner he pursues John Connor with through LAs concrete river channels certainly is. The juxtaposition of the massive wrecker, hot on the trail of Connors puny dirt bike, injected a huge dose of tension into the movies first major action set piece.
Even the appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger on a Harley doesnt do much to slow down the thundering machine, which is eventually done in by its own bulk. It was excellent foreshadowing that maybe this time, Arnies own hulking frame wasnt going to be the biggest threat on the screen.
The car: 1974 AMC Matadorwith wings
The driver: Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga, who was apparently on a budget
Why its so effective: Most James Bond villain cars or even 007s own rides, for that matter relied on special effects to underscore their unique spy-versus-spy gadgets. There are two fascinating exceptions to this rule: the actually-submersible Lotus that was built for The Spy Who Loved Me, and the flying AMC Matador coupe seen in The Man With The Golden Gun.
Sure, its a little clunky, as the car has to be attached to an external set of wings and a propeller to take to the air (plus, you know, Matador). But while most of the Mata-Bird shots made use of a scale model, the prop car itself was capable of staying in the air for distances as long as half a kilometre. Thats some fairly solid engineering, considering the Malaise-Era metal the production crew was forced to work with.
The car: A pair of 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500e W124s
The driver(s): Niels Dubost, Frank Libert, and Stephan Crisz, as German thieves
Why theyre so effective:Taxi is the biggest car-movie franchise most North Americans have never heard of, with several sequels pivoting off of Luc Bessons initial late-1990s entry. The original plot consists of a taxi driver getting caught up in a series of heists, and the climax features a German gang in a pair of 500es chasing a heavily modified Peugeot 406 through the streets of Marseilles, France.
Its hard to think of another movie that put these sleeper hot rods front and center, and their combination of speed and anonymity on the streets of Europe make them the perfect choice as the getaway cars for a high-octane bank robbery.
The car: Flip Car
The driver: Luke Evans as Owen Shaw
Why its so effective: Lets face it: most of the villain cars in the Fast & Furious series are pretty lame. One of the few exceptions is the Flip Car driven by Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 6. Built using a tube frame and borrowed parts from a three-quarter-ton GM pickup, and making use of a 430-horsepower LS3 V8, the rolling ramp wreaked havoc on the streets of London by tearing through convoys and flipping anything in its path.
Completely custom-built for the movie (and making use of a truck four-wheel steering system), the Flip Car was every bit the match for the more exotic metal used by Torettos crew, and is perhaps the coolest ride ever driven by a Fast & Furious bad guy.
The car: 1991 BMW M5
The driver: Natascha McElhone as Deirdre
Why its so effective: Remember what we said earlier about the villain car making the entire chase that much cooler in Bullitt? That goes double for Ronin, where an E34 M5 is pursued through Paris by a much-less-interesting Peugeot 406 (minus all of the over-the-top aero and other mods found in Taxi).
Production used a variety of M5 and 535i sedans while shooting the white-knuckle sequence, but theres no doubt that in a movie packed with amazing cars (several from director John Frankenheimers personal collection), the last hand-built M car was the real star of the show.
The car: Happy Toyz Green Goblin Truck
The driver: As with Christine, the Green Goblin is a self-motivated killing machine
Why its so effective: Stephen Kings second motorized murderer on this list hails from the only movie he directed himself (although he has repeatedly stated he was using so much cocaine during production that he has no memory of the entire experience).
The Green Goblin face was affixed to a White Western Star 4800 truck that had been given the will to kill by a mysterious comet trail through which the Earth had recently passed. Its reign of terror over the surviving humans trapped in a roadside diner, and its prominent position on the front of the Maximum Overdrive movie poster, have made the Goblin an enduring icon of 1980s horror excess.
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These are the 10 best movie-villain cars of all time - Driving
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero