Horror films and muscle cars have always held sway over my heart.
Join both passions together, well, then you have something extra special.
Today I had a chance to reminisce about a famous muscle car from the cult classic Phantasm (1979): a 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda.
We caught up with Don Coscarelli, director of the Phantasm series, at the Crypticon Horror convention in Minneapolis. Though we had planned to talk mainly film and scripts with Coscarelli, we just couldn't resist mentioning the famous ride.
Like many Mopar fanatics, watching the Phantasm ‘Cuda on screen still gives me chills. Sure, the evil Tall Man, flying spheres, and dwarf-sized slaves were great touches. But that sinister black car was a character itself, taking a prominent role in several scenes. All those close-ups of the Hurst 4-speed Pistol Grip shifter, that ‘Cuda gliding through the back roads, gave the impression that this car was something more than just your typical automobile.
So what was so special about it, besides looking bad ass in a spooky flick?
According to Don, the original movie featured a real-deal ’71 ‘Cuda. In reality it was a 340 small block that powered the blackness, not a 440 or 426 Hemi engine as most believe. Flared rear wheels (a sign of the times) housed chromed Cragar wheels. The roof was (heaven forbid) cut for an aftermarket sunroof, which leaked and led to a musty interior. Eventually, the ‘Cuda languished on dealer lot and was sold. Its location today is still a mystery.
Phantasm II, (released in 1988), also featured a black ’71 Plymouth Barracuda. However, this E-body did not sport the higher-prized ‘Cuda performance option. Interesting, Don still owns this car, which is powered by a small block 318.
There’s no mistake about it, many a Mopar fan were created watching the Phantasm franchise.
Here’s to Don Coscarelli, a director that definitely added some creepy-cool to the Mopar mystique.
More information about Phantasm and its sequels can be found here:
For more information on Crypticon Horror Convention, visit the website: http://www.crypticonminneapolis.com/