AH, THE 80s, when Charlie Sheen was young and busting through his first 500 chicks, among them perhaps his The Wraith co-star Sherilyn Fenn, who is babalicious in all the right ways in this B movie.
The Wraith is a classic revenge flick, with a gang of hydraulic fluid-drinking goofs run down by a mysterious dude back from the dead in a Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor.
The parallels with Mad Max are unmistakeable, particularly the gang members, but unlike Mad Max they’re about as dangerous as Duran Duran.
The car chases are pretty lame as different gang members beg for their turn to die in fiery auto crashes, although their bodies are strangely sucked dry of life rather than melted or torn apart — all to try to add to some kind of horror.
But the real horrors are the acting, continuity, sound effects and a large portion of the script. What saves it is that sprinkled through the dialogue are some classic lines.
Packard: “All right. I want you to tear this guy a new asshole. Do it to him Oggie-style.” Oggie: “I’ll burn this Iranian!” Or this: Rughead: “What’s he got with us?” Packard: “What he’s got is an ass full of trouble.” Skank: “Yeah, it’s about time we got into somebody’s ass, huh, guys?” Gutterboy: “We’ll beat him like a red-headed stepchild!”
The cars aren’t too shabby. There’s a Corvette Stingray and a couple of Dodge Daytonas (’84 and ’87) plus a ’77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with seemingly non-functional injector hat. The star of the show, however, is the Interceptor, which is a Mopar M4S concept built in conjunction with PPG and used as the pace car in the Indycar series.
The engine is a mid-mounted twin-turbo 2.2-litre four-cylinder Cosworth reportedly capable of propelling the car to more than 300km/h. The original car was only used for close-ups, with six copies made by none other than customiser extraordinaire, Gene Winfield.
Two were fully driveable units, built on tube chassis with VW powerplants, for stunt work. Four more shells were fitted to towable frames and used for crash and explosion scenes. Dodge has the original car in its museum; the two driveable replicas were sold off. The fate of one is unknown, but the other has been restored.
The Wraith is a classic piece of 80s schlock and we know more than a few street machiners of a certain age who stretched their VHS copies of this flick to breaking point. Well worth a watch for laughs with a few mates and beers.
- Dodge M4S concept car
- ’66 Plymouth Barracuda
- Corvette Stingray
- ’84 and ’87 Dodge Daytonas
- ’77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
COOL FLICK FACT:
A camera truck crashed on the Catalina Highway, killing camera assistant Bruce Ingram and injuring seven others. The film was dedicated to Bruce.