While we were binge-watching Stranger Things last night, the OnAllCylinders staff noticed how important the role cars have in the series. Whether it’s Hopper’s trusty Blazer, Joyce’s humble Pinto, or Billy’s rad Camaro Z28, the cars seem to be a reflection of the characters themselves.

That got us thinking–what unsung vehicles could we have overlooked in some of the greatest sci-fi/horror movies ever made? Rides that may have played an integral role in the films, yet were overshadowed, perhaps by a hungry zombie or knife-wielding maniac?

So, we got out our box of VHS tapes and put together this list.

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments.

10. Volkswagen Beetle, Gremlins (1984)

red first gen Volkswagen vw beetle bug

Think of the movie Gremlins and you’re likely to think of green, slimy monsters—but a troublesome VW and its temperamental nature causes some suspenseful moments in the film. Maybe Billy should have driven a Kentucky Harvester?

9. Plymouth ‘Cuda, Phantasm (1979)

red 1970 plymouth hemi cuda convertible at car show

Phantasm was a little bit horror, a little bit sci-fi. In between a creepy mortician and blade-wielding robot spheres, Ma Mopar’s finest 440 Barracuda was stealing the show. (Phantasm gets bonus points for some sweet 1970s-era dirtbikes too.)

8. Chevy Advance Design, Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero’s seminal work was packed with suspense. Also, zombies. This truck was a big part of the plot, as it carried the hero to the farmhouse to set the whole film in motion. Unfortunately, the Chevy didn’t make it through the night, burning to its frame after a failed escape plot.

7. Ford LTD Wagon, Halloween (1978)

If Dr. Loomis would’ve been more careful with his state-issued station wagon, then this whole movie franchise would’ve never happened. This beige grocery-getter is what Michael Meyers uses to wheel himself to freedom after escaping from the sanitarium.

6. Jaguar XJ12 Sovereign, Shaun of the Dead (2004)

In an almost unfathomable display of generosity, a pre-zombified Phillip gives Shaun the keys to a spotless 12-cylinder Jaguar sedan. We couldn’t think of a more comfortable and luxurious way to escape the undead.

5. Jeep CJ-5, Friday the 13th (1980)

a dark green jeep cj-5 with a soft top at a classic car show

Before there was a hockey mask, there was this CJ. In the original movie, the Jeep is the villain’s off-roader of choice. The CJ’s most remarkable feature are its soft doors that victims can’t seem to open—were locks an option?

4. 1977 Volvo 245 DL, Beetlejuice (1988)

What better choice for country cavorting than a Volvo wagon (as long as you stay off covered bridges, of course). Though easily overshadowed by a stellar cast, this canary yellow wagon is a key part of the movie’s opening scenes.

3. TIE: Volkswagen Thing & Ford F-1, The Fog (1980)

1973 Volkswagen thing with green olive drag paint job at car show

One of Carpenter’s best, the Fog’s two vehicles play pivotal roles in the film. The Thing is cool because of its KAB radio livery, but Nick’s old Ford F-1 is responsible for whisking our heroes to safety in a dramatic escape.

2. Chevy Blazer , Jaws (1975)

1975 k5 blazer with rood removed
(Image/Summit Racing)

Who needs to go into the water when you can wheel the dunes in a topless K5 Blazer? Chief Brody must’ve liked the truck, because he drove a similar 1977 GMC Jimmy in Jaws 2. We’re just stuck wondering how the Amity PD installed the SUV’s top with those lights on the roll bar.

1. Snow Cat, The Shining (1980)

Who hasn’t dreamed of being (almost) rescued by Scatman Crothers driving a Snow Cat? Though it took a back seat to Jack Nicholson’s brilliant acting and Kubrick’s sublime cinematography, the vehicle is a key plot element to one of the greatest horror movies of all time—easily enough to earn a solid place at the top of our obscure horror/sci-fi movie car list.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.