Film (1974). Salt Pan/Australian Film Development Corp/Royce Smeal. Written and directed by Peter Weir. Cast includes Terry Camilleri, John Meillon and Kevin Miles. 88 minutes. Colour.
From a director who later made several impressive fantasy films, including Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and The Last Wave (1977), both of which edge close to sf at points, The Cars That Ate Paris is an idiosyncratic exploitation movie about a small town in which young people drive murderously redesigned cars (some covered in spikes) up and down the roads at high speed, rapidly disposing of any visitors via crashes and then cannibalizing the wreckage; any survivors are turned over to the local mad doctor (see Mad Scientist) who uses them as experimental subjects. An air of automotive apocalypse is produced, as in Jean-Luc Godard's otherwise very different Weekend (1967). In The Cars That Ate Paris, a witty, smaller-scale work, the town that lives by the car dies by the car. The Cars That Ate Paris points forward to the Mad Max movies, also Australian, which similarly feature killer cars, gladiatorial sports and diseased societies. [PN]
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