70s Films Header Image

The Cars That Ate Paris

The Cars That Ate Paris – 1974
They run on blood.
Peter Weir

Peter Weir
Keith Gow
Piers Davies
Peter Weir

Hal McElroy
Jim McElroy

John Meillon – The Mayor
Terry Camilleri – Arthur Waldo
Kevin Miles – Dr. Midland
Rick Scully – George Waldo
Max Gillies – Metcalfe
Danny Adcock – Policeman
Bruce Spence – Charlie
Kevin Golsby – Insurance man
Chris Haywood – Darryl
Peter Armstrong – Gorman
Joe Burrow – Ganger
Deryck Barnes – Al Smedley
Edward Howell – Tringham
Max Phipps – Mulray
Melissa Jaffer – Beth
Tim Robertson – Les
Herbie Nelson – Man in House
Charlie Metcalfe – Clive Smedley (uncredited)
Frank Saba – Con Lexus (uncredited)

Review by Noel Bailey
Gives new meaning to the word “beetlejuice
This little film appears to have stirred up radical dissent amongst many reviewers. Comments ranging from “stupid,” “dull,” “dark,” “gothic,” even “evil!” (I liked that one particularly!) Some other moron figured it was the worst film he’d ever seen. (Obviously he didn’t sit through I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE!)

Now time-out here…let’s just back it up a bit! Peter Weir is not what you would term a prolific director. He has made just 15 features in exactly 30 years – he doesn’t rush things! This was his second turn in the chair. He had at his disposal a budget not much more than that for a 60 second TV Commercial and he was under pressure to finish the flick in time for its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival that year. He did OK and in a master stroke of marketing, managed to get the “star” of the movie – the spiked beetle, on to the Cannes streets where it caused a media sensation. The film was very well received by an appreciative audience.

So, the story is far-fetched? Some of the residents of tiny bush-town Paris deliberately cause auto-wrecks to boost the town’s economy. Sure its a way left-field storyline and the acting was never going to win an Oscar nomination. It has though, that indefinable “something” and is early Peter Weir – a study of people in crisis or near crisis? It deserves to be seen for what it is, and the manner in which it shaped Peter Weir’s future. THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS was in effect a springboard that gave Weir the opportunity to make PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK the following year. If “Paris” had been a total flop he may never have been asked to direct it!

Watch it again and look for innovation, clever camera angles, smart direction…they’re all there! This is relegated now to almost cult film-status in Australia, it is somewhat of a time-capsule!
The only question I have, is who changed the name of this film to THE CARS THAT ATE PEOPLE for US release? especially as they have their OWN “Paris”…in Texas!

Share it now

70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

Join the Discussion

Register now & join in the discussions, this will allow you to add your own comments, memories, photographs and stories to our ever growing website dedicated to the Seventies. Simply sign up using your Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or Google+ Account

Your API connection setting not working. try to change setting from module option or check your php.ini setting for (cURL support = enabled OR allow_url_fopen = On)

Like this Film ? Share it now