Watchable For Car Chases, Unwatchable for Opening Scene
This movie appeared on CBS late night TV in the early 1980's. That's when CBS reran the old NBC mystery shows (Columbo, McCloud, Quincy) and some TV-movies in their late night schedule. Those were the days before we had a VCR, so you didn't have much choice for late night TV.
Of all the bad 1970's B-movies, this film has the most absurd & disturbing opening scene. It's such an unpleasant scene, I changed channels the first time it was on. Several months later, they ran it again, so I reluctantly watched the entire movie.
It opens with a couple on a road trip. You barely see a black sports car approaching from behind. Suddenly their van inexplicably just plunges off the road, and in an eerie slow-motion sequence, goes down a hill and crashes into the embankment, where it explodes into a massive fireball. It is such a distasteful and unsettling scene, it's impossible to sit through the rest of this trashy movie with the bad taste that scene left you with.
The rest is average B-grade trash, only worthy for some stupid action car scenes, and for Jose Ferrer, who makes it halfway watchable. The director filmed some good car chases and stunts. But he has no heart or soul presenting the rest of the story. The remainder of the movie plays with the same distasteful, unpleasant style as the opening scene, which regurgitates in your stomach. It's too bad because the story could have been intriguing or original, but comes off as nasty.
Jose Ferrer is an angry, bitter paraplegic who blames his wife (and her occult antiques) for the crash that left him paralyzed. It was that unknown car that caused the accident. She was not hurt, but he was left in a wheelchair. She deals in antique jewelry and acquired an ancient voodoo token. When she holds it in her hand, there is an unmanned black sports car that speeds through the mountainsides by itself running other cars off the road, causing crashes, and then speeding away with no driver.
While she's driving her convertible with the roof down, Ferrer send his trained dobermans to jump in and attack her, hoping she'll crash and die. Instead she survives in a coma, then recovers with amnesia and a lot of plastic surgery.
Since she has amnesia, he calls her to arrange an antiques sale. When she arrives, she doesn't remember the house, or the sauna (steam room) inside. There is one brief, frightening moment from Ferrer. As he shows her the house, he changes the subject from antiques to asking her if she remembers it. Then they get to the sauna, and an evil look comes over his face. He runs his wheelchair into her, pushing her inside, then locks her in and turns up the heat to melt her plastic surgery face, with some creepy 70's synthesizer sounds playing. Meanwhile her doctor suddenly realizes it was her husband who caused her accident and races against time to save her.