In the chilling realms of horror cinema, the art of terrifying audiences travels far beyond haunted houses and ominous forests. An overlooked but powerful conduit of terror has been the various modes of transportation and hauntingly iconic vehicles that have cruised, soared, and chugged their way through the archives of horror movie history.
Vehicles in horror movies strike a unique chord of terror by pervading the ordinary with the ominous, turning the familiar into the fearsome. Automobiles, trains, ships, and other modes of transport are intertwined with modern life’s daily rhythms. They symbolize freedom, adventure, and the human triumph over distance and time. However, when these common conveyances are cast into the shadows of horror, they transform into formidable vessels of fear and suspense.
In the spirit of Halloween, we have curated a bone-chilling list of the most iconic horror films featuring spooky vehicles and haunted transit systems that are central to their tales of terror. A list perfectly tailored to elevate your scary movie night at home.
Terrifying Transportation: The Spookiest Halloween Vehicles
Cars that drove us to the edge of our seats
Christine – ’58 Plymouth Fury (1983)
Directed by John Carpenter and based on Stephen King’s 1983 novel of the same name, the movie follows the changes in the lives of Arnie Cunningham, his friends, his family, and his teenage enemies after he buys a classic red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine, a car that seems to have a mind of its own and a jealous, possessive personality, which has a bad influence on Arnie.
Happy Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Ford Anglia (2002)
Not so much a horror movie – more a beloved fantasy – in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets we are first introduced to the flying Ford Anglia – a Muggle car that has had its interior magically expanded by Arthur Weasley. The Weasley family and Harry use the car to drive to King’s Cross to catch the Hogwarts Express. When the barrier to the platform seals, stopping Harry and Ron from getting onto the train, the boys use the car to fly to Hogwarts.
Death Proof - '70 Chevy Nova (2007)
Stuntman Mike’s customized Chevy Nova, complete with a roll cage, makes the car death proof. But only for him. As for his victims, it’s a pretty vicious tool of destruction and dismemberment. It’s also a pretty slick looking ride with a great paint job, and that skull and lightning crossbones on the hood helps catapult it to instantly recognizable status. Mike might have revealed himself to be not such a tough guy in the end, but his Chevy Nova is still a badass.
Trains of Terror & Sinister Shuttles
Train to Busan (2020)
Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean action horror film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. Sok-woo, a father with not much time for his daughter, Soo-ahn, are boarding the KTX, a fast train that shall bring them from Seoul to Busan. But during their journey, the apocalypse begins, and most of the earth’s population become flesh craving zombies. While the KTX is shooting towards Busan, the passenger’s fight for their families and lives against the zombies – and each other
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
The Midnight Meat Train is a 2008 American horror film based on Clive Barker’s 1984 short story of the same name. When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for the success that has, so far, eluded him. Determined to show the darker side of humanity for his debut showing, Leon crosses paths with Mahogany a serial killer who preys on late-night subway commuters.
Terror Train (1980)
Terror Train is a 1980 slasher film directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Set aboard a moving train on New Year’s Eve, the film follows a group of pre-medical school students holding a costume party who are targeted by a killer who steals their costumes after murdering some students to avoid being caught.
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Jeepers Creepers 2 is a 2003 American horror film written and directed by Victor Salva. A sequel to the 2001 film Jeepers Creepers. Set a few days after the original, a championship basketball team’s school bus is attacked by The Creeper the winged, flesh-eating terror and serial killer, on the last day of his 23-day feeding frenzy.
Menacing Micromobility: Terror on Two Wheels
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Again, not a scary movie – but it definitely has a few sinister and jumpy moments – we can’t talk about bikes in movies without mentioning ET. After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien. Arguably the most famous scene from the movie is the moment E.T. lifts the boys’ bikes into the air and they fly to safety before being captured by government officials.
Trapped Inn (2021)
Directed by Leah Sturgis, Trapped In features an American cycling team that gets trapped in a historic lodge during training camp high in the remote mountains in Europe. After members from the team mysteriously die, two rival teammates, Connor and Greg, clash as they fight for survival and try to uncover what’s killing everyone on the team.
Phantom Planes & Fear at 30,000 Feet
Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
On a flight from Los Angeles to Paris, a mad scientist is transporting a coffin containing a body infected with a genetically modified virus. When the 747 hits a violent storm, the corpse wakes up and escapes from the container. Flight of the Living Dead is exactly the movie you think it is, a cheesy horror comedy leaning into all the genre tropes for maximum fun.
Flight 7500 (2014)
Flight 7500 is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by Takashi Shimizu. Flight 7500 departs Los Angeles International Airport bound for Tokyo. As the overnight flight makes its way over the Pacific Ocean during its ten-hour course, the passengers encounter what appears to be a supernatural force in the cabin.
Final Destination (2000)
Final Destination is a 2000 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wong, with a screenplay written by Wong, Glen Morgan, and Jeffrey Reddick. High school student Alex cheats death after having a premonition of a catastrophic plane explosion. He and several of his classmates leave the plane before the explosion occurs, but Death later takes the lives of those who were meant to die on the plane.