The Wraith (1986)

The Wraith – 1986 – imdb

This Charlie Sheen vehicle is a mixture of teen drama, love story and vehicular horror and tells the story of Jake Kesey (Sheen) a stranger in town who turns up to find the place being terrorised by a gang of ‘road pirates’ who force drivers to face them in unfair street races for their pink slips.  The gang’s leader Packard Walsh (played by a menacing Nick Cassavettes) is quite the horrible bastard and isn’t above resorting to murder if the mood takes him.  He’s also obsessed with Keri (played by Sherilyn Fenn of Twin Peaks fame) who he thinks is his girlfriend.

Road Pirates?  Road Pricks more like.

Road Pirates? Road Pricks more like.

At the same time that Jake shows up, so does a souped-up sports car with a mysterious driver (the titular Wraith) which catches the envious eye of the pirates and before long is in a race with them.  Their attempts to cheat backfire spectacularly as it turns out the car is invulnerable to damage, incredibly manoeuvrable and is particularly good at killing opponents.  Uh oh!

The car generally causes explosions which leave its victims dead but mysteriously unburned.  Oh… and MISSING THEIR EYES.

The film then alternates between looking at the relationship between Jake, Keri and Packard and a series of violent deaths for all of the gang members before it is predictably revealed that Jake is indeed The Wraith and is infact an upgraded body of Keri’s ex-boyfriend Jamie who was murdered at the hand of Packard and his band of hoodlums.

Charlie Sheen trying to make wraiths sexy.

Charlie Sheen trying to make wraiths sexy.

It’s about as ’80s a movie as you can imagine.  Sheen’s charismatic performance singles him out over the rest of the cast and the racing action (and subsequent deaths) makes for interesting viewing.  The director certainly seems to be a fan of fast cars and at times it’s like watching a trailer for a Gran Turismo game.  You will absolutely hate Packard all the way through it and will be waiting for his demise, although I guess that’s the whole point of a bad guy.

I enjoyed The Wraith.  It’s not got a whole lot of ideas of its own but slots in nicely into the ‘cars killing people’ genre and it’s currently up on Netflix if you fancy a dabble.

2 thoughts on “The Wraith (1986)

  1. Mark

    I loved the shit out of this. I first saw it because of the cover… it was printed on some sort of mylar veneer so that it was ultra fucking shiny and gorgeous, with all those light beams catching the light beautifully. Had never heard of Sheen or Fenn at the time but I rented it, mainly because my mate’s dad ran the video store and would let me have movies for 50p if I brought them back same day. I distinctly remember (I’ll look like a twat if it’s not this movie) when Mr Cunt grabbed hold of the knife blade and dragged it through his closed fist. Talk about stinging? Fuck sake.

    Own it now, but on regular shitty-covered DVD rather than the shiny-awesomeness ex-rental VHS that I got from Carvill And Arcari in Renfrew. Gotta love those big-box rental cases.

  2. I just bought Annihilator and it’s a VHS rental. Fucking enormous!

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