This is Steven Spielberg’s first commercial film. It was made for TV, then expanded for release in theaters. It’s typically listed as an action thriller, but basically it’s a monster movie. Instead of the living creature bent on killing for no understandable we usually see in monster movies, the monster here is a truck – an old rusty beat up oil tanker that chases an ordinary man named David Mann (Dennis Weaver) for no reason but road rage because Mann passed. We see the truck’s headlights in rearview mirrors looking like a monster’s eyes as it tailgates Mann’s red Plymouth Valiant and tries to ram him and run him off the road. It blocks the road, it slows down in front of him swerving, so he can’t pass, and when he tries to fall far behind it, the truck sits and waits for him. We don’t ever see much of the man driving the truck. He’s not important. The truck is the monster. There’s a theme of lost masculinity that runs through the movie, but mostly it’s just a monster truck chasing an ordinary guy for no good reason.
After the truck chases him for what seems like hours, Mann pulls into a small gas station to call the police. We see a sign over the gas pumps that says “Sally’s Snakerama Station.” On the other side of the sign it says “See the giant 8 foot rattlesnake.” The budget was very low for this movie, so it’s possible they used a real roadside attraction, but it would have been so cheap to make the signs and get a few cages and snakes that I suspect it was all built for the movie… read more and view the gallery >