Unsung Heroes of Cinema: “The Classic”
This week’s Unsung Hero of Cinema isn’t an actor. It isn’t a puppeteer or a film studio logo model either. Hell, it’s not even a person.
It’s “The Classic” (or 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale to be exact).
If you’re a fan of director, Sam Raimi, you’ll have definitely seen this car before because it’s appeared in pretty much all of his films to date.
“The Classic” (so dubbed by Raimi) was used in a lot of his early Super-8mm films, but its first big-screen appearance was in one of my favourite horror movies of all time, The Evil Dead (1981).
Yep, it’s the car that took Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), his sister and their three friends to that isolated cabin in the woods where they would unwittingly awaken an ancient evil that would claim each of them.
Over the years it went on to appear in films such as Evil Dead II (1987), Darkman (1990), Army of Darkness (1992) where it gets converted into a Deadite killing machine, a great film that seems to have been forgotten called The Gift (2000) and Drag Me to Hell (2009).
Other than The Evil Dead movies, “The Classic’s” most famous appearance is undoubtedly in the original Spider-Man trilogy, most notably the first. It was Uncle Ben’s car and the car that the infamous line “with great power comes great responsibility” was first uttered. Unfortunately it’s also the car that cost poor Uncle Ben his life at the hands of an armed robber/car jacker.
“The Classic” even showed up in the Sharon Stone-lead western, The Quick and the Dead (1995) where it was reportedly covered over and made to look like a wagon. It later went on to “supposedly” feature in Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), although no one knows exactly where it is in the movie, just that it was used at some point…
For one movie, Sam even had the car, which no longer ran at the time shipped in so it could still be used. A number of “stunt cars” have been used in his films too in order to keep the Classic in one piece.
So what is Sam Raimi’s obsession with this car?
Well, Childhood friend, actor and regular collaborator Bruce Campbell seems to think he knows. He wrote in his 2001 autobiography (If Chins Could Kill! Confessions of a B Movie Actor), “I think he got laid for the first time in the Classic, that’s why it’s so important to him.”
It could go deeper than that though…
The car originally belonged to Raimi’s parents and his mom would regularly drop him and Campbell off at the theatre to watch movies when they were in high school. There’s obviously a lot of nostalgia and sentimental value there so maybe that’s all part of it.
Whatever his obsession with it, I love the fact that the same car has appeared in so many movies.
If it could write a book I’d definitely read it!
So there you go, next time you’re watching a Sam Raimi film, keep your eyes open for the yellow '73 Oldsmobile Delta. Who knows, it might just show up in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness….