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We’ve all be victims of road rage, right? That’s what makes “Duel” so scary. It could happen. That is if you’re driving on mostly deserted desert roads.

Steven Spielberg directed our No. 30 spot in 1971. It was a simple movie. One red Plymouth Valiant. One sinister-looking tractor trailer. And Dennis Weaver. Weaver plays David Mann, a businessman on his way to meet a client. David decides to pass a slow-moving truck. The apparently crazy (and bored) truck driver doesn’t like that very much because he spends the rest of the movie chasing David along the empty roads and trying to kill him.

Talk about having a bad day.

The genius in the film is you never see the truck driver. And we never know his motivation. All we know is he must be crazy. And that’s scary. And most of the time it seems like the truck has a mind of its own. And maybe it does. Your mind can take the truth behind all this anywhere it wants because it’s never officially revealed to us.

A good horror movie doesn’t always need a slasher or a monster. As long as it take our fears to somewhere we can relate. “Duel” does that. And there’s a lesson. Just because you’re in your car, you’re not invincible. Stop flipping people off and screaming. And I can still see you picking your nose, idiot.

“Duel” 1971

Memorable quote: “Come on you miserable fat-head, get that fat-ass truck outta my way!” (Ok, so it wasn’t the best-written movie)

Best scene: There’s a point when David has the upper hand. He’s found an incline and  a large truck obviously won’t be able to climb it easily. So David manages to lose sight of the truck. He’s getting cocky even. But then, like old Plymouths do, his car overheats. He’s now creeping up the hill and the truck is catching up. His fears return. See clip below

Did you know? During the chase, a parked sedan is seen. It turns out to be a service car for a pest exterminator named Grebleips, “Spielberg” in reverse.

Check out No. 31, “Creepshow” and the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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