The Real Star of This Horror Flick Is a Vintage Mercedes

Saferoom, escape vehicle, self-defense weapon. An old W116 is the perfect prop.

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For a certain kind of person, a highlight of The Exorcist is the 1972 Mercedes 280SE 4.5. It appears at the end of the movie, transporting a freshly-exorcised, delightfully demon-free Regan, out of Washington, D.C. After a rollicking two hours of head-spinning, priest-killing and pea soup, that elegant sedan was a nice bit of relief, a chariot away from it all. Sure, the MacNeils had a rough few months, but nothing soothes the (recently cleansed) soul like long journey in an S-Class.

Is the the gorgeous, green Mercedes 280SE in Arrêt Pipi, a short Belgium horror film, an allusion to that car? Maybe. Or perhaps the filmmakers decided that for a protagonist seeking shelter, escape and a weapon of self-defense, a car nicknamed der Panzerwagen was the perfect prop. It’s a scene stealer, even in scenes with a disfigured Wallonian murderer brandishing a knife.

Arrêt Pipi, or “Rest Stop,” begins like so many horror movies. Sarah and Bram are sweet, charming, inoffensive. They’re on a trip in their vintage Benz, whose pristine dark olive paint shines with a wetness that foretells of a similar, redder slick. They stop at a gas station way out in the country. The proprietor? An old woman with thin hair and blank eyes. It’s a little bit of Psycho, plus The Shining’s eery, “perpetual caretaker” vibe. Excellent. Creepy.

Because this plot is typical, let’s spoil it: The couple does not fare well. Working a man down, Sarah runs from the toilet and to her Mercedes. The vacuum-activated locks open slowly. Tense. Sarah gets in, slamming the door with that classic Mercedes slam. The car starts immediately. Sarah rams a murderer. Is the faultless operation of her vintage car enough to get Sarah to safety? You’ll have to watch and see. Still, no matter the ultimate number of casualties, that flawless W116 stays right in the middle of the frame: The star.

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