From the cover of "Phantom Racer," you might think you were getting a "Ghost Rider" rip-off, only with a stock car vs. a motorcycle. Truth is, this flick recalls John Carpenter's "Christine" crossed with Steven Spielberg's "Duel," more than anything.

Nearly two decades ago, a racing accident claimed the life of Cutter McCullough (Adam Battrick), whose face was burned to resemble a plate of bacon in the crash. In the present day, his ghost inhabits his old car "? it's the red one marked "66" on the side, which is one digit away from an obvious pun "? and uses it to mow down anyone who gets in his way.

From what, you ask? From exacting his revenge on rival driver J.J. Sawyer (Greg Evigan), whom Cutter wrongly faults for his demise. Cutter's car chases the trucker all over town, and J.J. enlists the help of the girlfriend (Nicole Eggert, looking like life has really beat her down) and daughter (Brenna O'Brien) he left behind.

There's only one reason to watch a movie like "Phantom Racer": to see the car do bad things to people. In that department, a B-model vehicle like this delivers. Ol' 66 munches on one young man's arms, and then entire torso, while another guy gets seat-belted in to the point of suffocation. Other poor souls are simply fishtailed and sent flying, but getting it the worst is the guy whose face is torn off by errant windshield wipers. You certainly didn't see this much gore when it aired on Syfy last year.

For a mindless horror thriller, you could do a lot worse, and probably have. Rent it on a weekend when you're in the mood for some cheesy carmageddon. Note, however, that with nothing in the way of extras, the disc is far from tricked-out. "?Rod Lott

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