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In the 1986 film "The Wraith" starring Charlie Sheen, a ghostly race car comes back for revenge against the drag-racer gang that killed its driver. Each time one of the gang members dies, a metal brace on the driver's outfit can be seen on the ground right before it glows with a white light and then disappears.

Has anyone involved with the film commented on what these metal braces are?

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    Do you mean what the props are physically made of? You said "anyone involved with the production". I always assumed they were injury braces because Jamie/Jake was injured (though fatally). – Riker Jan 30 '17 at 4:41
  • @EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ - no, I mean within the context of the plot, what were they? As you said, were they braces that helped him move - and if so, why did they disappear/become unnecessary with each death? That sort of thing. – Omegacron Jan 30 '17 at 17:39
  • Not for helping move, afaik immobilizing things. Friend of mine had them because he broke like 4 ribs in a car crash. – Riker Jan 30 '17 at 18:05
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Basically they are symbolic of the Wraith's "disability" due to the murder he is avenging.

From an interview with writer/director Mike Marvin:

MD: There have been lengthy discussions on the Internet dedicated to the significance of the Wraith’s glowing leg braces that successively disappear. Would you care to clear that up for us?

MM: Yeah, sure. As the Wraith settles the score with the members of Packard’s gang and knocks them off one by one, he begins to get stronger and stronger. Then one more piece of what is supposed to be holding him together artificially begins to disappear. His crutches are then starting to vanish as he gets his satisfaction.

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There are a number of things never specifically stated in the movie:

  1. What is the Racer(Wraith) exactly?
  2. If he is someone come back from the dead, where did the futuristic car come from? Obviously he is Jamie come back from the dead, but the question still stands.
  3. What is the purpose of the suit that he wears.

This last weighs in on the items that disappear after each fatal crash. I always took the post-crash sequence to actually just be all of the parts of the Car and the Racer reconstituting. They show specific items disappearing to relate that the opponents car parts are left on the road, their car seemingly being destroyed without the help of the Wraith car to anyone that does not see the crash.

Note also that the Racer wears a black body suit that has a number of hoses and tubes running over it (but no leg or arm braces). Those items that we see disappearing after each race just go to show the viewer that the Car is not leaving any of itself behind. With a limited budget, I can imagine they were unable to have large portions of the car disappearing.

After a little more thought (and watching key parts of the film again) I also kind of wondered more about the suit. At the end of the film, the suit clad figure gets out of the car and then turns into Jake. He doesn't take it off really, so much as transforms from suit to human.

It seems that the suit clad figure is not human. Perhaps the items we see disappearing are not only parts of the suit but are additionally parts of whatever the suit contains? Unfortunately there is little that the movie tells us about this also.

A Science Fiction fueled beyond-death revenge story. That's what it is.

  • All we're left with is speculation, so I may end up accepting this answer. One thing, though - the "braces" that disappear can definitely be seen on the Wraith's arm & legs in earlier sequences. Maybe it's a way of counting off the gang members? – Omegacron Feb 7 '17 at 19:01
  • Do you have movie times for that? The only times that I recalled seeing the Suit in detail were during the scene where he attacks the garage with the shotgun, and when he gets out of the car at the end. Unfortunately I don't have the time to watch the whole movie at the moment. – CodeWarrior Feb 7 '17 at 21:06

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