Death Race 2000

David Carradine and Simone Griffeth in Death Race 2000 (dir. Paul Bartel, 1975).

I remember the video game--one of the first ones--inspired by this. You got points for killing pedestrians, just like in the movie. Each time you hit one, there was a little scream, and a digital headstone rose up in its badly animated place. Think Pong with rudimentary arms and legs.

"Visionary" may be too strong a word to use for producer Roger Corman and director Paul Bartel, but there is some delicious, if very broad, satire here. In the America of the "future," a band of rebels led by one "Thomasina Paine" tries to put a stop to the murderous Transcontinental Road Race by setting up one of their own (Thomasina's granddaughter, played by Simone Griffeth) as the navigator for the race's number one star, "Frankenstein" (David Carradine). Other drivers include a young Sylvester Stallone and Mary Woronov of Warhol fame. As is always the case with these things, most of the ridiculously dystopian political prophecies of the story are now well-known fact. My favorite part is when the rebels start bumping off the drivers and the government orders the media to blame it on the French.

1 comment:

W.B. Keckler said...

OMG...this sounds (and looks by the still) brilliant. Paul B. directs and Mary his diva is in it? I'm so there! How did I miss this? I just hope it's not better than Eating Raoul...there should be a revolution and someone should place Paul Bartel in charge of Hollywood, the Entity...at least for a year...your word verification wants met to type a VERY dirty word btw..bjhydjq...everyone knows what that means in a Moroccan alley...Burroughs and Ginsberg were known to utter it quite a bit as a request...