ROGER CORMAN's DYSTOPIAN-FUTURE-ON-WHEELS TWOFER:Paul Bartel's DEATH RACE 2000 (1975, 79 min.) on ConTV.Having just rewatched it, the original "hit pedestrians for points" futuristic car racing flick (aka "Twisted Metal" before "Twisted Metal") remains a cheese-covered ice cream bowl of fun. Despite the undercranking of the camera to make the heavily modified sports vehicles seem like they're going fast and a couple of hurting matte paintings at the start (which have their charm), "Death Race 2000" gives the racing action as much importance as the characters and the dystopian world they live in. Every "DR" sequel/follow-up tilts more toward the over-the-top characters and the dystopian world. In "DR 2000" the focus keeps coming back to the racing standings, the quest for points by hitting civilians (which the story uses to build some character development for David Carradine's Frankestein without coming across as sentimental) and the obstacles to overcome. From about-to-become-a-star Sylvester Stallone hamming it up as a cartoony villain, David Carradine stripping to his undies (twice) and sexy women (including future "Eating Raoul" co-star with Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov) having topless arguments in the middle of nude massage pitstops, you can't say Roger Corman doesn't know how to be an equal opportunity exploiter. At only 79 minutes it's a tight, mean, lean and bloody car flick that stands the test of time if you don't take it as seriously as its sequels-in-name-only. Since those are real stunt drivers driving real cars a few feet away from real explosions in a movie made for under $500K (in '75 dollars), it's safe to say they don't make movies like "DR 2000" any more. Highly recommended.DEATH RACE 2050 (2017, 90 min.) on Netflix Instant.Forty-two years after "DR 2000," 91-year old Roger Corman and a new batch of young and hungry (aka cheap) filmmakers released a sequel that (a) ignores all the "Death Race" movies in-between and (b) feels more like a beat-by-beat remake/reboot than a follow-up. Since he's now a not-too-subtle version of Donald Trump, the role of M̶r̶.̶ ̶P̶r̶e̶s̶i̶d̶e̶n̶t̶ Chairman of The United Corporations of America (a sweary Malcolm McDowell) has been expanded. Frankenstein (Manu Bennett, the discount store Gerard Butler) is still the top dog to beat, and his female co-driver (Marci Miller) is yet again the granddaughter of a direct descendant of an original American revolutionary (Yancy Butler's Alexis Hamilton) trying to sabotage the race. A KITT-like sentient car built by a horny scientist (Helen Loris), a religious fundamentalist (Anessa ""Math is for heathens, and nerds!" Ramsey), a hip-hop performer (Folake Olowofoyeku) and genetically-engineered vain racer Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead) round out the competitors.For a direct-to-video movie "Death Race 2050" looks cheaper and clunkier than your typical SyFy original and/or Asylum release, probably because there is minimal on-location racing footage. The abuse of cheap digital effects, green screen and stock footage (SHUTTERSTOCK-SPLOITATION! No, seriously, Shutterstock.com gets a shoutout in the closing credits) to go along with old-school film tricks (the camera undercranking is back) make this flick look/feel more dated than the original. There are little moments that show sparkles of creativity (the new names for old USA regions, Frankenstein fighting ninjas in a cornfield, two women having a man-free discussion at "Bechdel Bar," etc.), but between the recycling of the original's story beats and the across-the-board bad acting "DR 2050" is a snooze. Even the car stunts and racing bits are boring and unimpressive, a cardinal sin for this type of genre flick. Shame. :-(
Death Car on the Freeway (1979, dir. Hal Needham)Between hit movies, Hal Needham directed this TV thriller about a mysterious van driver who terrorizes female drivers on the L.A. freeway, and a plucky TV reporter trying to solve the case.The story's nothing to write home about, even though the conclusion is both stupid and awesome. As you'd expect from Needham, the car stunts are really great, just too infrequent. And the cast is pretty impressive too: Shelley Hack, Frank Gorshin, Peter Graves, George Hamilton, Harriet Nelson, Dinah Shore, Sid Haig, Abe Vigoda...Found this on a YouTube channel that focuses on TV movies from the 70's to the 90's, and in pretty good quality too. Some other interesting looking stuff there as well, will have to remember that one.
Race with the Devil (1975, dir. Jack Starrett)If you don’t know the premise, two old friends (Peter Fonda and Warren Oats) and their wives go on an RV road trip and accidentally witness a satanic cult perform a deadly ritual. When the cult sees them spying, our heroes are pursued by them in some AMAZING car chases! So it’s basically a perfect premise.This was just pulp perfection. I could not believe how this film maintains such intensity for the entire runtime. I found every second completely entertaining and there were even parts I thought were legitimately scary. It was the paranoia of driving through rural America completely realized and cranked up to 11. Hell, I was amazed the entire flick had finished by the time it was over! It absolutely flew by. I loved it!
All that, and it's 'PG' to boot. :-)Great flick. It was my first Junesploitation! review on the first day of the first year Patrick started it. Time sure flies. :'(
And I can think of another scary, intense PG film from the very same year... ;)
Hmm, you mean the one that rhymes with "Claws"? :-D
The Car (1977 - dir Elliot Silverstein)This had everything I could want from a Killer Car Movie. Except a cool shot driving down the street while on fire, but that's okay I have Christine for that. I liked the depiction of the close-knit town, James Brolin is a solid lead (and has a sloild handle bar mostache) and the action is fun and gripping. Especially one scene that raises the stacks considerably.
The Cars that Ate Paris (1974 - dir Peter Weir)I think this was Peter Weir's first theatrical feature. The inhabitants of Paris, New South Wales are causing car accidents of passing motorists. This is a great creepy town movie. It would pair really well with Dead and Buried, it's different enough with different themes, but these are not towns you want to be stuck in. I'm pretty sure this the start of Australia's crazy looking car faze, these characters and thier cars could just cross the road to Mad Max and no one would bat an eye lid. There is a really sly dark humour in this movie, like how characters wear a different assortment of hood orniments on their jackets from accidents they have caused. It is a smart movie, that has a few different things going on. Did I mention how creepy the town was?
Watched this one for last years Junesploitation, I loved it. It just gets weirder and weirder and the payoff is pretty great. Definitely an awesome pick for today.
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974, dir. H.B. Halicki, First Time Viewing on Amazon Prime) As a car chase connoisseur, I can't believe it took me so long to watch this movie. The 2nd half of the movie is an extended car chase that reaches Road Warrior levels of automotive mayhem, it is amazing. Note: The version on Amazon Prime has a "remastered" score from 2000 (due to rights issues) that is so terrible, out of place, and poorly mixed it ruined the movie for me. DO NOT WATCH THIS VERSION.
I have the blu-ray, and when i first saw this the first time, about 2 years ago, it was like i was discovering life. Ok, not that much, but it's the best cas chase ever in movies. Nothing else in terms of storytelling, but damn fun
Matt, unless you dig into VHS or old prints the version with the crap new songs is the only way to readily watch the original "GI60S." It's terrible music, but unlike you it doesn't completely ruin the movie for me. If you want to see more H.B. Halicki madness, check out this early 80's bad boy. :-)
Oh that sounds awesome! Thanks for the tip, I have added it to the list.
Me too thanks!
Pit Stop (1969, dir. Jack Hill)A street racer gets involved with "Figure Eight" racing and hungers to climb the ladder in the racing world no matter the cost. Not one of Hill's best but still enjoyable for the racing and Sid Haig.
Yeah, Sid really makes the movie. He's so great in it.
this is on my list of potential watch tonight, when i get home. i'm limited in my time, so it probably won't make the cut since i already saw it
A couple Car movies with Satanic cults:Race With the Devil (1975)Suitably creepy and the big action scenes towards the end are really well done. I agree with pretty much everything Daniel Epler said up above.Drive Angry (2011)More watchable than many of Nicholas Cage's bad movies, this one has him coming back from the dead (having escaped Hell prior to the start of the movie) to stop the Satanic cult who killed his daughter and are going to sacrifice his granddaughter to bring Hell on Earth. William Fichtner is in there as an agent of Hell, and Amber Heard acts as Cage's sidekick. It's not a hidden gem or anything but it was better than I was expecting.
Is it me or is the Mayhem character from the Allstate TV commercials a wholesale ripoff of Fichtner's Accountant?
I think the Mayhem character slightly predates Drive Angry, but one could argue that Dean Winters is a William Fichtner ripoff.
The Gladiator (1986, dir. Abel Ferrara)Made-for-TV movie where Ken Wahl's brother (Brian Robbins) is killed in an auto accident deliberately caused by a mysterious black car that's been killing people, so Wahl soups up his truck with weapons and gadgets, calls it The Gladiator, and roams the streets at night looking to take down drunk drivers. Why drunk drivers, I'm not totally sure, since his brother was killed on purpose and not as a result of drunk driving, but whatever. The cast also includes Robert Culp as a cop, Nancy Allen as the radio host reporting on the vigilante, and Stan Shaw as Wahl's friend. It's a good cast. How this movie is directed by Abel Ferrara, I will never understand because you would never, ever know by watching it. I like the cast, but the pacing and the watered-down TV-movie nature of the approach makes it way less fun than it ought to be.
70's and 80's made-for-TV movies are a mostly untapped gold mine of potential Junesploitation! goodness. Glad you found this one even if it didn't live up to its director/cast potential. But hey, this folks' rent was due and they needed work. Work is work, and back then network TV paid good coin.
Blood Car (2007)Gas prices have reached an all time high. People quit driving because it's too expensive. Elementary School teacher tries to figure out a way to drive on wheat grass. Instead, finds a way for a car to drive on blood. This is an extremely silly movie but also very dark. The ending is truly upsetting. I did laugh a few times but the ending was too much. It's been a long decade because 11 years seems like a lifetime ago.
I watched this a few Junesploitations back and I 100% agree with your assessment.
I remember seeing this about a decade ago, pretty put there. Didn't quite live up to what I was hoping for. Might try to revisit it one.
Death Race 2050 (2017) Dir: G. J. EchternkampOy. This one gave me a headache. I can understand why some people would enjoy it but for me it was just trying too hard to be cult. Everything was dialed to 11 but not in any organic way. And it definitely lacks the satire of Paul Bartel's orginal, or even the Jason Statham remake. I always enjoy Manu Bennett though, so it at least had that. Apologies to anyone who enjoys it, but this was my first real miss of the month.
Car Wash (1976)Trying to get back in the #junesploitation saddle with an old fave. Seen it a bunch of times, but my takeaway today is that Franklyn Ajaye is the man. He's a hilarious standout in an ensemble full of cool, funny performances. I was also struck with how fun it is that the actors will occasionally sing along to music playing on the soundtrack. It's used for comedic and dramatic effect and it is really great. I'll get to some more new-to
REDLINE (1995) A car thief steals from a powerful mobster and ends up on the run. Actor Chad McQueen also produced, creating a star vehicle (heh) for himself. Sad to say he’s real block of wood, outshone by a supporting cast of cult faves like Michael Madsen, Robert Z’Dar, Chuck Zito, Julie Strain, and even Dom DeLuise. Both the crime plot and the car action are middle of the road (heh) generic. REDLINE (2007) A sexy lady mechanic and a just-home-from-Iraq soldier get caught up in illegal street racing. It’s not as fast and a lot less furious. The behind the scenes stories from this one involve a lot of shady-sounding loans and mortgage scams to get financing, as well as real-life car crashes during publicity events, all of which sound like a more compelling movie than what’s actually on screen. REDLINE (2009) Gladiatorial life-or-death car racing in the distant future. The plot lost me real quick, but it’s not about the plot. It’s about the hyper tone and the over-the-top anime style, both of which are in abundance. This is a good one for folks who wanted the Speed Racer movie to be more edgy sci-fi car action, and less family wholesomeness.
what are you trying to pull here? you're trying to confuse us? the first movie is Red Line, 2 words.also, you're a crazy person :)
At least the $30 million budget shows in Takeshi Koike's "Redline", but damn, it's so over the top it makes both "Speed Racer '08" and the pod race sequence in "Star wars Episode I" feel subtle by comparison.
A buddy of mine suggeated the anime Redline for a movie day. I groaned because it wasn't a movie I was particularly interested in checking out, but ultimately just decided to give it a go. It ended up being one of my favorite movies I've watched with that particular friend. There's a Kaiju named Funky Boy, what more do you want?
Viva Las Vegas (1964)Elvis Presley stars as awesomely-named race car driver Lucky Jackson, determined to make some money in Vegas to buy an engine for his car so he can win the big race (of course there’s a big race) and, more importantly, sweep the lovely Ann-Margaret off her feet. It’s not a movie so much as it is a lighter-than-chiffon showcase for the charms of Elvis and Ann-Margaret. That’s not a complaint, sometimes a movie like this is exactly what the doctor ordered. A fun, light, candy-colored view of Vegas, complete with a surprisingly fun, heavily blue-screened climactic car race against Cesare Danova’s snobby Italian count. Also, you don’t need me to tell you this but the title song is still a bucket full of awesome after all these years.
Great pick. For all the musical numbers and sexy chemistry between the stars (is there any doubt Elvis and Ann-Margret were an item? :-P), I always forget the whole thing ends on a big car race through the strip that are now covered with casinos and attractions.
Probably the best soundtrack of any Elvis movie, and Ann Margaret steals the whole thing. Her level of sex appeal is not of this planet.
She really does!
Christine (1983)Carpenter and King, 2 icons of the horror genre give this simple premise a real jolt. The tension builds at a perfect pace as we see school geek Arnie turn manic over his car Christine which has possessed him to the point of the car being his only true love that he will do anything for. Even 35 years later this still looks and sounds fantastic.
The Car (1977)As far as possessed/evil unstoppable killing cars go this is one of the greats. To steal a line from the movie it has been "farting music for years". Also, that final splosion really sticks the landing as far as I'm concerned.
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)More like ADR FOR 6300 SECONDS, amIright? Sigh. I should've watched WHEELMAN again instead.
I'm being unfair. That last car chase is bonkers.
It's all about the chase
So what if the ADR is shit and the music is crap? It's all about "Eleanor" outrunning cops for 45 straight minutes, man. You dig?
i bought the blu-ray on amazon.com a while ago. from the amazon market, to be exact. they wouldn't ship to canada, as Market's seller often do, so i had to go through a proxy shipping service. a couple of weeks after shipping, i finally receive it. the package seem a little big for a blu-ray. upon opening the package i realize i bought the disc directly from the owner of the movie rights (Halicki's wife i think) and they added a couple of dvds of other Halicki's movies in the package. not the greatest movie, some interesting parts, but full of interesting extras. so for 15$ plus shipping, i got 1 blu-ray and 2 dvds that i would've paid way more for them.the blu-ray is still available from Halicki, and is available cheaper from other market sellers. i strongly suggest it
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)I don't remember who I was chatting with on here about Warren Oates, but God bless Warren Oates. He was at his sleazy best here as an in over his head bullshitting car racer. Never really got caught up in what little plot there was, just enjoy watching hitch hikers roll their eyes when they realize they should have waited for another ride.
What I like about GTO is how vulnerable he is and how he uses his bravado to hide his insecurity. Warren Oates could play a badass in his sleep, but by portraying someone so clearly not the much-cooler person he presents himself to the world as Warren shows what a great actor he is. BTW, I forgot Harry Dean Stanton is in this for a hot minute and has an uncomfortable and funny-as-hell scene with Warren inside his car on a rainy night. RIP HDS and W"GTO"O. :'(
I didn't even realize it was HDS until the credits rolled. Very uncomfortable scene. Although hardly the most uncomfortable I've been this month.
The Road Warrior (1981) Dir. George MillerI just wish someone would let George Miller make Mad Max movies until the end of time.
Is.... is that heaven?
Death Race 2000 (1975)One of the most junesploitation movies I have ever seen.
I was going to try to watch something new and interesting today, but then I looked on my shelf and saw Mad Max Fury Road.Mad Max Fury Road (2017) is quite literally the best movie. I doubt there is anything new I can say about it. Maybe I should watch it again ...
I hate to apply best ever titles to recent films, but I think this is the greatest action film ever made. I went into the theater completely uninterested in a new Mad Max and hady arms raised in appreciation at the conclusion.
THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS:man, 3 straight days of italian stuff, thank god for Beach Day tomorrow. not exactly a car movie, but there's a few cars all over the box art, so here we are. sergio martino was mentionned yesterday, in the western thread, as an underrated director and this movie certainly help the case. on imdb, someone mentionned that this is the italian Dirty Harry, and i agree. gunfights, car chases, what's not to love. it's kinda slow between action scenes, but it remains a very cool movie. the pace eventually picks up around the mid point. fun fact, there's a couple of shots that were re-used for the car chase in Almost Human (Umberto Lenzi, 1974), which i actually watched earlier last saturday during Italian Horror day, thinking it was horror (it's not, though horrific stuff is done). the blu-ray from Code Red looks good, no extras though.
The Cannonball Run (1981)Disappointed to say that I didn't really like this movie at all. It seems that the people who like it were the people who grew up with it. I just found the movie to be so stupid that most of the gags just didn't work.Some of the characters were annoying, mostly Dom DeLuise and a lot of the other members of the cast are just on auto pilot. Most of the race sequences aren't very thrilling by today's standards.
Viva Las Vegas (1964, dir. George Sidney)I was going to watch something new, but JP made me think about how much I wanted to rewatch this one. It's much a fun, breezy summer movie. I love how it's such a beautiful, colorful spectacle and such a 1960's time capsule. Despite the fact that I grew up with an Elvis-obsessed father, I'm not super interested in him as a leading man, but Anne Margret makes him better by her presence. She's so cool, charismatic and sexy and completely makes the movie for me.Also, that ending car race is bonkers and awesome. So many people die in epic car crash stunts in this fun little movie! It's nuts!
Repo Man (1984)Many movies forcefully attempt to include themselves into the realm of cinema “cool” and few to none achieve that feat. It’s not something one attempts to do, but rather a place one finds themselves rather on accident. This movie is the epitome of that idea. There is a distinct point of view, voice, flavor, and sound encapsulated in this amazing piece of cinema. It’s a wonderful mess of rough edges, clever editing, punk culture, L.A., Harry Dean Motherfuckin Stanton, radioactive Malibus, old-timer character actors waxing poetic, surf punk tunes, generic branded consumables that pre-date the Reagan-era Skull-ppies from ‘They Live’, and the list goes on. You see yourself in Emilio’s character Otto, and you also get pulled into the culture, ways, and code of the Repos. This film’s not exactly about “cars” per se, which kinda makes me feel like this one is a cheat, but it’s about American culture with the automobile and our rebellious and individualistic beliefs at the center. One of my all-time favorites.
Dead End (2003)Cool little horror, mystery, thriller. A father takes his family on a shortcut and ends up on a secluded, forested highway. Weird things ensue. Comedic at times with some truly creepy moments, the director makes the most of the small budget and single location. Streaming on Shudder!
Nice pick! One of my favourite movies. It’s just such a neat little story. It’s not complex, but every detail matters. The contained setting and mysterious premise makes it so you’re in it from the beginning, and the intrigue just keeps racking up as you spend time with the characters.I remember one summer night in high school, a group of friends and I were killing time driving around aimlessly, and we ended up on a seemingly endless dirt road with forest on either side of us. I had seen the movie a few times at that point, so I took my time telling them the entire plot of the film as if it were a campfire tale. How captivated and creeped out they were for that hour really showed me how strong the foundation of the film is. Throw in Ray Wise, Christmas eve, and a dark sky and it becomes a classic, for me.
White Lightning 1973As the sun sets on a Saxon Summer, so rises the Burt. An early, 'stacheless performace that's probably as much Hicksploitation, you get some shirtless Burt doing what Burt does best: driving, womanizing, lazily trotting out of a country jail. So, when they said "now I know why they call you 'Gator'," what exactly was she refering to? Holding his breath underwater?
Repo Man (1984) Dir. Alex CoxI liked it, but I wish I saw this when I was 15.
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, dir. John Hough)Only in the '70s could you cast a star like Peter Fonda as your leading man and have him play such a dick.This one has some absolutely incredible car chases and stunts, but suffers from really unlikable lead characters. It wasn't until the way we see Adam Roarke's character changes towards the end that some humanity got injected in this thing. It was tough for me watching Larry treat Mary like garbage for the whole film. Still, what would have been an ok and forgettable car chase movie is highly elevated by a bonkers crazy ending that I am not likely to forget!
It was the era of the anti-hero, even for B-movies like Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. I do love that ending, too.
The Italian Job (1969) I went with the classic, this movie is just awesome. Quirky and fun. The British nationalism is just nothing you’ll find today (probably a good thing) but it’s absolutely hilarious. The crime boss not wanting to steal from Britain because he’s concerned about the economy is so funny. Plus the Quincy Jones score, and the car chase is just absolutely amazing. Love it.
Death Proof (theatrical 2007)I watch this a couple times a year. I don't really care if it's Tarantino's masterpiece, but I like watching it and Hateful Eight more than any of his other movies lately. Patrick's piece today deepened my admiration for it a bit.
Drive (2011)I was going to rewatch Vanishing Point or Two Lane but decided today would be the perfect day to finally watch Drive. All i have to say is holy fuckin shit was this one great movie. All it was missing from being an 80's classic, aside from being released in 2011, was a substantial on set budget for coke!
Maximum Overdrive (1986, dir. King)First time watch. Have I been reading Stephen King books wrong? Is this the tone they’re supposed to have? I guess I was just imagining the heart and character depth that anchors even his silliest stories.This is a movie without inhibtions. King didn’t know how to do a lot of things, but people also didn’t know how to tell him no, so it makes for this insane, brazen piece of testosterone that is all payoff and no set-up and is a hell of a good time. It’s the cinematic equivalent of one of those skull shirts you can get at Wal-Mart. It’s terribly out of style — hell, was never in style — but I can’t help but feel there’s something endearingly charming about it.
Duel (1971)Spielberg’s debut as a director. Boy what a debut Its intense from the 10-minute mark, and never let’s go. I know it’s a wild cliché but you sitting on the edge of you seat from then on and to the end. I love how the theme of not being in control is conveyed in a lot of different ways. Like the Radio in the start talking of the man, who doesn’t see himself at a boss in his own. The framing of the shots. I especially love the one in the laundromat. It’s so beautiful. Its great suspenseful movie that’ll make my commute the next week a bit more intense.
The Car (1977):That end explosion, tho.
Death Proof (2007)I had to finish it up today but I'm countin it!It was good to watch it with Patrick's recent article in mind, and though I was disappointed again in the dialogue/delivery in a lot of the dialogue - a lot of it did feel like a pale imitation of Tarantino - the last 20 minutes or so are just the fucking best and make the whole thing worthwhile.
Christine (1983) ... just became my second favorite Carpenter film
Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman (2015) Maybe not entirely fitting the exploitation brief, but this documentary really struck a chord. A must see for any Newman fan as it lovingly highlights the lesser known part of his life (at least to film fans) as a passionate race care driver. I'm not sure, in these cynical modern times whether Newman was every bit the humble, stoic, caring, compassionate, immensely talented (maybe that isn't in question) person this paints him to be or whether it is exaggerated, but, I for one am prepared to accept it.