I have been trying to get a copy of "Death Race 2000" for a couple of years now, and out of the blue it appears in my Netflix Que, and it happened at the same time that I got the latest issue of SCREEM with Greg Goodsell's Mary Woronov interview, and she's one of the stars of this film! It's like Fate I tell you!!
"Death Race 2000" is exactly what it says it is! It's just like going to Vegas and playing War, the simplest card game in the world, the biggest attraction of the future is like a game of Chicken, but with armed cars and extra points for hitting people in a crosswalk or a wheelchair etc! The killer-diller driving music in this insane flick was composed by the honoured Mr. Paul Chihara in his first film outing. Paul has won scores of musical awards and went on to write the music for such films and TV movies as "A Walk On The Moon," "Brave New World," and "Penn & Teller Get Killed!"
Instead of an actor, the announcer for the big event, Junior Bruce, is one of the most popular disc jockeys of all time, The Real Don Steele!! Don rocked L.A. hard for over 30 years, and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!!
It might be the future, but some things don't change, and every driver has their diehard fans, and in this movie they literally die hard!!
Commentators Joyce Jameson as Grace Pander and Carle Bensen as Harold get their first look at the driver "Frankenstein!"
Director/Actor Paul Bartel has a small part as Frankie's doctor! Besides directing "Eating Rauol," Paul Bartel left his mark on a whole lot of the best bad and worst good movies of the last 40 years; all-time classic cult faves like "Hollywood Boulevard," "Rock 'n' Roll High School," "Frankenweenie," and one of my all-time favorites, "Get Crazy!!"
Sandy McCallum plays the part of Mr. President, a man you can trust!!
Pretty cool looking future! Don't forget to bring your shades!
They call David (Kung Fu)Carradine's character Frankenstein, because he has been re-assembled a few times after various crashes and racing mishaps!!
It looks an awful lot like sunny California, and the future of the boondocks hasn't changed much in the last 35 years!
On the air, Harold explains the points system!!
Everything is hunky-dory and then, those silly freedom-fighting rebels who are opposed to the great race, take over the airwaves with Harriet Medin as Thomasina Paine, leading the charge!!
Great shot of "Frankenstein!"
Anyone want to disagree with me that Mary Woronov as Calamity Jane is hot in this movie? We haven't had a chance to talk about Mary much here, but she was an incredible classic beauty who came up through the Andy Warhol/Exploding Plastic Inevitable/Velvet Underground school of film making. She also starred in "Silent Night, Bloody Night" which we plan to get around to one of these days, and worked with Paul Bartel on some other films! She was in "House Of The Devil" last year, and still active today, although she'd rather be painting!
I love this part where the French rebels polish off one of the drivers "Wiley Coyote" style, with a mailorder Acme Detour and Fake Tunnel Entrance Kit!!
Here's another reason "Death Race 2000" is such a fan favorite, one of the drivers is Sylvester Stallone as maniac Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, another funny man from Chicago! Machine Gun Joe's character pre-dated "Rocky" by about a year!
Another brilliant scene is when Machine Gun Joe Viterbo takes out his own pit crew to get some extra points! This story was written by science fiction author Ib Melchior, who was also responsible for writing major titles like "Angry Red Planet," "Reptilicus," and "Journey To The 7th Planet" etc.
Never at a loss for words, The Real Don Steele still has something else to say! This is a very simple film, but there's too much to cover in this format, so you're just gonna have to go get yourself a copy. I do believe it has recently been released on Blu-Ray too! What are you waiting for?? There's something here for everybody!!