Film (1975). New World. Produced by Roger Corman. Directed by Paul Bartel. Written by Robert Thom, Charles Griffith, based on a story by Ib Melchior: "The Racer" (October 1956 Escapade). Cast includes David Carradine, Simone Griffith, Louisa Moritz, Sylvester Stallone and Mary Woronov. 80 minutes. Colour.
In this low-budget black Satire about a car race across the USA in the year 2000, the winner is the driver who kills the most pedestrians. "Frankenstein" (Carradine) – who has supposedly been in so many crashes that most of his body has been replaced with artificial parts – is the nation's favourite driver, and surprises everyone at the end by running over the US President as a political gesture. The film's fast pace and lively ironies led many critics to judge it superior to Rollerball (1975), a much more expensive production about the use of brutal sports (see Games and Sports) as an opiate for the masses. A cult classic, Death Race 2000 has been much imitated.
A spectacular though less mordant remake based on the same story and screenplay is Death Race (2008). [JB/PN]
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