Monday, October 18, 2010

Fluorescerama: Race With The Devil (1975)

Satanists: something new for stoners to be paranoid about.

In the 1975 (oc)cult classic, Race With The Devil, Peter Fonda dusts off his persona of expressionless counter cultural type who takes to the open road. This time around he has three hapless companions, his friend and their wives (one is Loretta Swit!), who plan to go camping in their RV trailer. Things start to go awry when Fonda and his pal witness what, at first glance, appears to be an innocent drunken orgy but quickly turns sinister when they're spotted just after the crowd starts in on the human sacrifice.

Unfortunately, from that point on, they pick up something even worse than Jack Nicholson: every single Satanist in Texas. And, believe me, there's a lot more than you'd expect. The towns seem overrun with them, and they have some kind of a communication system that puts the internet to shame. Faster than you can say 'text message,' crooked mechanics, sheriffs, and librarians track their every move and seem to be tipping off a mobile mob of Satanists hellbent on snuffing out the outsiders before they find someone who doesn't have sympathy for the devil. However, time is on the side of Satan because, apparently, that hypothetical person is well outside state lines, and Texas is very large indeed. My favorite part of this cheesy chiller is when the two airhead wives take a demonic text out of the library to try to get some answers!

This movie poses the question: can four mellow hippies in an equally sluggish RV outrun the Satanists who are out for their blood? What's incredible is that the Satanists display an admirable work ethic as they attempt to catch up to the gang. Like, be cool, man, I won't give away the conclusion to this blazing suspense story, but if you're a fan of trashy b-movies, this one will have you on the edge of your bean bag chair (or, well, propped up uncomfortably). Race With The Devil is a great lesser-known addition to your Halloween scare-a-thon!

original theatrical trailer
at IMDb
at Wikipedia

(Incidentally, after having a sort of mid-life crisis, Jarvis Cocker of the greatest Britpop band, Pulp, completely styled himself after Peter Fonda. They're practically identical, and that in itself is chilling.)

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