Death Race 2000 (1975)

deathrace2000poster02Starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sylvester Stallone, Mary Woronov, Roberta Collins, Martin Kove, Louisa Moritz, Don Steele, Joyce Jameson, Carle Bensen, Sandy McCallum

Directed by Paul Bartel

Expectations: High. It’s one of the most famous low-budget movies of the ’70s! Of course I’m excited!

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Do you have a buxom beauty of a navigator sitting by your side as you read this review? No? Well, then you’re doing it wrong! That’s the only way to successfully make your way through the Annual Transcontinental Death Race! Death Race 2000 is a movie that defies all expectations and delivers pretty much non-stop fun throughout. There are moments here and there that don’t hold up as well as they would’ve nearly 40 years ago, but that’s OK; Death Race 2000 more than makes up for it with heaped-on excess and wonderful satire.

Death Race 2000 doesn’t really concern itself with setting up the world, and we’re dropped right into the race’s opening ceremonies as the film opens. We’re introduced to all the crazy drivers and their wacky cars, and instantly I realized that this was not the dystopian version of the future I had expected, where American spectators rallied around a show that glorified vehicular violence. Instead, Death Race 2000 is a dystopian version of the future by way of Wacky Races, where American spectators rally around a show that glorifies vehicular violence. It’s a fine line, but it makes a world of difference.

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Night of the Comet (1984)

Starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, Sharon Farrell, Mary Woronov, Geoffrey Lewis, Peter Fox, John Achorn, Michael Bowen, Devon Ericson, Lissa Layng

Directed by Thom Eberhardt

Expectations: Very high. Been looking forward to this for a while.


As my significant other said after it was over, “What a weird movie.” Not weird in a derogatory way, though, just weird in a multi-genre way. For me, these tonal shifts hold the film back from being truly great, but it’s not hard to see why this film is so well-revered by a fervent cult of fans. It truly has a bit of everything thrown in for good measure, from zombies to ’80s “Trying on clothes” dance montages. There’s a little something for everyone here, and it’s a film that should please many. Just know going in that it’s fairly low-budget and in the B-movie zone, not that those should detract or be considered negatives, they are just useful for properly setting those expectations.

Our hero Regina is an usher at the local theater on the night of the comet. Virtually everyone else seems to have party plans to hang out and watch the comet’s pass, but Regina is stuck working the theater’s midnight special comet show and decides to stay with the projectionist for some indoor fireworks. Turns out this was the right place to be because when she wakes up and ventures outside, everyone else is nothing more than red dust and a pile of clothes. Except for the zombie that just grabbed her beau!

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TerrorVision (1986)

Starring Chad Allen, Diane Franklin, Mary Woronov, Gerrit Graham, Bert Remsen, Jon Gries, Jennifer Richards, Alejandro Rey, Randi Brooks, Frank Welker

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


If you’re looking for a serious injection of the 1980s into your life, then look no further than this morally questionable little film, Terrorvision. Everything in this movie is dripping with the kind of Velveeta that only the 1980s could produce. The thing is, this only goes so far and unfortunately it ends up working against itself. After the initial laughs have passed, it all gets really tiring because at the heart of the matter, this really would have worked a lot better as a short.

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