cult movies I have loved: Death Race 2000
There seems to be very little middle-ground in the range of opinion on this campy sci-fi comedy from 1975. You either love it or you hate it.
Which camp you fall into seems to be based upon your tolerance of crap in your choice of entertainment. Am I saying this movie is crap? Not by a long shot. But if you are the kind of person who balks at cheesy dialog, low-grade special effects, and low-budget production values then this movie may not be your cup of tea.
If you are like me that stuff doesn’t bother you in the least so long as the story is interesting and entertaining.
In the future (which is now several years in the past) America’s favorite passtime has become a cross-country road race where the drivers score points by running over and killing as many people along the way as they can. The premise is still fresh thanks to the eerie way the story manages to pre-sage the modern day popularity of Reality TV. There is a brain underneath all the goofiness, but the movie wisely avoids taking itself too seriously and never bogs down or gets preachy.
Some of my favorite touches are the way The President addresses the people of the United States from a disembodied voice flowing forth from a flaming glowing orb at the top of a staircase on a pyramid. An underground movement that tries to sabotage the race is constantly referred to in the press as the work of the “treacherous French” who it seems have become our national enemy. Little flourishes like this keep the movie from being just a cheap blood and guts knock-off.
There is a subtext here involving propaganda and fascism, but again the movie avoids getting too dark and instead leans toward comedy to ease the message.
This movie is a classic.
If you enjoyed this entry of Cult Movies I Have Loved then check out these other installments in the series:
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