For old friends Roger (Peter Fonda) and Frank (Warren Oates) and their wives (Lara Parker of Dark Shadows and Loretta Swit of M*A*S*H), it was supposed to be "the best damn vacation they ever had." But their RV road trip takes a deadly detour at a secluded campsite when they accidentally witness a Satanic orgy and brutal human sacrifice. Now horror hits the highway as the couples are chased by blood-crazed cultists through some of the most intense crash-and-burn mayhem of the decade and into one of the greatest twist endings in drive-in history.
a very fun flick
I saw this movie in a walk-in theater with my dad when it came out. I really liked it, and I was always a horror movie fan since then. Lara Parker, from Dark Shadows, was a face I really didn't recognize until years later, after watching the movie again. Loretta Swit, from "MASH"? I think this was before "MASH", if not at the very beginning. Peter Fonda was already a star, and my dad thought the man was shitting gold bricks! If they ever did a remake, I'd suggest the actor (hell...he's Goldburg, Goldblum, or something like that) as the Warren Oates character. But, I don't think there's even a remake working for this one yet. As simply done as this movie was, I think "they" might want to use too many special effects, CGI, etc....
If they do, I suggest something: Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Extremely Underrated 70's Drive- In Thriller
Okay I was a "Johnny Come Lately" to this flick. I had heard the title before but I didn't know anything about the movie. Last year I bought it despite the fact that I had never seen it(not something I do often). When I came home I placed it in my DVD rack and kind of forgot about it. Why? I don't know. I guess I just got busy with life. So a couple of months ago, my friend wrote a review of it. Not only did he remind me that I owned it, he also made it sound pretty f**king cool. So one night I pulled it off the rack, dusted it off and popped it in the DVD player. Here was the result.......
I F**KING LOVED THIS MOVIE! This is the kind of 70's creepy that I would rank very highly up there with 'Burnt Offerings'.
While on a winter vacation/road trip with their wives stoic sexual beast, Peter Fonda, and lovable curmudgeon, Warren Oates, accidentally witness a girl being murdered by a satanic cult. Not good! To make matters worse, they are spotted by the cult and pursued through the rest of the film. They try to do the right thing and tell the police but when they go back to the crime scene all the evidence has been cleaned up and removed. Of course the police don't take the matter too seriously so the boys continue on their journey. Unfortunately for them they run into trouble no matter where they stop. There's a very eerie and effective Hitchcockian feel to these situations. They are never quite sure who to trust and neither is the audience. This movie just creeps you the f**k out! The satanists give these folks a nightmarish set of situations to survive. They included, animal mutilation/murder, excellent car chase sequences (and by the way, only Peter Fonda can make driving an RV look badass) and a Fonda/Oates throw down with a couple of snakes that will make any 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' fan shout out "I'M TIRED OF THESE MUTHA F**KIN' SNAKES ON THIS MUTHA F**KIN' RV!!!!". And then there is the ending. And what an unforgettable ending it is! I don't want to give too much away but remember that this film was made in a simpler time (1975) when you didn't need to sugar coat things for a huge opening weekend at the box office.
The hottie wives in this film are played by Loretta Swit and Lara Parker. They don't really have much to do in this film other than look good and scream. Although to Parker's credit I will say that she does elevate the creepiness factor of the film by emoting paranoia through her eyes in many scenes. She is clearly the most intuitive character in the film and she does a good job with what little the role has to offer.
Is this film without flaws? No. Quite frankly there are loop holes in this film that make about as much sense as Penélope Cruz trying to place an order at a Burger King drive through. For instance there is a scene where Swit and Parker decide that they are going to go to a library(in the middle of nowhere) and check out a book (though they have no membership card) on satanism ( I'm sure small red neck towns in 1975 were well stocked with books on the subject). But do I care about the lack of realism? F**K NO!!!!!! It's a 70's drive in movie. Check your brain at the ticket booth, sit back, relax and have a good time!
Not gory, but very suspenseful. A classic believable Satanist flick.
This movie scared the "hell" out of me as a kid. I found it on e bay a bunch of years ago on VHS when I was buying all my favorite scary movies as a child. It was still fun to watch as an adult. I guess the fact that Satanists actually exist makes it scarier than it would be otherwise. Also, the typical 1970's feel always adds an element of heightened scariness. There is nothing graphic in the movie, but it has a very dark suspenseful feel. You wonder throughout who's in on it. Warren Oats' facial expressions are always entertaining. He often appears as if he's grimacing in pain. Plus, Loretta Swit of Hot Lips Houlihan fame also stars. Definitely worth a watch.
Great Classic Horror!
I think this movie has stood the test of time and that is what makes it a classic to me. I hope the remake gets a good treatment unlike some others I have seen. I agree with what "tabbycat" had to say about the ending but I still think it is possible they could have made it out alive. They still had plenty of shotgun shells left because the guy bought two boxes of shells and he probably did not waste them all in the highway scene, plus headlights or not, if I am being surrounded by crazed satanic lunatics, I will take my chances and floor that sucker! LOL! But I agree that in the end, no matter what, they would have been caught sooner or later. It is strange though if you watch right before the cultists appear at the end, that weird shaped tree from the beginning is right in front of them when the circle of fire ignites around the trailer. Does that mean that the whole time they were driving in circles, all the way back to where they started? That would be really creepy and also put some light on why the ending is the way it is. Either way, it is an awesome classic horror movie that should not be missed! I think it is cool that Peter Fonda plays in a movie involving devil worship and then he plays as the devil himself (Mephisto) in Ghost Rider, not to mention both movies have people who race motorcycles as a profession before running into trouble with the supernatural.
Nothing less than a classic
I remember seeing "Race With The Devil" on cable TV in the late seventies, and it had an immediate impact on me. As a lover of horror films, cult films, and car chase films, this had it all and was a blast from start to finish.
When I saw the film again years later on video, it still held up every bit as good and is still one of my very favorite films. This is what a film is supposed to be - fast, furious, and FUN. It's the old cliché - they don't make them like this anymore.
Peter Fonda, Warren Oates and their wives are on vacation in their RV, finding one desolate spot to spend the night on their way to their ski vacation. Warren and Peter are outside getting drunk and spot nude girls and other characters (Oates on one of the girls: "That's choice!") dancing around. Things get serious when they witness a girl being sacrificed as it was a satanist meeting or whatnot. Then for the rest of the film, they are on the run from the Satan nuts, who want to get the witnesses to their killing.
Then the ride really starts. Little by little it is apparent that our heroes seemed to be trapped in this kind of mass conspiracy where everyone it seems is part of the devil-worshiping clan. The devil worshippers seem to be playing with our heroes instead of just doing them in immediately (after failing to do so when they first spotted them) with signs that they are always just around the corner (the dead dog, the broken bikes, the stares Fonda's hot wife always gets, etc).
At one point, the film gets extremely vehicular with a series of two incredible car chases in a row, with Fonda and Oates knocking off cars and trucks like flies. The action here is nothing less than incredible, especially for car chase fans - cars and trucks fly off roads, crash head-on, explode, do two-wheels, and more, including an incredible crash where a car rolls off the road what seems like 25 times. And guess what? It's all REAL, with not a silly stupid computer effect in sight. The way films SHOULD be made, with elbow grease, not geeks with computer mouses.
Of course this being what it is, it is fun seeing the errors in these sequences, such as the trucks whose dents keep on disappearing, and the car who starts to flip before the explosion that causes it to. But that's just part of the fun.
There's even some unintentional laughs here and there, many due to Oate's grumpy comments that he makes occasionally. Oates is great as the most pessimistic of the two friends, and Fonda is a total delight to watch do his thing. The opening sequence is probably one of the most chilling images in film history, with what may be the coolest looking "horror tree" ever. An of course, the classic ending may be a downer to some but it does make perfect sense, and it's nice and refreshing to see that the film didn't take the clichéd "safe" all-is-well-now approach in ending the film.
And besides all that, "Race" even has one of the coolest film titles ever!
This really deserves a release on DVD with some great extras. "Race With The Devil" is a look back on how films should be made, and how much fun they used to be.
One of my Favorite Movies from the 70's
Very good movie that should be well more known that it is. One of my Favorite movies from the 70's. Very adrenaline rushing with well developed plot and characters. Not horror, but not really action. I guess it's more of a thriller. Very original also.
What makes this movie so good is not really anything to do with the plot or Script, it is just the overall feel I get from watching this movie. I feel as if I were one of the characters, being chased, etc. This movie is also very Entertaining and should be able to keep anyone on the edge of their seat.
I highly suggest that anyone who finds this movie for rent or sale would take full advantage and buy it. Why? This movie has been Out of Print for a LONG time and i think will continue to be until it is released on D.V.D., which i also hope will happen sometime soon.
My Final Rating: 10 out of 10.
People who liked this movie might like: Puppet Master, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hell Asylum, Halloween, Friday the 13th, The dead hate the living, Hideous!, Leprechaun, House on Haunted Hill, House IV, Night of the living dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Child's Play, Prison of the Dead, Final Stab, Slumber Party Massacre, and In the light of the Moon. For more Recommendations, please check the other movies I have Commented on by Clicking on my name above this comment section.
Underrated horror actioner!
You don't hear too much about Race With The Devil, too bad because this is a great film. Now "classic film" great, but great as in extremely entertaining and fun.
Peter Fonda and Warren Oates (excellent jobs) are best pals who take their wives on a vacation in their massive motorhome. They stumble upon a devil-worship session in a remote area they parked in, and witness a human sacrafice. From then on in, the devil worshippers/witches chase down the two couples to kill them.
As the couples go on the run, it becomes more apparent that they are in the middle of what seems to be a massive conspiracy where everyone seemingly has a connection to the devil worshippers. Fonda's wife has some good creepy scenes especially as she realizes there's definitely something not right with the people they encounter.
If all that weren't enough, the film explodes into a series of fantastic car chases and crashes as the devil worshippers try to stop the couples with vehicular muscle. Among the chase highlights are a head-on collision, a pickup flying off the road into the river, and one car forced off the road that seemingly does a hundred flips.
The ending is a surprise, and only when you see it for the first tme do you realize it was probably inevitable. All in all an excellent fun flick!
I'm suprised this film has such a low user rating (currently sub 7), as i found it utterly gripping and tense from start to finish. The scene where Warren Oates and Peter Fonda are spotted by the devil worshippers, and their attempted getaway is genuinely scary, nail biting stuff; not only that but Race With The Devil contains one of the most memorable endings in movie history in my humble opinion. If i've one criticism it's that the car/van chases go on too long (this was the era of road movies after all), but otherwise this is a little gem of a film, and more effective than many later horror flicks made with vastly bigger budgets and the gore turned up to 11.
A fine and thrilling 70's Satanic car chase action/horror drive-in gem
A very inspired and briskly effective handy dandy genre-blending combo of your typically creepy devil worship fright flick and a slam-bang exciting Southern-fried downhome car chase action thriller about two vacationing married couples traveling cross country in a deluxe, self-contained luxury RV who accidentally witness a black-robed Satanist cult in the bloodthirsty act of making a human sacrifice. The cult, whose members are frightfully legion, immediately realize that their allegedly secret ceremony was seen and pretty soon everything goes to hell, with pay phones proving to be inoperative, the couples' dog getting strung up, rattlesnakes springing forth from the cabinets, and the cult giving hot, tire-squalling, dust-kicking, metal-twisting pursuit in pick-up trucks.
Directed with customary "no muss, no fuss, no pretense whatsoever" headlong efficient battering ram style by B-movie ace Jack ("Run, Angel, Run!," "Cleopatra Jones") Starrett, who took over the direction a few days into the shoot after original director Lee Frost got canned by the producers for doing too much in-camera editing and refusing to overshoot a single scene (Frost still receives a co-screen writing credit for the tightly constructed script he penned with longtime collaborator Wes Bishop, who also co-wrote Frost's "The Thing With Two Heads" and "Dixie Dynamite"), "Race With the Devil" works like a charm, thanks to Starrett's fiercely economical directorial finesse, Robert Jessup's lively, constantly active cinematography, breakneck pacing, Leonard Rosenman's pile-driving score, dynamically staged car chases (the final chase with several Satanists hopping onto the speeding RV especially smokes), punchy editing, an increasingly tense and moody sense of all-pervasive dread and paranoia, fine acting all around, and a splendidly black, nihilistic surprise twist ending.
After teaming up in the excellent, unusually sensitive feminist Western "The Hired Hand" and Tom McGuane's terrifically off-kilter seriocomic delight "92 in the Shade," Peter Fonda and Warren Oates in their third cinematic pairing have developed a warm, easy, comfortable rapport that translates beautifully well on screen, making the friendship between their characters seem completely believable and engaging. "M.A.S.H." 's Loretta Swit and Lara Parker of "Dark Shadows" fame also hold their own as their wives. Popping up in nifty bits are veteran character actor R.G. ("Evilspeak," "Children of the Corn") Armstrong as a disbelieving sheriff, Bishop as Armstrong's dippy deputy, Starrett as a curious gas station attendant, and Paul A. Partain (the obnoxious fat cripple in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") as a member of Fonda's motorcycle pit crew at the very start of the picture. Often given extremely negative reviews in most film guides, "Race With the Devil" is a whole lot better than its undeservedly poor reputation would suggest and well worth checking out.
Terrific '70s Drive-In Triller
"Race With The Devil" is a terrific triller that's as much fun to watch now as it was in the '70s. It hasn't aged a bit. It's probably one of the best drive-in movies ever made. Warren Oats and Peter Fonda are drinking in almost every scene. And Loretta Switt and Lara Parker spend most of the movie screaming. But together their all very good. The movie clocks in at a perfect 88 minutes. With the first 10 as set-up. So it's a fast moving ride. The stunts are great. This was long before computer graphics ruined this type of movie, so when you see cars crash you're really seeing cars crash. And as far as the ending goes, it's one that stays with you for a long time (I won't give it away). As I watched it last week for the first time in over twenty years, I felt the same rush that I did way back then. The difference was (no offense) that Lara Parker wasn't as pretty as I remembered. There are a few flaws in "RWTD" but it would be silly to pick a movie like this apart. It is what it is: a low budget action flick. But it's a great one.
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