By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on September 4, 2010)
Death Race 2000 – Shout! Factory Blu-ray
At first glance, Paul Bartel’s 1975 cult gem about a “futuristic” gladiatorial cross-country auto race in which drivers score points for running down pedestrians is an over-the-top black comedy. It could also be viewed as a takeoff on Rollerball, as broad political satire, or perhaps wry commentary on that great American tradition of watching televised bloodsport for entertainment. One thing I’ll say -it’s never boring! David Carradine is a riot as defending race champ, “Frankenstein”. Also featured in the cast: Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul) and a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone. This Blu-ray is part of Shout! Factory’s “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” series, with cherry-picked titles from the legendary “no-budget” producer’s inventory of 1970s and 1980s exploitation films. It’s debatable whether hi-def improves some of these curios, but most of them are cult buff catnip.