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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975) Dir. Jack Starrett. Written by Les Frost and Wes Bishop. Starring: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, Lara Parker, R.G. Armstrong, Jack Starrett, Paul A. Partial, and R.C. Keene.

If you're going to race with the devil, you've got to be as fast as Hell!

Released the same year as The Devil's Rain and presenting a far less supernatural take on Satanism in the good old U.S. of A., Race with the Devil is equal parts stunt-crazy action and frightening horror. In fact, it may very well be the only Satanic-themed horror movie to actually contain any scares at all. Buddies Oates and Fonda hit the road with their wives in a top of the line RV for a nice little vacay of camping and motocross. That is until they peep some naked hippies one night around a campfire. The men turn adolescent letches for a brief moment, passing the binoculars back and forth in the hopes of glimpsing some nubile young women in states of undress only to lose their shit when the naked hippies turn out to be Satanists out for a little human sacrifice. Spotted spying by head honcho R.C. Keene (perhaps the most prolific uncredited actor in existence) the boys take their wives on the run cross country with a seemingly never-ending onslaught of devil-worshipping good old boys in pursuit. Exploitation director and actor Jack Starrett ( Run, Angel, Run, Slaughter, Cleopatra Jones) gives us his best work here, keeping the tension cranked to eleven from the human sacrifice opener to the bone-chilling ending. And he's got a neverending cast of real folks and character actors to ratchet up the paranoia at every bar, gas station and RV camp the group comes across. Paul A. Partain himself even shows up completing a kind of Texas Trilogy of annoying rednecks with his role as Franklin in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Tommy Lee Jones' Brother-in-law in Rolling Thunder completing the trifecta. This being the 70's the stunt driving is appropriately over-the-top and deadly. Outside of Vanishing Point and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, Race with the Devil has some of the very best work from the period and enough Warren Oates to warrant a double feature with Two-Lane Blacktop.   

 

 

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