Frank and Roger and their wives take off for Colorado in a recreational vehicle, looking forward to some skiing and dirt biking. While camping en route, they witness a Satanic ritual sacrifice, but the local sheriff finds no evidence to support their claims and urges them to continue on their vacation. On the way, however, they find themselves repeatedly attacked by cult members, and they take measures to defend themselves. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Jack Starrett replaced original director Lee Frost when Fox head Alan Ladd Jr. was unsatisfied with the dailies. Most of his footage was re-shot. See more »
When Roger (Peter Fonda) is shooting at the final car chasing after them, the car that was following them was a late 1960s Oldsmobile Delmont 88, but the close up scenes of the car getting shot appears to be an early 1960s compact vehicle. See more »
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.
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