The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975) ***

The stars of two of the best car chase movies of the 70’s, Peter (Dirty Mary Crazy Larry) Fonda and Warren (Two Lane Blacktop) Oates unite for this uneven but entertaining road trip thriller. 

 

Fonda and Oates play vacationers who along with their wives (Loretta Swit and Lara Parker) take an RV out into the middle of the Texas wilderness.  While boozing it up, they inadvertently witness a satanic ritual that culminates in a human sacrifice.  The local law (R.G. Armstrong) is slow to believe their story and suggests they head out of town.  But it seems no matter where they go; they are hunted by the bloodthirsty Satanists.  The devil worshippers put a rune on their motor vehicle, kill their dog, and hide poisonous snakes in their RV.  In the end, the Satanists try to run them off the road while Fonda fights them off with a shotgun. 

 

Director Jack (Slaughter) Starrett does a solid (if unspectacular) job behind the camera.  The film’s set-up when Fonda and Oates discover the Satanists is creepy and atmospheric but Starrett’s real forte is the action.  The scenes where the Satanists jump off moving cars onto the RV and try to break in are impressive (the final section of the film somewhat resembles Night of the Living Dead in a moving mobile home with Satanists instead of zombies), and some of the stunt work is pretty incredible.  Unfortunately, Starrett lets the pacing slacken up considerably during the film’s saggy middle section.  Had the film not made a lethargic detour and kept it’s eyes on the road, it could’ve been a classic. 

 

Despite a couple potholes, it’s Fonda and Oates’ considerable chemistry that holds the movie together.  This was their third movie with one another (The Hired Hand and 92 in the Shade being the others) and by this time their camaraderie off screen transferred easily on film. 

 

Like most movies, this one is set to be remade. 

Tags: horror, r
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