Oooohhh...that'll knacker the suspension...
In a dystopian society in the distant future (At the time
) of the year 2000
, a new national sport was declared. A group of specifically selected professional race car drivers are recruited to take part in a race...with a twist - instead of seeing who can make it to the finish line, the competitors are required to score points by running over as many people as possible
, with different levels of points allocated to different age groups (Guess which type gets the second-highest addition to your score...
). The competitor with the highest score wins. Sound familiar?Death Race 2000
is a 1975 action movie from the mind of the king of B-movies
himself, Roger Corman
, based off the short story The Racer
by Ib Melchior. Although Roger Ebert
gave this movie zero stars when he reviewed it, the campy style, over-the-top mayhem and fantastic actors (David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone
for starters) have made this movie into one of the definitive examples of a Cult Classic
, and should definitely be watched by anyone with the slightest interest in just sitting back, relaxing and just enjoying some mindless fun with some wonderful set-pieces in play.
Received a remake
in 2008, which went for the Darker and Edgier
option, and set itself up as a semi-prequel. The cinematic Spiritual Successor
to Death Race 2000
, however, was not the official remake, but The Asylum
's Mockbuster Death Racers
, which retained the dark comedy of Death Race 2000
Examples within the film:
- All Germans Are Nazis: German-Americans in this case. Matilda The Hun is announced as being from Milwaukee, a city known for its German heritage.
- Artificial Limbs: Frankenstein has supposedly been in so many wrecks, he's more machine now, than man.
- Ax-Crazy: Joe Viterbo, nicknamed "Machine Gun Joe". The dude fires his machine gun at the audience for booing him.
- B-Movie: Low budget and shot on a short schedule like all Corman flicks, and using mostly unknowns.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Machine Gun Joe machine guns the audience at the start, just for booing him. He later kills a man who was hanging up a banner welcoming Frankenstein.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: David Carradine refused to wear leather for the movie, but a fabric that would look like leather on screen was used instead. Because an intimidating racer figure really ought to be in head-to-toe leather.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Frank tests his navigator's commitment by making her drive for a while, and his suspicions are verified when she "misses" a child.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
- La Résistance seems to always just miss Frankenstein's car, until a lucky shot strikes.
- Machine Gun Joe firing a machine gun into the audience does not seem to result in anyone getting hurt.
- Irony: At one point, the caretakers of a geriatric home put out several old people on the road so that the racers run over them. Frankenstein decides to run over the caretakers instead.
- La Résistance: The Resistance in this case is trying to replace Frankenstein with a body double to get close to kill the President. They are also trying to get the race shut down with threats and the assassination of several racers.
- Legacy Character: Frankenstein is revealed to be one.
- Meaningful Name: Frankenstein. See also Names to Run Away From Really Fast.
- Mauve Shirt: Nero, Matilda the Hun, and Calamity Jane (as well as their navigators).
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Frankenstein and "Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo. And rightfully so.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Junior is pretty obviously based on Howard Cossell's style.
- One World Order: Implied by the President having a summer house in Moscow and another in Peking.
- Pretty in Mink: Myra's white mink jacket and helmet.
- Shirtless Scene: All the men are topless during the massage scene, but the main event is when Frankenstein's navigator takes all his clothing off to examine the supposed damage his body had undergone.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Soft jazz for a love scene? Makes sense. Soft jazz while careening towards a cliff, not so much.
- Spiritual Successor: Of the video game variety. Carmageddon bares a striking similarity to this movie. Death Racers also applies.
- Stealth Pun: Frankenstein's right hand, which he keeps hidden under a glove for much of the movie, is actually a grenade that he plans on detonating when he shakes hands with the President after the race... or a hand grenade, if you will.
- Space-Filling Empire: Possibly. The US President is stated to be at his "summer palace" in Beijing (called "Peking" in the movie, as was the custom in that era).
- Those Wacky Nazis: Matilda The Hun and her navigator pretty much embody this trope for stylistic purposes. Emphasis on the "stylistic". There are several black spectators cheering in her section.
- Trope 2000
- Tyke Bomb: Frank tells Annie that he, and all previous Frankensteins, had been raised by the government to play the part of death-race champion.
- Vehicular Combat
- Weaponized Car: Every car in the Death Race has a few eccentric little extras.
- Would Hit a Girl: Machine Gun Joe hit his navigator for talking about Frankenstein.