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Film / Race with the Devil

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"They witnessed an unspeakable act... it may cost them their lives!"
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Race with the Devil is a 1975 horror/road movie directed by Jack Starrett, starring Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, and RG Armstrong.

Best buddies Roger (Fonda) and Frank (Oates), a pair of motorcycle mechanics and former dirt bike racers, set out on an RV trip from San Antonio to Aspen with their wives Kelly (Lara Parker) and Alice (Loretta Swit). It's barely a day into the trip, however, when they witness a Satanic cult sacrificing a young woman under the full moon. Now, the four are running for their lives as the cult chases them across Texas to silence them in a... race with the Devil!


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Tropes:

  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: A variation. Roger calls out to one of the cultists on the roof of the RV, causing him to stand up and get creamed by the overpass.
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  • Hollywood Satanism: They're evil Satanists who do Evil Things for no established reason other than it's part of their evil religion. Also, they have Aztec roots, even though Satan definitely wasn't part of Aztec ideology.
  • Honor Before Reason: The reason why Frank doesn't turn around. He just wants to go to Aspen for his long awaited vacation.
  • Human Sacrifice: And possibly a Virgin Sacrifice, too. Also implied to happen to the heroes at the end.
  • Mayincatec: According to the books Kelly and Alice steal from the library, the cultists are rooted in an ancient Aztec religion.
  • Molotov Cocktail: One of the cultists try use these against the protagonists during a chase scene, but after he falls off Roger takes the bottles and use them against the other cultists.
  • Police Are Useless: Sheriff Taylor and his deputies are also the cultists, and are covering up this fact and the crime itself.
  • Religion of Evil: The Satanic cult.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The cultists hide a pair of rattlesnakes inside the RV.
  • Screaming Woman: Kelly and Alice, unmitigatably so.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The cult, with lots of members in very high places.
  • Spiritual Successor: Drive Angry is basically a modern-day attempt at remaking this film (except both the chaser and the chased are associated with Satan).
  • Stepford Smiler: The Hendersons, the couple that the heroes meet at the RV park.
  • Stern Chase: Pretty much the entire movie consists of the couples trying to get away from the evil cultists out to murder them and ultimately failing.
  • Tempting Fate: "We don't need anything. We are self-contained, baby!" Turns out the RV isn't so invincible...
  • They Know Too Much: The lead two couples in this film are targeted by the cult after Roger and Frank witness their ritual sacrifice.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The small town that the heroes arrive in after witnessing the sacrifice, and the RV park that they go to later. Ultimately extended to the entire Bandera County in the climax, where we learn in the end that everyone there is a member of this cult.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The cult stages a school bus accident in the hopes of ambushing the group when they stop to help. They realize it's a trap both because a school bus wouldn't be out on a Sunday and when they notice that none of the children appear to be injured.

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