Friday, October 9, 2009

October Horror Fest #8: RACE WITH THE DEVIL

This is the kind of horror flick Tarantino and Rodriguez had on their minds when they were talking about "grindhouse cinema". Car chases, Satanic cults, Texas yokels, and a few Seventies icons. Race With The Devil rules from start to finish.

First of all, any movie with Peter Fonda AND a fancy new '75 Winnebago is a winner by default. Despite its hokey premise - two all-American couples stalked through Texas back roads by evil cult - it's the 70s and everyone is playing it straight, which removes the humorous irony that most scary movies tend to dwell on these days. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates lend a sense of credibility; these guys were still in their prime at the time, not desperate for work.

The film looks great in that Seventies way; a little washed out, but made up for with tight shots and good cinematography. The creepy score comes courtesy of Leonard Rosenman, who won an Oscar the same year for his work on Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. There isn't much gore or anything, but the sense of unrelenting dread makes for that in spades. Once the pursuit is underway, it doesn't let up until the surprisingly downer ending.

There really ought to be more RVs in horror movies; other than this and that scene in Friday The 13th Part 6, I can't really think of any. So, with that in mind, I can honestly say this is the best RV horror movie of all time. Check it out.

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