Two couples camping-out in their “self-contained” RV come across a Satanic human sacrifice. Peter Fonda and Warren Oats team-up as the road warriors attempting to escape the speed-killing Satanists as they are chased throughout southwestern Texas. This is the ride of their lives, and it’s not exactly easygoing even for the most seasoned easy rider.

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Bloody Rundown

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Written by Wes Bishop and Lee Frost, who had collaborated on The Thing with Two Heads (1972), with Frost serving as director and Bishop as screenwriter, Race with the Devil was filmed and set entirely in Texas. Paul Maslansky produced the film with Wes Bishop, who can be seen in the role of Deputy Dave. The film’s costar, Peter Fonda, regarded Maslansky as “very supportive” and very much “a participant,” adding “we were all involved in making this motion picture.”

17Lee Frost was originally set to direct, but an executive at 20th Century Fox inexplicably replaced him with Jack Starrett. Understandably awkward and with little time to prepare, Starrett, a Texan, proved to be “wonderful” according to Peter Fonda. Most startlingly, Starrett, who also had a cameo role as a gas station attendant, allegedly hired actual Satanists as extras.

21Fonda recalled that the cast included a “number of good character actors” and “no shot was too hard; nothing was too boring for us.” Additionally, the “company,” as Fonda thoughtfully refers to as the crew, was comprised of “primo people,” and working on the film was a “labor of love every day.”

10 11Race with the Devil was the second of three films that Peter Fonda and Warren Oats would star in together. Fonda stated, “Warren and I had a bond that was unusual. We had a true love for each other.” With motorcross racing, car chases, crazy stunts, “beautiful” costars, and “wild shit,” Fonda knew that he and Warren “would really enjoy” filming what “was a fun shoot.” He continued, “Oats was a very suave fella. Every day was joyous to work.”

14Fonda portrayed Roger, a professional motorcycle racer who co-owns a bike dealership with Warren Oats’ character, Frank. Together with their wives, Roger and Frank set out for a highly-anticipated, much-need vacation of a lifetime. The talented Loretta Swit gave a faithful performance as Frank’s wife, Alice. Roger’s wife, Kelly, was portrayed by Lara Parker who is known for her role as Angelique in Dark Shadows (1967-1971). According to Fonda, Lara “screamed perfectly” and had the “best bloody scream you could imagine.”

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R.G. Armstrong gave an eerie performance in his role as Sherrif David, who may or may not be a part of the Satanic cult. Fonda felt that Armstrong was “larger than life, but at same time, in the midst of that larger person, there would be something quiet that would go through his eyes that was spooky, that made you think is he one of them.” Armstrong, like most of the cast, has an impressive resume, riddled with horror.

Sher

 

Race with the Devil is a nonstop, fast-paced, ruckus ride, complete with rousing jump scrares fueled by panic and paranoia, and always enflamed by unnerving suspense. The cast and “company’s” enjoyment in creating this film is surely a testament to its tremendous success.

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Die-Anne’s Diatribe

23If you didn’t already know, Peter Fonda has got to be the coolest guy to ever grace the silver screen.  Anchor Bay’s 2005 DVD release of Race with the Devil includes Hell on Wheels, in which Peter Fonda discusses the production. Thus, all of Fonda’s quotes in Bloody Rundown were cited from this highly-recommended retrospective documentary. In this extra, Fonda’s gratitude, generosity, and humor shine through; as does his devotion to his craft and, most especially, the cast and company that helped create this timeless occult.

I love this film; but, at 88 minutes, I only wish they added another twenty focusing on the Satanic cult. Perhaps they could make a prequel…

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Plot Mutilator

In progress.

Deadly Details

Director ∞ Jack Starrett
Producers ∞ Paul Maslansky and Wes Bishop
Screenwriters ∞ Wes Bishop and Lee Frost
Music ∞ Leonard Rosenman
Cinematographer ∞ Robert C. Jessop                                 24
Editor ∞ John F. Link
Sound ∞ Don J. Bassman and   
     William Randall
Special Effects ∞ Richard O. Helmer
Art Department ∞ Mark Wade
Makeup ∞ Dorothy J. Pearl
Costume ∞ Nancy McArdle
Stunt Coordinator ∞ Paul Nuckles
Distributor ∞ 20th Century Fox
Release Date ∞ June 1975
Running time ∞ 88 Minutes
Country ∞ United States22
Language ∞ English
 
Cast ∞
Peter Fonda as Roger                                      
Warren Oates as Frank
Loretta Swit as Alice
Lara Parker as Kelly
R.G. Armstrong as Sheriff Taylor                                    9
Clay Tanner as Delbert
Carol Blodgett as Ethel Henderson
Phil Hoover as Mechanic
Ricci Ware as Ricci Ware
Paul A. Partain as Cal Mathers
James N. Harrell as Gun Shop Owner
Karen Miller as Kay
Arkey Blue as Arkey Blue
Jack Starrett as Gas Station Attendant
Wes Bishop as Deputy Dave