The 1975 low-budget classic Death Race 2000 takes place in the year 2000, when America’s national sport is the death race, a cross-country excursion in which contestants rack up points by killing innocent bystanders. Meanwhile, a revolution is brewing, and rebels disrupt the televised competition in an attempt to overthrow the morally bankrupt President. Will Frankenstein, the mysterious reigning champ (played by David Carradine), go for the gold again, or does he have a hidden agenda of his own?
My sisters’ tastes in friends when they were in High School was questionable at best. They would bring all sorts of characters around to the house. Me, being much younger, was of course fascinated by all of them. They did weird things that my Disney loving mind couldn’t even comprehend. Many of the things I saw, I would rather forget, but they did do some good. They introduced me to music and movies that I would have never found on my own.
I remember sitting across the table listening with absolute attention as one of them described a movie that they had just seen in one the rundown 8th run movie houses in New York City, Death Race 2000. It sounded so bizarre and horrible that it made my brain hurt and made me want to see it myself. I was waaaaay too young for a trip to the city, but I knew the title and I had freshly installed cable TV guide and a TV guide. Every week I would check the movies section, waiting for the film to show up. It took nearly a year, but there it was at 12:30 am. I had to slip downstairs to watch it, and had to keep the volume.
It had Rocky in it!! It had the guy from Kung Fu in it?! It was over the top. It was horrible. It was everything I hoped it would be and I loved it. Over the next few years, I would catch it again and again on TV and would eventually own a tv recorded copy and a VHS copy. The for some reason I never updated to DVD. Well now I am happy to announce that I picked up the “Ultimate Edition” of the film from Shout Factory and not only get to see the remastered film like never before, but also get to learn more about the film through what can only be described as an overwhelming amount of extras.
The extras include:
* David On Death Race: Interview with David Carradine
* Audio Commentary With Roger Corman & Mary Woronov
* New Audio Commentary With Assistant Director Lewis Teague And Editor Tina Hirsh
* Playing The Game: Looking Back at Death Race 2000
* Ready To Wear: Interview with costume designer Jane Ruhm
* Designing Dystopia A detailed look at the design of the films now-legendary race cars, costumes and futuristic landscapes with members of the production, design and costume crew
* Start Your Engines: Interview with author Ib Melchior
* Killer Score: An all-new interview with composer Paul Chihara on the creation of the films eclectic score
* Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman About Death Race 2000
* Theatrical Trailer
* Theatrical Trailer With Commentary By John Landis
* TV And Radio spots
* 12-Page Booklet
* New World Trailers
As far as extras go, that is a homerun in my book. It should satisfy hardcore fans and is probably more then any casual fan would ever need (well done Shout Factory). Now I know this might be an unpopular opinion, but if you know a kid who might be a little too sheltered (like I might have been), why not leave a copy of this film around. It might scare the noodles out of them, but it also might plant in them the seeds of appreciation for non-standard cinema offerings. If you ask me, it is worth the risk. At the very least they will get to see one of the best B movies ever made.
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