Race with the Devil (1975)
May 30, 2016 5:20 AM - Subscribe

Two couples vacationing together in an R.V. from Texas to Colorado are terrorized after they witness a murder during a Satanic ritual.

Race with the Devil is a 1975 American action horror film directed by Jack Starrett, written by Wes Bishop and Lee Frost, and starring Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, and Lara Parker. This was the second of three films Fonda and Oates would star in together (The Hired Hand was their first and 92 in the Shade was their third). The film was a hybrid of the horror, action and car chase genres. (wikipedia)

Race with the Devil was shot on location in San Antonio, Castroville, Tarpley, and Leakey, Texas. Director Jack Starrett later claimed he hired actual Satanists to serve as cult-member extras, though the statement was likely for publicity purposes.

• A remake was planned in 2005, written by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan, with Chris Moore (of Project Greenlight fame) to serve as director. Kevin Smith has said that Race With the Devil is a strong influence on his 2011 film Red State.

• The film was also the basis for the Tamil language film Kazhugu (Eagle) which was released in 1981, and Drive Angry, starring Nicolas Cage, in 2011.

• When the RV pulls into a gas station towards the end of the film, the gas station attendant who serves them is the film's director, Jack Starrett.

• Coincidentally, Peter Fonda's screen wife Lara Parker once roomed with his sister Jane Fonda at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY.

• Deputy Dave is played by Wes Bishop, one of the writers of the movie.

• The chase scenes involving the motor-home and its various stages of worsening damage were used as stock footage for an episode of The Fall Guy.

• The dog seen hanging from the door was a real living dog, not a dummy; it was drugged just prior to being hung and was completely unharmed.

• When the motorhome is being pursued by the white pickup truck, Peter Fonda's character throws one of the scramblers off the rear bike rack. When we see him doing this, the motorhome is driving down a narrow single track road with bushes on each side. Immediately afterwards, the view switches to the pickup, which is driving along a much wider road with a central divider.

• When Roger (Peter Fonda) is shooting at the final car chasing after them, the car that was following them was a late 1960s Oldsmobile Delmont 88, but the close up scenes of the car getting shot appears to be an early 1960s compact vehicle.

• This came out 7 days after Jaws June 27 1975.


This movie is a selection of the Shut Up And Drive! club.
posted by valkane (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Shut Up And Drive! will be screening this film tonight (Monday, May 30) at 9:00 pm ET. Click Here To Watch.
posted by valkane at 5:21 AM on May 30, 2016

This is like Lost in America meets the Blair Witch Project. Also, I wonder how much From Dusk Till Dawn might owe to this.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:53 PM on May 30, 2016

This picture FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT when I was nine or ten. The only thing I'd ever seen Warren Oates in was the musical version of "Tom Sawyer" and of course I knew Loretta Swit from MASH so it was just all a bit much for me. And I've sort of never gotten over the ending scene.
posted by holborne at 9:24 AM on June 1, 2016

I saw this when I was a teenager and it scared me like crazy. It has that "Southern Comfort" thing going on, and the feeling of being stuck, closed in, and the hopelessness of the situation, which is so strong and frightening. The scene with the dog is still gruesome and shocking and has stuck with me since I saw it. I couldn't remember the name of this movie until I saw it here, and reading about it brought it all back.
posted by marienbad at 6:43 AM on June 2, 2016

Yeah, I saw this when it came out, so I was 10, and pretty much it and The Exorcist were the very definition of stuff that scared me shitless when I was a kid.

"And I've sort of never gotten over the ending scene."


When I was a freshman in high school, I and three other people were targets of an elaborate prank that basically recreated that scene. We were in a pickup-camper in the woods, late at night, outside of town, with about ten people in robes with torches suddenly surrounding us. It was terrifying and, in retrospect, pretty awesome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:12 AM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

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