5 Things: Race With The Devil (1975)

An orgy maybe?

(1) Warren Oates co-stars in this film with Peter Fonda. Oates is a movie fan’s character actor, with a resume that includes Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia, Chandler, Dillinger, Two Lane Blacktop, The Wild Bunch, and Stripes. Like so many great character actors, he’s distinctive of both look and performance. For many, he’s “that guy”, but for fans, he’s Warren Fucking Oates (his birthday is “Warren Oates Day” around Snowblood Cinema HQ) . His turn in this film is amongst his best.


(2) It also co-stars Peter Fonda and Hot Lips (also known as Loretta Swit but she’s Hot Lips to us).


(3) Race With The Devil is also a strange hybrid of genres: it’s a horror film, but it’s also a chase film, more thriller than straight horror. There’s even a dirt bike scene, not something you see in a lot of straight horror films. It’s a film you can show to your friends who “don’t like horror” and they will still have fun.

(4) It’s arguably the best film to feature a Winnebago, possibly only bested by another film with Warren Oates: Stripes.


(5) Race With The Devil also features a staple of 60s and 70s horror: the hippy devil cult. You have to appreciate a satanic cult who is kind enough to leave you a note when they smash up your Winnebago.


If my last parking ticket had been sealed with a rune, I would have taken it far more seriously.

Race With The Devil is a huge favourite. I’ve watched it many times and plan to watch it many more times. There are films that imitate it and borrow from it (I think The Devil’s Rejects borrowed a bit, and Quentin Tarantino used a snippet of the soundtrack in Death Proof, for example) but because of it’s mixed genre sensibilities and cast chemistry, there are no other films like it. It’s a “fire in a bottle” kind of film, where a jumble of pieces came together to make something really special.

Shout Factory has released the film in both DVD and BluRay as a double feature with Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.