A Cross Country Road Wreck!
Death Race 2000 (1975)
Wednesday, April 2nd
Film starts at 8pm
Lady Jay’s, 633 Grand St, between Manhattan & Leonard, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Free Popcorn, Juke Box Meccanica, $2 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!
Oh great American multitude and sports fans everywhere
Oh 2000, now so far in the rear view mirror. If only you were closer than you seem. How I miss the rule of the fascist police state we once knew as the United Providences. Oh Mr. P. How we loved you, and you loved us. Will we ever again have a president who knew what we wanted, and what was good for us. Who watched us thrill at the catastrophic gore of the great 1979 Highway Pile Up. Who saw how it cheered our deadened souls and so instituted promptly there after, the great and glorious Transcontinental Road Race.
Euthenasia day at the geriatric center. They do it every year.
What a great day that was each year there after, when we had our blood lust satiated by those brave drivers and their lovely navigators gunning it for California in a cloud of exhaust fumes and the sweet stench of burning fossil fuels. How we thrilled at their detours to run down men, women and children alike for 10, 30, yes even 100 points a pop. Oh, our joyous Hit & Run heroes of the millennium road. And as is always the case, even this gilded class of deadly racers has their own hero. Our own, righteous racer. The man torn limb from limb and yet risen year after year to claim his place by Mr. P as the one and only victorious winner of the annual Transcontinental Race…We loved you, dear disemboweler of the masses. Frankenstein Lives!!!!!
In the name of humanity. Let operation Anti Race begin!
Who at the time would have thought in such a blissful and bloody utopia as this, a sinister, underground resistance would be brewing? Who could fathom not just an ill-informed sole, but yes a whole movement of ‘citizens’ so hateful of our national past time, our patriotic rite and joy, that they would rise up to strike against our horsepower heroes. All this hatred, just to save the lives of a few paltry, yet valiant pedestrians. Their movement based solely on the selfish notion that pedestrians lives are devalued by becoming a speed bump for glory. Do we not smother their loved ones with material wealth? Do we not bury them at the state’s expense and drape them with all the honors owed them as the victorious fallen of our great land?
And so it was, on this now historic day of the Transcontinental Race, the 20th annual to be exact, that we watched through the eyes of our friends on TV, as the best of the best peeled out from the starting line in New York City. Oh, how their names would go down in infamy…
Calamity Jane, Nero the Hero, Matilda the Hun, Machine Gun Joe, and of course our own, beloved, masked, Frankenstein. But why, oh why on this year after 3 straight wins with only a lost leg, arm and eye to show for them, did dear Frankenstein take such a risk to put his life and win in the hands of an unknown co-pilot, this blonde vixen, Annie, lovely as she may have been.
Frankenstein: It’s my life’s work
And so it began. But not as in years past. This time, as they barreled through state after state, they were met with acts of roadrunner style sabotage. Our dear racers being picked off one by one along their victory ride. oh how we cringed as the teams’ own kill numbers began to rival the valiant kill point scores.
How could we ever have believed as we watched, that these acts of heresy, treason even, reeking havoc on our heroes was not the work of the dastardly French (as it always is) as the news reported so eloquently, but instead that of this new and cancerous resistance, led by Thomasina Paine? And oh the horror as it became clear the resistance was being guided from within by their own navigator of dissention, the lovely but diabolical Annie (Thomasina’s own granddaughter), sitting beside our own dear Frankenstein!
How hard it is to this day, to believe what unfolded as the remaining chariots of patriotism approached California. Splattered in victorious gore and eager to claim their prize and shake the hand of dear Mr. P. So hard to believe our own news announcers, those beloved TV friends, could have been wrong about the French. For again friends, it has always been the French.
Glued to the TV as the finish line approached, with only one car left to reach it, that of our own, dear Frankenstein. That masked and battered defender of liberty, the sole competitor and rightful winner, climbed the stairs of victory to be embraced by Mr. P. Just then, a gun shot rang out and our masked racer fell.
While from the crowd, that dastardly Thomasina Paine invoked the name of the Resistance and swore death to the ‘transcontinental rape’ while brandishing the smoking pistol. In a rush, the mask was removed and our hero shown to be an imposter. There she lay. Agent Annie, puppet of the resistance. Wounded and holding a knife in her pretty, treasonous hand. A shriek of horror from the crowd, as Thomasina saw she had in fact shot her own granddaughter.
But then, it happened. And this friends, I will never fathom. Dear Frankenstein himself seeing Annie shot, guns his car direct at the podium and without thought, senselessly runs down nd kills our loyal leader, our own President. In one single moment, a life greater than all our combined snuffed out. So callous an assassination. As if Mr. P was only a pedestrian and not a president. Nothing more than a point kill.
And with that, dear friends, we lost our race forever. The new millennium was upon us. One where Frankenstein, now no true patriots’ hero, nor even a valiant race worn cripple, as we came to learn his amputations were no ore than a costume, was president. With Annie beside him and Thomasina as a second, and this land of ours now run by the once underground resistance became a place where a single, lowly life is more important than the whole. Oh that I could lie down once more in front of a proud racer, my point value pinned proudly to my chest and at ease in my heart that Mr. P and the TV friends would carry on for my brethren. Maintaining our daily contentment, and protecting us from ourselves. We Loved you. Oh how we loved you.
Produced by legendary Roger Corman, directed by the late cult filmmaker Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone, this one is for my father, Bill Mantlo. My hero and defender of justice who would maniacally scream ’10 points!‘ every time a little old lady walked in front of our car. It took me ’til I was 14 to get the reference.