Until now, I hadn't see Death Race 2000 (1975). So sue me. I had seen the new classic 2008 Death Race, and one or two of the sequels. I thought I had seen it, at a drive-in or on TV or something, but that was just zeitgeist or something.
It's the year 2000, and the theocratic dictatorship of America holds races across the country, with the dual objectives of getting there first, and running over the most pedestrians. You get so many points for schoolkids, more for the elderly, special points for nuns, etc. We used to play that game all the time when I was in high school - never knew where that came from.
Racers include David Caradine as Frankenstein, the horribly mutilated and stitched back together crowd-pleaser, Sylvester Stallone as his main rival, Mary Woronov (did I mention this is a Roger Corman flick), and Roberta Collins as popular Nazi Mathilda the Hun. Meanwhile, a group of dissidents led by a Carrie Nation-like demagogue, played by Harriet Medin, are fighting to overthrow the governemt and the Death Race.
I told you Roger Corman produced, now I must mention that Paul Bartels is directing, first time in that chair. From this I assumed DR2K would have satirical elements, but I was wrong. It is an out-and-out farce, pure black comedy. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but not a serious frame, even when Frankenstein is killing his pit crew.
Take the cars, for instance. They were built by Dean Jeffries, known for the 1960's Batmobile, Black Beauty and Monkee Mobile. I was expecting something from Mad Max, but these are a lot closer to Wacky Racer territory.