Frankenstein! Frankenstein the legend, Frankenstein the indestructible! Sole survivor of the titanic pile-up of ’95, only two-time winner of the Transcontinental Road Race… Frankenstein!
Now if that does not get you revved up for some late night cheesy science fiction action, then I don’t know what will! This quote is not referring to Mary Shelly’s creation; no this is another creation entirely which came from the mind of schlock film genius Roger Corman New World Pictures. His 1975 release Death Race 2000 is a must see for all fans of OTT humor and manic action scenes. If you like his recent Shark styled movies then this is the film for you.
The original film plays out a lot like a mash up of the cartoon series Wacky Races and the Cannonball Run movies, just with more nudity, violence and Sly Stallone!
You have a selection of bizarre vehicles, with their even odder drivers and navigators competing against each other to rack up the most points in a race where hitting people means points. If you are caught on the road, you end up becoming prey for the Death Racers. The film has been remade into 3 other movies, featuring the likes of Jason Statham, Ian McShane, Jason Clarke, Sean Bean, Lauren Cohan, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Luke Goss, Tyrese Gibson, Joan Allen and Tanit Phoenix. These were all revamps/prequels to Corman’s universe, and though they are fun for low-budget action junkies, they lack the spark of the original.
But fans of Corman and director Paul Bartel’s original movie are in for a treat. Seems an official sequel is in the works, ready for release in 2016! Going straight to DVD and Blu-Ray, plot points don’t seem to be included in the press release, but we do know Frankenstein will be making an appearance.
An outrageous action-packed film and reboot of the original Death Race 2000, Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 began filming February 8 in Peru. Filled with full-throttle mayhem and black-hearted humor, this all-new film drops the flag on a phalanx of automotive gladiators who earn points for killing pedestrians — and their fellow drivers. Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 is an original release from Universal 1440 Entertainment, a production entity of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film will be available exclusively on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD in 2016.
In the decades since well-known independent film pioneer and Academy Award winner Roger Corman first put the iconic anti-hero Frankenstein into the driver’s seat in Death Race 2000, this over-the-top cult classic has hurtled headlong toward cinematic immortality. Among the most enduring of the prolific producer’s legion of memorable films, Death Race 2000 has inspired a growing fan base that continues to propel the popular franchise as it marks the 40th anniversary of its original release.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me and millions of Death Race 2000 fans to experience the intensity, thrills, and dark humor of the original, fueled by a terrific young cast, spectacular vehicles, and side-splitting action, literally” said Corman, the trailblazing writer, director, and producer. “Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 puts the pedal to the metal to bring this enduring franchise to a whole new level.”
Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 stars Manu Bennett (The Hobbit franchise) as Frankenstein as well as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) as The Chairman, Burt Grinstead (“NCIS”), Marci Miller (Viper), Folake Olowofoyeku (The Beaver), Anessa Ramsey (Footloose), Yancy Butler (Hard Target), and Charlie Farrell (Cantar).
The film is directed by G.J. Echternkamp (Hard Candy) from a script by Matt Yamashita (Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda) and G.J. Echternkamp, and it is produced by Roger Corman (Death Race 2000) and Luis Llosa (Anaconda).
It will be interesting to see exactly what has happened to Frankenstein since the end of Death Race 2000. By the film’s conclusion he had effectively shut down the Death Race tournaments and declared himself president. But with 50 years passing did Frankenstein’s bold move actually make a difference? Obviously a new actor was needed for the role because of the death of actor David Carradine, but in story terms, Frankenstein would be in his 70s at least by this stage. Is Manu Bennett playing a new driver who has taken up the Frankenstein mantel? We will not know until later this year when the film is released.
Images: Jeremy Wheeler, New World Pictures,
Columbia Associates, Universal Pictures.