“Race With the Devil” in today’s Daily Horror Movie

Elizabeth Williams

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether you prefer ghosts, zombies or stark explorations of the human condition, we’ll be featuring horror films of all flavors. Check back every evening for the movie of the day. Next up: We hit the road with “Race With the Devil.”

“Race with the Devil” is a scary movie for people who don’t like scary movies. It follows two couples as a relaxing RV vacation turns into, you guessed it, a race with the devil. On their first night camping in the woods, Roger (Peter Fonda) and Frank (Warren Oates) stumble upon a satanic ritual and witness the murder of a young female sacrifice. Their wives call out to them, interrupting the ritual. The four are terrorized in various Satanic ways as they try to reach Amarillo.

This movie is less horror and more occult thriller because there’s lots of Satanism, 70’s car chases and Fonda throwing flaming shaman bags full of gasoline, rendering the parts that could have been scary into delightful camp. It’s difficult to be frightened by the rattlesnakes that jump out of the cabinet because they land on dated orange and brown shag carpet and Oates tromps around in pointy boots and bellbottoms in an effort to kill them.

While the identity of the cult is revealed at the last minute, it’s pretty obvious throughout the entire film that – shocker – every person the couples come in contact with are part of the cult. From the unmoved sheriff they first show the kill site to, to the over-friendly RV camp neighbors that take them out to a bar so another Satanist can kill Fonda’s dog.

Just because “Race with the Devil” is predictable doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. It’s 88 minutes of super slow climax, with the last 20 minutes turning into one of the greatest car chases you’ve ever seen. “Race with the Devil” offers up the whole nine yards of action movies and occult thrillers, wrapped in the glorious cheese that is 70’s cinema.