I’m a few days behind on Junesploitation but day 8’s category was cars. I chose a film I had seen before but never got around to writing about. I chose Death Racers because it stars not only Scott Levy, better known as Raven (ECW, WCW, WWE) but Insane Clown Posse as well. ICP is the hip hop duo of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. The cool thing about ICP in my opinion is in addition to being rappers they are directors, actors, and wrestlers. Violent J and Shaggy were part of their own backyard wrestling federation called Tag Team Wrestling in the 80’s. They later would wrestle for independent promotions in Michigan then go on to appear in ECW, WWE, WCW, and TNA. Juggalo Championshit Wrestling was created by them in 1999 and after a name change to Juggalo Championship Wrestling in 2007 still operates to this day.
Death Racers was The Asylum’s way to cash in on the movie Death Race which also came out in 2008. However, they are drastically different. Death Race and Death Racers both center around a game-show like race with freedom as a prize and although they both star wrestlers in some capacity, Death Race including a small cameo by Brock Lesnar (WWE), they have no other similarities.
Death Racers is about the government trying to get rid of the Reaper, played by Raven. The Reaper is trying to poison the water basins with an explosive type of concentrated Sarin. This makes absolutely no sense but I don’t always require scientific accuracy in my prison game-show racing movies. To get rid of the Reaper, Governor Black decides to have a savage run. Unfortunately, they were made illegal so they just change the name to death race.
The death race offers prisoners trapped inside the Red Zone a chance at freedom if they can kill the Reaper. The teams consist of the Severed Head Gang, Homeland Security, Vaginamyte, and Insane Clown Posse. They’re let loose in the Red Zone, where they run over, hatchet, shoot, and whack criminals to rack up points on the way to the Reaper’s lair. If you kill the Reaper you get 200 points and if you catch him alive it’s worth 400. If you reach 1000 points you win your freedom.
This movie is absolutely bonkers. Its dialogue is crass and juvenile, it’s plot although fairly straight forward is muddled by the insanity of it all. It has some special effects that are CGI, the red stuff is splattered, but the editing is a bit too over the top at times. There are rewinds, mirror images, and some of the dialogue is ADR.
To be honest this movie is an absolute mess but I really enjoyed the heck out of it. Word is that Violent J called it a terribly shitty movie and although that might be true from a production standpoint I think it is pure gold. Raven does well being a menacing terrorist with no regard for humanity whatsoever. He doesn’t get to do a lot of physical stuff such as fight scenes but his presence is great. He has one fight scene with Violent J and although it’s short and poorly lit it gets the point over that both of these wounded men are trying their hardest to end the other’s life.
I am almost completely convinced that the addition of ICP to any low budget genre fare is a smart move. Just let them be themselves and you get some goofy ass dialogue. Now this is largely untested as besides this movie and their two movies, Big Money Hustlas, and Big Money Rustlas, they haven’t been given the chance to shine that I feel they should have gotten. They may be the most hated band in the world but they sure do know what makes entertainment click.
Apparently ICP did this as a favor for the director who had previously directed them on a prior project the duo had in the works. I’ll forever be thankful for that move as I plan to enjoy Death Racers as often as I can. It might pair better with copious amounts of alcohol or a few bong loads. But if you are a fan of absurdist fare or are as drawn to movies that star bands and rappers as I am movies that star wrestlers you’re in for a decent time.