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Drive Angry

March 3rd, 2011 by unkle lancifer · 17 Comments

I try to ignore box office reports. It’s not as if they are any indication of quality and I know full well that my tastes don’t match up with that of the general public’s anyway. I say that not out of reverse snobbery, but as someone who has watched many a great movie fizzle and starve at the box office only to become everybody’s BFF later. In any case, the fumes from DRIVE ANGRY’s theatrical crash and burn were hard for me to ignore. The movie, by the fine folks who delivered me my pet fave slasher remake MY BLOODY VALENTINE, came in a pathetically lousy ninth place in its opening weekend and somehow shamefully behind a week-old BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE sequel. Ouch!

Because the movie involved cars I thought I might ignore it completely, but it’s stunning failure ignited my vulture instincts. I knew I had to see DRIVE ANGRY partially to throw 12 dollars into the director and writer’s hat out of respect for making me so happy with VALENTINE and partially because I wanted to perch and stare at it like one of those creepy death predicting hospital cats. Unsurprisingly I totally ended up enjoying the semi-insane movie as director PATRICK LUSSIER and writer TODD FARMER really do have a quality collaborative relationship going on and again, this is coming from somebody who thinks cars have ruined the world and should be replaced by moving sidewalks and jet-packs as soon as possible.

Some may think that a major factor in the movie’s financial failure is the fact that audiences are frightened of being trapped in a theater with NICOLAS CAGE but have you seen BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL-NEW ORLEANS? It’s so damn good. I’m here to point the finger directly at the wishy-washy T.V. ad campaign that neglected to alert the proper audience to what was really going down in this flick. For some reason some goofy person decided to hide the fact that this movie involved a rampaging Satanic cult and that my friends is just dumb. Somebody should be fired immediately and his or her job should be handed to me. My Chauncey Gardiner insights could have saved millions of dollars. Nobody should ever be ashamed of rampaging Satanists and nobody should ever have to rely on my pity to get me to the theater!

Oh poor misunderstood DRIVE ANGRY, its schlocky charms and cheesy tomfoolery are easily misread as genuine hackneyed incompetence but it’s clearly winking and nudging the audience about the joys of exploitation at every turn. Folks who suffer from 3-D fatigue should recognize that director LUSSIER uses the effect to enhance the action rather than as an empty garnish. He knows what he’s doing and the end result expands the landscape rather than producing that dreaded cramped diorama effect. Writer FARMER has sculpted some wonderfully wacked-out characters too, characters that I’m sad the audience will unlikely have the chance to follow to further adventures. CAGE as Milton dips his rakish vengeance in paternal redemption; AMBER HEARD is a bucket of charm as the kick-ass waitress sick of waiting for life to start and WILLIAM FICHTNER nearly runs away with the entire film as “The Accountant,” a scene-swiping soldier from hell. There’s some TOM ATKINS too, maybe not enough to fill my gluttonous ATKINS diet, but every little bit helps.

I guess it’s too late to rally and stop this Titanic from sinking. Lead balloon or not I’m destined to prefer DRIVE ANGRY to the films whose trailers preceded it which will undoubtedly all be much bigger hit$ even though most of them looked like intolerably boring GYLLENHAAL-infused INCEPTION retreads. I feel that it is my duty to tell you though that if you enjoy super trashy action or seventies era road movies or anything that remotely resembles the great RACE WITH THE DEVIL, you’ll probably love this movie and if you want to see it properly with the ingrained 3-D effects intact then you have to do it quickly before it disappears. In the long run, box office success won’t mean much as I believe the cream will always rise to the top but I doubt there will be much cream in our future if we don’t support the filmmakers we enjoy now. The driving force of DRIVE ANGRY is its original offbeat Devil may-bite-me personality and it’s a real shame that that was exactly the selling point left by the side of the road in its advertising campaign’s attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Let this be a lesson to everyone; don’t hide your rampaging Satanic-cult light under a bushel!

Tags: Trauma Au Courant

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ally_mcfeelNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

    This movie was definitely not promoted to attract the right audience. Rampaging is a good word for it. My only question is, how long before some idiot tries stun-gun sex?

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Honestly I would have rather been watching MBV P2 instead but I had some fun with this one. Plus it ends with a Meat Loaf song!

    @ally_mcfeel, I totally forgot about that bit! So much was going on in that fight scene. Definitely file that under “Don’t try this at home.”

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

    …And at least there were no bags of kittens being drowned in this movie!

  • 4 kittinNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    this was batshit fun in the best possible way. more satan pls!

  • 5 sob317No Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Hello…? Rampaging Satanic Cult? Count me in.
    And thanks for mentioning Race With The Devil. I got this a while back and hadn’t watched it yet and sort of forgot about it amongst the stacks of DVDs.
    I watched this on TV when I was about 8 or so (Thanks, lenient 70’s parents) and the scene where where the vacationers are initially spotted by the satanists who begin to chase them is one of my true Kindertrauma moments.
    I just watched the first 30 seconds of the RWTD trailer and had to turn it off for fear I would spoil something. I think I know what I’ll be doing when I get home from work tonight…

  • 6 ally_mcfeelNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Yes, at least no bag of kittens being drowned! But this wasn’t my kind of movie, but RWTD, now that’s a great little flick, though the ending is lame. I always expect (or want) it to keep going. Will say no more for fear of spoiling!

    Anyway, another goodie from this era – The Brotherhood of Satan!

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    The beginning of Race with the Devil scared the crap out of me too as a kid! I wish DA went as dark as all that but it’s always good to see a car chase involving a camper. I swear those campers just invite trouble, think of The Hills have eyes! Anyway, I’m glad Satanists are making a come back, I’d definitely put them somewhere in my top ten list of scary religious groups!

    @Ally, Brotherhood of Satan has got to be my favorite of the Satanist movies it’s brilliant and I know what ya mean, DA is not exactly my cup of tea either, I’m not a fan of slow motion bullets at all but I liked the seventies vibe and the cast a lot.

    RWTD is never as scary as the opening scene except for….yikes…don’t they find a beloved puppie dead? Man, we can’t escape dead puppies/kittens this week!

    Which reminds me of this song from my youth….

  • 8 ally_mcfeelNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I love the 70s preoccupation with the occult. Bring on Thomas Tryon! If you’re ever looking for a good read, I snagged this from my mother’s bookshelf in the early 80s. It’s well worth the buck and change. Thought it would make a great film.

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm


    I just bought a used copy! How can I say no to that cover? 22 is my unlucky # too so I gotta read that one! You can’t beat an occult book from the seventies and I have never heard of that one. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • 10 micksterNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    A Race with the Devil reference? Well, now I am really interested in this movie! What I learned from Race with the Devil, never consult the local law enforcement agency after viewing a satanic sacrifice. It would be better to just keep moving or better yet just go back home. Otherwise you will find yourself in a not so terrific situation.

  • 11 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm


    The police are ALWAYS in on it! You’re right. If I ever come across a Satanic sacrifice I’m just going to give them a thumbs up and keep walking. Unless they are sacrificing kittens in which case I shall introduce Ninja Unk! I think the secret is to stay away from trees. They always have their parties around gnarly trees.

  • 12 Joanna BoeseNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Probably won’t see this, but the fact Team Mustache Dad from the “Twilight” movies is playing Satanic Elvis makes me giggle. XD

  • 13 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Is that who that guy is? I have not seen Twilight on account of the vampires playing baseball. He made a good Satanist I thought. Plus (spoiler) he BLEW UP real good!

  • 14 Joanna BoeseNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Hey, they had a werewolf play basketball in “Teen Wolf”…now I’m wondering if “Soccer Mummy” will really be made into a film…

    I also kept making those “He blew up REAL good!” jokes during “Watchmen”…

  • 15 ChrisNo Gravatar // Mar 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Man, I’m sooo happy somebody else saw this, and loved it, besides me and my dad! Not only do you get Atkins, car crashes, sex shootouts in 3D, and satanists, but you get William Fitchner, a gloriously underrated actor hamming it up, and seemingly having the time of his life. Awesome stuff! Especially the scene where he’s driving the hydrogen gas truck. He definitely is the star of the movie (“whoa! Those are fucked!”) 🙂

    I just wish it would’a done better to deserve a sequel, ’cause dammit, I wanna see more!

  • 16 moviejunkiNo Gravatar // Mar 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Saw this yesterday and the first thing I said to my husband afterwards was that it cool in a kind of a Race With the Devil way.. 🙂
    As soon as I read the plot summary and saw the name Tom Atkins in the cast at IMDB I had a feeling this was going to be a movie for me, and I really had fun with it.
    I agree that Fitchner was amazing, but feel like Amber Heard really stood out as well..even with her clothes on! If you are into this type of movie you really shoud catch it in it’s 3-D glory before it is gone. It was a really good time. 🙂

    Back to RWTD… My husband and I dream of being “self contained” someday and I’ve already made it crystal clear that we WILL be staying at campgrounds nowhere near open fields and creepy trees!

  • 17 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Moviejunkie, I was surprised by how much I liked Amber Heard in this! She comes across as strikingly natural compared to most actresses in her age range these days. A good pick to add to the seventies flavor!

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