Another day, another new screener! Paul Bartel’s violent sci-fi comedy classic Death Race 2000 is due out from Shout! Factory on the 22nd of June, and here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect from the release (which will be hitting Blu-ray same day and date). You’re welcome.
This is another wonderful clear-case release, this time with an awesome reversible sleeve featuring either American or Japanese poster art (the back cover text is the same on both sleeve options). The disc art is slick and, like the case, based on one of the original poster designs. Rounding out the packaging is a 12-page text booklet with an introduction by Roger Corman, two essays by Dana Macmillan and a wealth of alternative posters and publicity stills for the film. Menus are of Shout! Factory’s typically high standards, and I could watch the animated main page all day.
Pardon my language, but Shout! Factory isn’t fucking around with their hefty slate of Roger Corman’s Cult Classics releases. This DVD of Death Race 2000 gets a fresh encode from a newly struck high definition master sourced from original interpositive film elements, and the results are fantastic! Crisp, clean and progressive, the 1.85:1 and 16:9 enhanced widescreen image is the best the film has looked since its premiere way back in 1975. Damage is minimal and color and contrast are both very strong. Detail is excellent for the format, the bloody action lovingly captured for your home viewing pleasure. Audio is a 48000 Hz 192 kbps stereo job that reproduces the original sound mix just fine – there are no subtitles.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – Shout! Factory isn’t fucking around here. This disc is the very definition of stacked, loaded to the proverbial gills with the kind of supplemental content genre fans crave.
First up are not one but two feature-length commentary tracks, one with assistant director Lewis Teague and editor Tina Hirsh and another with producer Roger Corman and actress Mary Woronov. Both are active, informative and fun – you can tell that this production was a blast for those involved. Next up are an intimidating slate of featurettes – an interview with the late David Carradine, a Death Race 2000 production retrospective, an interview with costume designer Jane Ruhm, a featurette on the design of the film, an interview with source story author and Wtf-Film hero Ib Melchior, an interview with score composer Paul Chihara, and a brief film-specific interview with Roger Corman conducted by critic Leonard Maltin.
But wait, there’s more! Not only do you get the original theatrical trailer, but the option of watching the version featured on Joe Dante’s inimitable ‘Trailers From Hell’ (with commentary by director John Landis). This is followed up by three radio spots, a TV spot, and four trailers for upcoming Shout! Factory Roger Corman’s Cult Classicss releases (Deathsport, Up From the Depths, Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World). Whew!
Shout! Factory’s release of Death Race 2000 may not be the first, but it looks to be the definitive take for a considerable time to come. The film itself is great fun, and will receive more comprehensive coverage closer the release date – I’ll need the extra time just to shuffle through all the supplements! This is the first of the Roger Corman’s Cult Classics discs I’ve had the pleasure of covering, and I dare say I’m hooked – this is the stuff my cult cinema dreams are made of. Death Race 2000 is a must buy!