Fight For Your Life is known to cult film buffs as a real classic of the 70s Grindhouse era. It shares the same kind of infamy as films like I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House On The Left. It was a regional independent Exploitation film made in New York. The film was released under a variety of different titles (a common practice of the distribution business in the grindhouse days) including: Bloodbath at 1313 Fury Road, Stayin Alive and I Hate Your Guts. This helped bring in audiences who were attracted by the enticing promotional campaigns.
The story follows a trio of escaped multi-racial convicts led by the super redneck bigot Jessie Lee Kane (Blade Runner's William Sanderson) who steal a car from a pimp and drive to upstate New York where they hold up a liquor store. While there, a local girl named Corrie Turner (Yvonne Ross) gets caught in the crossfire and the convicts kidnap her and they go back to her house to hideout. When they arrive at the Turner home, they find her family is there including her mother (Catherine Peppers), handicapped grandmother (Lela Small) and her younger brother Floyd (Reggie Blythewood). When her father Ted (Robert Judd) arrives home, the craziness begins.
Fight For Your Life is a highly charged, highly offensive Exploitation film. The amount and variety of racial slurs spewed by Sanderson's Kane is jawdropping. One thing that went through my mind while watching this film was how uncomfortable the actors must've felt while performing these roles. William Sanderson really is incredibly believable as Kane. There is no half hearted acting here, it's pure sicko stuff. As far as racists on film go, his performance is up there with the best of them. It's over the top in parts, but very effective. During its run in inner city theaters it was a real crowd favorite that had everyone going nuts due to the foul language and the depravity. While watching it at home, you can only imagine how riled up the ethnic audiences got when it was released. The film pulls no punches and deals not only with racism, but rape and the senseless murder of a child.
Reviewed by Popeye Pete - 6/10/07