Death Race 2000/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Death Race 2000
  • The speech mannerisms of the character Harold parody those of Howard Cosell.
  • According to Roger Corman, several of the custom cars featured in the movie were later sold to car museums for considerably more than it cost to build them.
  • The film retains only the basic premises of the original short story by Ib Melchior; the characters and incidents are all different. The story focuses on just one mechanic and driver, and one anti-racer. In particular, it does not include the President or the special driver Frankenstein.
  • The racetrack used for the opening track and grandstand scenes is the Ontario Motor Speedway near Los Angeles.
  • The car in which President Frankenstein and Annie drive away in after their wedding is a Richard Oaks Nova kit-car, actually based on the Volkswagen Beetle chassis (but obviously not the body). These were available in kit form for many years starting in the mid-1970s.
  • Several of the cars in the movie are re-bodied Volkswagens, including a VW Karmann-Ghia (Matilda's Buzz Bomb). The white Resistance Army car that chases Frankenstein very briefly before crashing and blowing up is a 1965 or 1966 Ford Mustang. Nero's car was based on a Fiat 850 Spider, and Frankenstein's on a Chevrolet Corvette.
  • Roger Corman wrote the original treatment of the film, which was serious in tone, but thought it was not right and, in his words, was "kind of vile". He decided the dark material of the story would be better served by making the movie into a comedy and had 'Robert Thom' rewrite the treatment.
  • Both Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine did much of their own driving. In addition, producer Roger Corman drove in scenes that were shot on public streets, since the custom-built cars used in the movie were not street legal and the film's stunt drivers did not want to be caught driving them by the police.
  • Mary Woronov, who plays Calamity Jane, did not know how to drive a car, so a stunt driver did all the actual driving for her in the movie. For close-ups, Woronov sat in a car towed behind a truck with a camera crew riding in it.
  • The role of Frankenstein was originally offered to Peter Fonda, who considered the movie too ridiculous for words. David Carradine, however, was so enthusiastic about the part that he said he would have done the role for free, since he felt he had a reputation in the industry of being something of a "monster", and he wanted to show that underneath it all he was fully human -- just like the Frankenstein character was.
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