Blu-ray Review: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race With the Devil



Do you have a need for cinematic speed? Do you hate it when a movie car obeys all the rules of the road? Do you like to hit play on the Blu-ray and crank the audio for an HD widescreen burning rubber event? Check your seat belt for Action-Packed Double Feature: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race With the Devil puts the needle on 1080p. When this double feature of Peter Fonda flicks was originally released as a DVD, it was a must have. The Blu-ray is a “must upgrade.” Here’s what I wrote when the DVD originally came out a few years ago. Everything I said is still true with even more resolution:

Peter Fonda was a rebel cinema superstar. He started out playing nice guys, but his screen life went up when he played low down characters. He proved a stud on two wheels with Wild Angels and Easy Rider. In the mid-’70s he lit up the screen on four wheels as he was chased by the law and Satanists in two different films. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race with the Devil is the perfect double feature for a night at a drive-in. They’re both about speed demons although one is more demonic at the wheel.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974 – 92 Minutes) makes Fonda trouble in a Dodge Charger. He’s got NASCAR dreams, but things aren’t looking good for his future. While others are zipping around the track, he’s stuck in a nowhere town in California. He’s got to do something with his life. They need new scenery. He and his mechanic figure the best way to bid farewell is to pull a supermarket heist. Their plan goes to hell when Susan George (The Straw Dogs) gets involved. What they really don’t count on is Vic Morrow’s sheriff. He’s not going to just let Fonda split town. The chase is on. Morrow pulls out every vehicle at his fingertips to block Fonda from crossing the county line. There must not have been an inch of road in that area not touched by Fonda’s tire rubber. This is an asphalt masterpiece.

Ride with the Devil (1975 – 88 minutes) once more pits Fonda against the crazy locals like Easy Rider. Except he’s no longer the outside. He’s an almost normal guy with a wife (Lara Parker of Dark Shadows) embark on a couples vacation with Warren Oates (The Wild Bunch) and Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H). Instead of a nice package tour involving airplanes and four star hotels, they rough it. They get an RV so they can see the real America. Always a big mistake. Turns out they stumble across a few locals having a bit of a campfire. That sounds nice until it turns out to be a Satanic ceremony topped off by a human sacrifice. This leads to them having to break camp extra fast to avoid being next on the ceremonial slaughter list. The paranoia goes into overdrive with the fear that all the hicks are part of the cult. This is a case where the paranoia is for real. How far will Fonda and Oates have to go? Is the conspiracy all around them? A few years ago there was talk of a remake. But why? This is a masterpiece of RV mayhem.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Ride With the Devil are a perfect Peter Fonda double feature. He’s pulls off two thrill rides with roles that aren’t carbon copies. This isn’t sequel action. He played an outlaw and a law abiding citizen with the same gusto. Doesn’t have to be a rebel to be a movie star. Of course in the end no matter who he plays, Fonda finds himself being pursued in his rearview mirror. Whether it the cops or cultists, Fonda won’t slow down and give his license and registration. A few years back another DVD distributor put these out as solo releases, but they deserve to be seen back to back as on this set.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for both films. Both transfers look rather good and don’t appear to have been rescued from an abandoned drive-in projection both. They’re sharp enough to glimmer when Fonda cracks his golden smile before trouble begins. The audio on both films is DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. You’ll get the full effect of the sacrifice scene.

Audio Commentaries were done for the previous Anchor Bay DVD release of the film. 
Perry Martin asks questions to director John Hough on Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Race with the Devil features Martin chatting with Lara Parker and executive producer Paul Maslansky. Perry does a fine job at getting his guests to share tales from the locations.

Ride on the Wild Side (30:25) gets into the out of control fun of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Turns out Fonda was doing some of his own stunts in the car. This makes up for a lack of Peter Fonda on the commentary track. The director had worked on The Avengers TV series.

TV Spots (1:30) are the long TV cut and a short with a double feature including Vanishing Point.

Radio Spots (1:51) makes you want to cruise down to the drive in for the magic.

Photo Gallery (2:39) is a montage of behind the scenes pics. A lot of wrecking.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry Theatrical Trailer (2:38) shows off the great stunts.

Hell on Wheels (17:51) gives the details on how they pulled off the Satanic camping trip in Race with the Devil. Fonda made the film for a good time with Warren Oates. They had a wild time with the RV after the movie wrapped. Don’t watch this until after the film.

Race with the Devil Theatrical Trailer (2:06) brings out the cult nature.

TV Spot (0:29) reminds us this is a dream vacation gone bad.

Radio Spots (1:56) keep up the unspeakable evil sounds.

Photo & Still Gallery (6:35) includes posters from around the world and production photos.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race With the Devil is a perfect double feature for a hot summer night. It wasn’t the motorcycle that made Peter Fonda look cool. It’s the speed. The films were available as single title DVDs, but nearly everything on those discs have been included in this collection. Each film is featured on a single DVD so you don’t need to hunt down the OOP copies. Peter Fonda is a God of the Highway.

Shout! Factory presents Dirty Mary Crazy Larry & Race With the Devil. Starring: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Vic Morrow and Warren Oates. Boxset Contents: 2 movies on 1 Bluray disc. Released on Blu-ray: June 4, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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