As a sophomore, Friday nights meant having my best friend’s dad drive us to the mall. This trip featured a sharp turn and rather trusting pedestrians, and it was this turn that would inevitably spark the memory of a movie my best friend’s dad had seen as a kid. “Something happened, and the guy had to run over the Pope to win a race. It was crazy stuff, you guys couldn’t handle it.
It was, quite naturally, decided that it was of the utmost importance that we see this movie.
Problem number one: My friend’s dad couldn’t remember the title.
We presented our problem and our only lead to the local wizard at the mall’s FYE.
“Deathrace 2000,” she said without batting an eye.
She was, regrettably, out of stock.
For the next two years, my friend and I checked the shelves of every movie store, dove up to our elbows into discount movie bins, always coming up short. We failed to find a place to order it from.
I went away to college and dabbled in social media, mostly blogs, mostly about old horror movies or the like. I never really got going with it, but on the three or four blogs I abandoned, I remember posting about my ongoing search, which I felt was slipping into bucket list territory. As part of my blogging and the general search for any sort of lead to a copy, I started reading/following horror blogs and got exposed to the tumblrs of movie fans like Monsterman (his personal collection lowball estimate is 5,000 on various formats).
I gave up blogging (still reading/commenting on the blogs I really enjoyed), and I was no great loss to the community. Tumblr was easier, so I went with that.
One weekend I cam home and my buddy was on leave, and having nothing really better to do, we found ourselves at the mall. Out of habit, we went to the movie store, and while browsing through the used section, found it.
I pulled my friend over and showed him the copy of Deathrace 2000. We could barely believe it. We got in line to check out, each plopping down half of the cost in some promise of co-ownership.
“It’s a classic,” the clerk told us as she scanned it. If you’ve ever dealt with or heard of the never-pleased-with-your-selection record store clerk, the clerk was a lot like that. So that much approval was heady praise.
We drove home, ripped off the shrink-wrap, and put it in, and after it finished we both declared it to be the best movie ever. I borrowed it, took it home, and started screencapping it for my tumblr.
These were some of the first posts that generated any likes, and then a few followers. Not all of them lasted, most not even a week. But some stayed, and a few, who posted content about old movies, I followed back.
Recently, I joined letterboxd, and was asked to list my favorite movies. Death Race 2000, of course, was the first thing to pop in my head. Even more recently, a tumblr friend announced that he was sitting down to watch it for the first time.
“It’s a hand grenade,” I messaged him.
“What,” he asked back.
“Just wait,” I promised, “you’ll see.”
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