Saturday, September 5, 2009

PIT STOP (1969)

Hot rodder Rick Bowman is one bad mother. While the opening credits roll we see Bowman getting ready to whip some nerd's ass at street racing. But wouldn't you know it? The spazz he's racing wrecks his crate into somebody's crib then the pigs show up and throw Bowman in the slammer. Race promoter Grant Willard (Brian Donlevy) sees this as his opportunity, so he bails Bowman out and convinces him to do some Circle 8 Racing with a promise that if he does good maybe there's a spot for him over at his racing outfit California Customs.

Just in case you don't know what Circle 8 racing is it's a race track with an intersection in the middle! Director Jack (SPIDER BABY, SWITCHBLADE SISTERS) Hill filmed a lot of exciting real life footage for the racing scenes and it's great! These wrecks are the real deal and it gives PIT STOP a cool historical feel to it.

Even though the racing scenes are fun to watch the other thing that makes this movie so good, even 40 years later, is the story is actually interesting and the actors are good! The biggest surprise is a young Sid Haig who actually shows some range! I've only seen him in the horseshit horror movies he cranked out later in his career so I figured his entire career consisted of standing around with his mouth wide open, but I was wrong, because in PIT STOP he closes his gaping grin and does some honest acting...and he's good.  Damn good in fact!

If you like hot rod flicks then this is a really good one and a lot of fun to watch. Also look out for a young Ellen Burstyn. Highly recommended.