Fight For Your Life UNCUT Pre-cert (1977) USA DPP39
AKA - I Hate Your Guts; Bloodbath at 1313 Fury Drive; Held Hostage; Staying Alive; Getting Even
Dir. Robert A. Endelson - 82m 11s (Vision On)
Three criminals (Kane, Chino and Chow) escape by shooting a police officer and drive off in a pimp’s Mercedes. Stopping for gas further down the road, they kill the pump attendant and hold up a liquor store, shooting the cashier. They take a young black girl (Corrie Turner) hostage, and drive to the Turner’s house to switch cars. The father, Ted Turner, a Minister, is at Church so the gang take the whole family hostage and await his return. When Turner arrives home, Kane insists on dinner before they leave, and after plenty of racial slurs, Kane reveals a black man once raped him. Turner, the pacifist, refuses to stand up to Kane physically and when Karen, a white girl, arrives at the house Chow chases her, rapes her and kills her. He also kills a boy and returns to the house, gloating about the rape. The gang beat Ted unconscious with his own bible before raping Corrie, his virgin daughter. The police arrive and surround the house, as Turner wins possession of the gun. Chow and Chino are killed attempting to escape whilst Turner shoots Kane himself.
Fight For Your Life was never granted a theatrical release in the UK, instead sneaking onto video in 1982 marketed as an all-out action film, promising “eighty-nine minutes of sheer terror”. The film itself is a far more disturbing (yet powerful) affair, essentially replaying the old exploitation theme of ‘intruders degrading victims' (see also The Last House on the Left and House on the Edge of the Park), but this time substituting the normal ‘class divide’ for one of race. Black does triumph over white by the end of this film (in a short burst of physical retribution), but along the way racial slurs (“Martin Luther Coon”, “Pink Pig”) from both sides attempt to turn the film into a sort of blaxploitation film that attempts to appeal to black and white audiences alike. It’s not overly gory (although it is violent) suggesting that the film was rejected due to the BBFC’s concerns over its seemingly racist overtones. Is it racist? Not really, both black and white characters are equally flawed, but it does make for very uncomfortable viewing in a mean and trashy kind of way. Also stars William J Sanderson (J F Sebastian in Blade Runner)
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