Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when confronted by the box art for DEMONIC PUPPET DOLLS: THE CURSE OF THE GINGERBREAD BLOOD BONG 5 on your video store shelf (wait, do they still have those anymore?). But stumble across your dusty copy of TOURIST TRAP (1979) and it’ll all start coming back. MANSION OF THE DOOMED (1976), LASERBLAST (1978), and CRAWLSPACE (1985), TRANCERS (1985), and, of course RE-ANIMATOR (1985) and FROM BEYOND (1986). Not to mention the 3-D epics we looked back on last week, PARASITE (1982) and METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED SYN (1983). Even though I like some of Band’s Full-Moon stuff, they were mostly just too pandering and ham-handed to measure up to the old stuff. Flood-lit productions that looked like they were shot for TV, half-assed screenwriting (if there even was a script), low-grade acting and a general sense of lack of respect for their own product. Band was frequently compared to the legendary Roger Corman, but Corman had much more respect for his movies and encouraged creativity no matter how fast they were thrown together and in spite of their the minuscule budgets. However back in the days of Empire Pictures and before, Band arguably came close to living up to that comparison.
CRASH!, released in Germany under the rather misleading but infinitely cooler title DRACULA’S DEATHRACE, stars off with… a crash! Not so fast sparky! We have to be treated to a black screen with white credits appearing and disappearing for just long enough to make you want to start digging under sofa cushions for the remote control. An admittedly nifty James Bond-meets-Aaron Spelling score by TV composer Andrew Belling helps pass the time. This won't be the last time Band uses some unimaginative padding to stretch this feature out to a measly 81 minutes, there's more where that came from.
Even though it's not the best of his early work, is relentlessly padded (including an almost complete replay of all of the car scenes back to back, with a sepia wash, under the guise of a post-amnesiac “flashback”) and it feels like some stoner in a projection booth got bored and spliced together two completely different movies, this is a fun drive-in flick that is screaming for a DVD house like Shout! Factory to give it a nice widescreen release.