Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 and the Donald Trump Parallels

When Roger Corman gave Malcolm McDowell grooming tips in Death Race 2050, he had no idea Donald Trump would get elected.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but there was foresight in Death Race 2050. The sequel to Roger Corman’s  dystopian future cult classic Death Race 2000 premieres this week and, like the original, it is predictive of dark times to come. Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050, directed by G.J. Echternkamp, stars Malcolm McDowell, the nadsat with the Mick Jagger shag and scowl of A Clockwork Orange, as the Chairman of the United Corporations of America. Producer Corman offered a little advice on presidential style.

Roger Corman spoke with Den of Geek about Death Race 2050 on the day after the presidential election. The film marks the first time Corman worked with McDowell. While the legendary filmmaker explained that he prefers to limit the interaction he has with actors to “text,” “subtext” and “his motivation” before passing it off to the director, he did make the time for a grooming tip.

Den of Geek speculated that the wave of the future was spelled out in Malcolm McDowell’s hair. “As a matter of fact, his hair is a little bit that way [because of Trump],” Corman admitted. “I did not anticipate that Trump would win and I thought that it might be a passing thing. So we made his hair a little bit Trumpish as it were, but we didn’t want to go too far.”

Because Corman keeps returning to the short story The Racer by Ib Melchior for inspiration, we wanted to know if he believed we were heading towards a dystopian future.

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“The idea of the car racing action film as a black comedy and with some social comment, is what makes the picture go,” Corman said. “As a matter of fact, the recent election makes some of the concepts here more pertinent. For instance, the United States of America has become the United Corporations of America. The president is now the chairman of the board of the United Corporations. He is a flamboyant, wild-talking person, entertaining and nevertheless holding strong to his dictatorial position. That’s not exactly what is happening, but is a possible future route.”

Coming out on the 40th anniversary of its original release, Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050 stars Manu Bennett (The Hobbit franchise) as Frankenstein, as well as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) as the Chairman, Burt Grinstead (NCIS), Marci Miller (Viper), Folake Olowofoyeku (The Beaver), Anessa Ramsey (Footloose), Yancy Butler (Hard Target) and Charlie Farrell (Cantar). The film as directed by G.J. Echternkamp (Hard Candy) from a story he wrote with Matt Yamashita (Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda) and produced by Roger Corman (Death Race 2000) and Luis Llosa (Anaconda).

According to the official synopsis:

In the not-too-distant future, America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government that keeps the masses placated with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, where a motley assortment of drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for running down pedestrians and killing each other. The reigning champion and popular favorite is half-man, half-machine Frankenstein — but little does he know he’s taken on a rebel spy as his co-pilot.”

Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050, from Universal 1440 Entertainment, will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on January 17. It hits Netflix that same day.