Fantasia 2012: ‘The Human Race’ is Both Cruel and Inspiring
The Human Race
Written and Directed by Paul Hough
The Human Race is a grindhouse drive-in classic that happens to have been made years after the drive-in heyday; at least it follows the maxims of legendary drive-in critic Joe Bob Briggs, “the first rule of great drive-in movie-making: Anyone can die at any moment.”
The set-up of The Human Race is that everyone on one city block, 80 souls in total, are snatched from their lives by a white light, dropped into a strange obstacle course and told, “The school, the house and the prison are safe. Follow the arrows or you will die. Stay on the path or you will die. If you are lapped twice, you will die. Do not touch the grass or you will die. Race or die.”
And naturally, there can only be one winner. To paraphrase Glengarry Glen Ross, “Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. (To the chest) Third prize is you’re fired your head explodes.”
This sets up a bleak story of survival horror, with a unique set of characters that you usually don’t see in this sort of picture including a homeless woman, two deaf best friends, a WWII marine in a walker, a woman who is eight months pregnant, two Korean kids (brother and older sister) and a one-legged Iraq veteran, played by Eddie McGee.
Eddie is great in the film, showing charisma, acting skill and action-hero chops. He is faster and more agile on crutches than some people are on two feet. He does all his own stunts including a mind-boggling fight sequence. There is also a great moment when Eddie demonstrates just how agile he is on crutches, skittering sideways like a metal spider.