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This ultra-kinetic sensory assault is a one-of-a-kind achievement, and certainly the only drag racing monster movie you’ll ever need to see.  A crazy-quilt mixture of documentary footage, animation, surrealism and freaky monsters, the 18-minute RED AND ROSY is a FUN film you’ll want to view over and over. 

The Package 
     Director Frank Grow’s black and white, 16mm RED AND ROSY received much attention around the time of its 1989 completion, and was even distributed on VHS, courtesy of the short-lived Film Threat Video (which also put out worthy titles like NEKROMANTIK, TRIBULATION 99 and ANIMAL ATTRACTION).  Nowadays, alas, it appears to have been pretty much forgotten (not unlike Grow’s 1997 follow-up, the amazing feature-length freak-out LOVE GOD, which to my knowledge has never played anywhere outside the festival circuit).
    Grow’s previous filmmaking experience was as a grip on the
Jon Reiss directed short BAITED TRAP (1986), which featured a number of monsters created by the San Francisco based Survival Research Laboratories, a band of outlaw artists with a predilection for grotesque and anti-social mayhem.  The connection proved to be an indispensable one, as the mechanical creatures SRL created for RED AND ROSY are among their most striking creations, and went on to tour Europe as part of an art show.    

The Story 
     Drag racing legend Richard “Big Red” Friedman is severely injured in an accident that effectively ends his racing career.  After a botched operation, he becomes addicted to adrenaline, which inspires him to lure unwitting folks to a secluded auto parts shop where he and a gang of accomplices kill and drain the adrenaline from their victims.  Said adrenaline is then used to power a customized drag racing simulator, which pumps the stuff directly into Big Red’s veins—he is quite literally addicted to speed.
     Red takes up with movie star/drag racing groupie Samantha “Rose” Canyon (of whom the only glimpses we ever get are a publicity headshot and still-frame montage), who joins in his adrenaline addiction.  As time passes, Red and his mate drift into an increasingly druggy, hallucinatory existence.  Eventually Rose becomes pregnant and a call is made to an old BF.  He rushes to Red’s house, convinced Rose is in labor, only to discover that their respective addictions have turned Red and Rosy into hideous monstrosities, complete with a pair of equally gruesome mutant infants milling around inside Rose’s womb.

The Direction
     Viewing RED AND ROSY, one tends to wonder what this jam-packed little film might look like stretched to feature length.  As it turns out, enough footage was apparently shot to fill out a feature but, according to its director, the result would be “a boring piece if shit.”  As it is, we have an intense, adrenaline-fuelled “movie concentrate” with a multi-pronged, rapid-fire narrative held together by snippets of real drag racing footage and dispassionate narration that’s often at odds with the onscreen action.  The approach works better than you might expect: far from seeming clumsy or pretentious, the film is fast, streamlined and nasty, not unlike the supercharged vehicles at its center.
     Frank Grow’s love of drag racing is evident throughout.  RED AND ROSY is a veritable ode to the sport and its accompanying subculture, in particular the drag racing themed paintings of Robert Williams, whose lurid art was an evident influence on the look of the film’s monsters.  The rock ‘n roll soundtrack is equally memorable, as are the mind-tugging dream/hallucination sequences, which feature the protagonists’ heads outlined in animated flames (like those you’d see painted on the sides of a race car).  And don’t forget those flame-eyed baby monsters and morphing tattoos.  Great stuff.

Vital Statistics 

Film Threat Video

Director/Producer/Editor: Frank Grow
Screenplay: Frank Grow, Rico Martinez
Cinematography: Frank Grow, Rico Martinez, Ralph Hawkins
Cast: Rico Martinez, Ron Connors, Mike Weix, Jocko Weiland, Michele Mills, Paul Redmond, Aaron Belcher, Larry Schulz, Kyle Gionis, Geoffrey, Sean Hart, Becca Price, Rose Languille, Raymond Espinoza

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