The Devil Dared Me To
Every kiwi lad dreams of greatness. But for little Randy Cambell, the dream is as big as the stunts his not-so-death-defying father died attempting. Young Randy Cambell yearns to be NZ's greatest living stuntman, much to the chagrin of his aunt and uncle who understand that the petrol running in Randy's veins is bound to ignite one day. Can the love of a one-legged female Evil Knieval save Randy and break his descendants' long legacy of fiery and fatal confrontations with the grim reaper?
Randy Cambell is a teenage orphan living with his aunt and uncle on a boring farm at the tip of the South Island of New Zealand. But he is not destined to raise sheep: he has stunts in his blood. Four generations of Cambell men have died in horrific, fiery, daredevils deaths. Randy dreams of escaping his farming life, with a heroic, 15 mile jump across the Cook Strait. But his ‘rocket powered’ BMX bike isn’t cutting it.
One day a freak accident at the raceways sees Randy’s guardians violently killed by stunt legend Dick Johansonson. Worse still Tracy, the cute girl Randy has just met loses her leg. Randy has nowhere to go but on the road with Dick and The Timaru Hellriders.
The young boy works hard for the Hellriders, mostly cleaning Dick’s toilet. One day Randy takes matters into his own hands, stealing Dick’s car and performing a stunt so stupid it convinces a traveling businessman to invest in the stunt team. When a deal to go to the North Island and the big time is offered it is on the proviso that Dick stars with Randy. A jealous and increasingly chicken Dick plots against Randy by setting up stunts that seem more like murder attempts than entertainment. The plan backfires when Dick messes up his own stunt and kills the love of his life, Cindy.
Dick is sent to prison and Randy heads to Auckland where he makes it big as a TV stunt man. Cambell re unites with Tracy, who is now a beautiful one-legged stuntwoman, they fall in love.
Dick does his time and is released. However he is far from rehabilitated. He sets up a vengeful rocket car stunt for Randy. The resulting explosion removes the remaining limbs from Tracy’s shapely torso leaving her in a terminal coma. Tracy’s plug is pulled.
Randy is a broken man. He returns to the place he hates most in the world -the South Island sheep farm where he began. Dick is thrown in prison this time for life.
Years later the remaining Hellriders track Randy down. Cambell is a different man hardened from years of backbreaking work round the farm. However his labour has not been agricultural. He has constructed a massive ramp and a rocket car. Randy Cambell hasn’t forgotten his childhood dream: the 15-mile jump across the Cook Strait to the North Island.
Is this a suicide attempt? Does he plan to follow the path of his family and die horribly in a bloody, burning wreck?
Or will he fulfill his childhood dream and become the first man to jump to North Island in a rocket car?
South by South West; Raindance; Berlin Fantasy Film Festival; Fantasia Film Festival Montreal; Fantasy Film Festival Germany; Frightfest London; Dead Channels San Fransico, Audience Award; Lund International Fantastic Film Festival; Frankfurt Fantasy Film Festival; Leeds International Film Festival; Sitges