If you melded The Fast & the Furious and The Crow into a single supernatural action vehicle, detailed it with mid-1980s garishness, and set the radio to Reagan era hair metal, you’d get something a lot like The Wraith.
Long before street racing movies became en vogue, there was The Wraith, the full throttle tale of a murdered teenager who returns from the grave as Charlie Sheen, determined to save girlfriend Sherilyn Fenn from the clutches of the director of Alpha Dog and his band of evil Arizona road racers. Doing so requires an otherworldly racecar, the Turbo Interceptor, a car as adept at outrunning and exploding street punk hot rods as it is making befuddled sheriff Randy Quaid feel like he’s starring in Smokey & The Crow: Tokyo Drift.
The Wraith is such a treasure trove of Eighties hard-rockin’ B-Sides, I’m amazed it’s taken this long to spotlight one. Transformers fans might know the Swedish metal band Lion as the performers of the title song to the 1985 feature animated film Transformers: The Movie – now there’s another soundtrack just littered with B-Sides goodness. Lion’s second most famous song is arguably “Never Surrender,” a song that sounds like it was written to be the anthem of a Rocky-esque movie. Instead it takes its movie bow accompanying a major street race between the Wraith and one of his killers with Quaid and his Keystone Cops in hot pursuit.
From the 1986 cult classic The Wraith, here’s Clint Howard in full Eraserhead mode signaling the start of the race that just wouldn’t be the same without Lion’s “Never Surrender” setting the tone.
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