Saturday, November 1, 2008
Directed by Don Sharp
Written by Julian Zimet and Arnaud d'Usseau
Released March 1973 (U.K.)
I had to work on Halloween night, so my tradition of sitting on my ass and watching bloody, gory, scary movies was cancelled. So, this weekend I'm tying up the loose ends and getting a few more Horror flicks in before I settle into November.
From the grainy, washed out footage during the opening credits of the 1973 British cult classic Psychomania, which features a motorcycle gang called The Living Dead driving around through foggy, Stoneheng-ian surroundings before causing an accident which kills a motorist, I could tell this was going to be the kind of '70s "grindhouse" horror movie I'd been searching for all month.
Tom (Nicky Henson), the leader of the biker gang, wants to commit suicide with his gang and return "even better" to cause trouble and raise hell. He believes that frogs - and his mother - are somehow linked to some sort of bizarre witchcraft that can bring him back from the dead. You know, the kind of insane logic that only a cult flick from the '70s can pull off.
It doesn't take long to figure out that Psychomania is batshit craziness that is both mindboggling and yet hilariously enjoyable. There's a funeral scene about a third of the way through that is pure, laugh out loud comedy, with a hippie singing under a tree and Tom's body propped up on his motorcycle in a grave not even deep enough to cover his head. I'm not giving anything away by telling you that Tom's faith in frogs turns out to work to his benefit, and he rises from the dead looking exactly as he did before. Soon, the members of his gang are dying to join him.
Get it? See what I did there? DYING to join him! Is this thing on?
Don't let my enthusiasm fool you into thinking Psychomania is a great movie, because it is decidedly not good. It is, however, bad in a great way. It's comically anti-establishment (the gang wants to become immortal so they can start murdering cops, judges and teachers... though the gang spends most of its time attacking grocery store carts), and it makes me wonder if "authorities" felt honestly threatened by this movie back in the day.
This should have been prime material for "Mystery Science Theater 3000," or at least for a great time yelling at the screen in a midnight movie, especially once you see the "special" effects at the film's climax.
For more on Psychomania:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- Buy the DVD (there is currently only 1 used copy listed).
Footage from Psychomania: