Widge’s Note: I think it’s time to hand the mic off to Rox. How do I know that? Because when you get an email with the subject line of “BORIS KARLOFF COFFEE! Yes I am shouting” then you know it’s serious. Take it away, Rox.
This is wonderful! Act along with Boris in this commercial:
Psychomania, AKA The Death Wheelers, came out in theaters the same year as the more popular cult classic horror film The Wicker Man and lesser known Horror Express. This 1970s film takes on the zombie motorcycle gang genre. This unique horror flick with its screenplay by Arnaud D’usseau (Horror Express) and Julian Halevy, and directed by Don Sharp (The Kiss of the Vampire), has been a gem among its loyal fans. For years, this film has been known as one of the “so bad they are good” films. With it released this year onto Blu-Ray this film is now being regarded highly among film goers on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. Combining an unusual mix of motorcycle gang violence, witchcraft and music, this film has certainly earned its rank as a cult horror film.
The story focuses on a young posh and violent motorcycle gang calling themselves The Living Dead. Bored, rich and young, this gang terrorizes the country inhabitants. Deciding life is too boring, the hip leader, with the help of his mother and long serving butler named Shadwell, played marvelously by Oscar winner George Sanders (All About Eve), dabbles in ancient witchcraft to gain immortality, only to find that bargaining with the Devil has indeed a very heavy price.
From the Wikipedia entry: Psychomania was filmed at Shepperton Studios in 1971 with some exterior scenes filmed in the (now demolished and rebuilt) Hepworth Way shopping centre and Wellington Close housing block in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. It was produced by Benmar Productions, which predominately made Spaghetti Westerns in Spain but also produced Horror Express later that same year.
As a young horror film aficionado, it seemed to me that certain films released in the 70s made their way stateside to be aired on channels such as WOR and WPIX relatively quickly. This was before HBO (or as we called it Home Box Office). The film aired with its original title in New York State. This is the first time I have heard of its alternate title. The story and use of Britain’s seemingly witchcraft-laden past and hip motorcycle gang complete with skull face masks has made this film a favorite with my sister and I. I believe she still has her bootleg VHS copy somewhere.
Enjoy this film on YouTube and if you want the restored version you can certainly buy it via Amazon through Need Coffee.
Be careful of what you wish for…