Friday, May 20, 2011

The Wild Riders

The Wild Riders
D: Richard Kanter (also wrote)

Two bikers, too depraved even for their own gang, are on the run after a murder and hole up in an upper class home occupied by two women

Before the credits even roll, two out of control bikers at an outdoor party sexually assault a young woman, then nail her to a tree. This is an attempt to out-tasteless "Satan's Sadists," and/or what happens when a home invasion/ rape movie is made by a porn director.
The bikers are Pete (Arell Blanton) and Stick (Alex Rocco), sort of a sadistic, angry George and a sexually warped Lenny, if Of Mice and Men was written by a pervert with class and anger issues.
The gang leader (Dirty Denny) discusses the attack with Pete, who's less than repentant to say the least, and decides that Pete and Stick have to go for the good of the club. After Pete starts a fight with another member by calling him a nigger (just to throw in that Pete's also a racist I guess), Pete and Stick part ways with the club.
When Pete spots two girls lounging by the pool at a swanky house, they decide to take over the house and its occupants. Rona (Elizabeth Knowles), whose husband is out of town and bores her anyway, is intrigued and invites them to stay for a bit, while her friend Laurie (Sherry Bain) is a bit more wary. As she should be.
Pete and Rona go off to do their thing, and Laurie is left to occupy the simpleton Stick. While Pete and Rona are making sweet sweet love, Stick loses his shit for no clear reason over a frog statue in a very effective scene. The film then jumps between Pete and Rona fucking and Stick raping Laurie; its clear afterward that Stick has no concept of rape, and to him they just made love.
The other couple learns of the rape, and though he does scold Stick, Pete insists it wouldn't have happened if Stick weren't provoked somehow; shockingly, Rona seems to accept this. Which is where the film starts making people uncomfortable. Though Pete is a violent criminal who steals from her (and, unknown to her, looks to rent her out to a biker buddy) and his partner has raped her friend, Rona clearly starts falling for him. In 1971, and with an exploitation writer/director at the helm, this comes off as the fucked-up trash it is, not as some bold Stockholm syndrome story. Though some of the action does effectively show some of the complicated emotions and conflicting feelings she'd be going through, that's clearly not the point. Pete spouts a lot of poor white rage rants to justify his behavior, and nothing in the film really refutes that.
For those reasons, and because watching this makes you feel just a little sleazier than you already are, even a lot of trash film fans dump on this one. Don't listen to those sissies.
This is uniquely warped and sleazy --and well crafted. The constant violence and tension build very nicely, the characters are developed very well, especially for such a movie, and overall it's sick, engrossing stuff almost on par with "The Last House on the Left" even. Probably not the best date night movie ever, though if you find a gal who enjoys it you've got a keeper (or someone you need to really worry about). Like with "Last House," just repeat to yourself: It's only a movie, it's only a movie... and you'll clearly see why this is a hard 4, and would get five full rapes if it were more of an actual biker movie than it is.

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