Monday, October 31, 2011


Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers)
D: Don Sharp

British gang learns how to become immortal--through suicide

In the intro to the (fantastic looking) dvd version, Fangoria editor in chief Chris Alexander mentions that this was the first horror video he ever purchased; I could say the same, only mine was on an LP-recorded twofer with the utterly unrelated (and far less entertaining) "Alice Sweet Alice." This one has a special place in my heart. It's part "Angels from Hell," part "A Clockwork Orange," AND it's a horror film! With some great black comedy!
British gang the Living Dead, with prophetic name and bad ass skull-painted helmets, are led by Tom (Nicky Henson), the wealthy and nihilistic son of a medium. Through his mother and her... butler? master? personal assistant? mentor? Shadwell (George Sanders), Tom gains spiritual knowledge, including the secret to becoming immortal: Killing yourself while believing 100% that you will return. There are the expected conflicts and plot devices, but the highlights of the film are the bikers (with great names like Hatchet, Gash, and Chopped Meat [the latter of whom looks like an evil Danny Bonaduce]) killing themselves.
"Psychomania" is an absolute blast. Tom is an incredible bastard, a cross between Alex from "Clockwork" and Brian Jones, Mary Larkin is perfectly corny as his girlfriend Abby, and although Sanders is kinda sleepwalking through his role*, everyone else is solid as well... While some of the horror elements come off a bit dated, they're mostly quite good and are blended well with comedy, both intentional and un-: Tom's burial, sitting astride his motorcycle (and I guess funerals at national historic sites are ok in England) is ridiculous, but his rising is cool as shit looking. The opening sequence is brilliant.
In a fairly recent interview in Rue Morgue, Henson said he was disappointed by the bikes; he wanted to do the film based on the first lines of the script, depicting the guys on Harleys. On set, he was disappointed to see British motorcycles. As an American viewer, I disagree. It seems more fitting to me that they be on their own country's bikes. Still, having the spoiled rich dude on the crappiest looking Triumph of the bunch does kinda stand out as a distraction.
Apart from the godawful "Riding Free" (which I'd occasionally torture my wife by earnestly singing), the soundtack, by a band called Frog, is mostly outstanding.
This one gets its pick of any four candy bars in the bowl, and not that "fun size" bullshit, either.

* This was also his last. Shortly after this film, George Sanders killed himself, but, as the Pschotronic Encyclopedia of Film points out, "did not return on a motorcycle."

The Violent Kind

The Violent Kind
D: Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores

Some white trash young adults in a remote house are menaced by something even nastier than outlaw bikers...

In the first third, it's established that Q (Bret Roberts) is a tough guy, DILIGAF* member of the not-quite inventively named MC The Crew. His best friend Cody (Cory Knauf), who was never patched in due to a scandal that landed him in prison, and another pal head up to Cody's mom's remote place in the northern California woods for a club party. They establish Cody's backstory of conflict with Q and the Crew (which sounds like a terrible '80s pop-r&b outfit), the party soon ends, and all trappings of this being the kind of biker movie the ads and box art imply are pretty much over and done with.
From there, it's half typical direct to dvd young people stranded in a remote house being stalked by outsiders movie, and half direct to dvd young people stranded in a remote house where a supernatural force is building movie. Someone in the woods is watching them, there are what seem to be flashbacks of violent murders, people die and are possessed, etc. Until the final third, when said stalking outsiders appear.
They turn out to be a group of street hoods from the '50s who are now undead '50s retro hipsters. Greaser Vern, hepcat Jazz, mildly retarded greaser thug Murderball, and their gals Trixie and (I am not making this up) Pussywagon do the tie them up and fuck with them thing.
I quickly saw that this was in no way, shape, or form going to be a biker flick, and the whole Crew backstory was probably added to glom onto the popularity of The Sons of Anarchy. Still, I at least expected a halfway decent horror movie. I did not get one... This isn't exactly my first foray into direct to disc horror; I know what I'm getting into. I'm ok with going in expecting a cheap good time. The less than spectacular effects, for example, are no problem. This was simply not good.
I don't anticiapte top-notch performances, but the leads should at leat be passable. While the women were ok, the males were brutal. I figured a guy named Cory playing a guy named Cody was a bad sign, and his way-too-McConaughey performace was worse than I'd expected. Bret Roberts was simply terrible, and the less said about the villains, the better. I'm pretty liberal with accepting plot holes, but the overall plot should at least make some kind of sense (and if you hang in there with this thinking, "I hope it at least has a decent ending," you're gonna be pissed). The direction and editing are terrible; the scenes with the greasers are supposed to by David Lynch-like, and it's just embarrassing. The only thing shocking about the gore is how little of it there is.
The soundtrack was actually not bad at all.
One piece of candy (the Raisinettes nobody wants) for this Halloween dud.

* "Do I look like I give a fuck?"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Still on the road

No, the man ain't run me outta town. 'Fact, this is just a quickie before the Halloween post tomorrow... Just been busy on the new bar & clubhouse... Any wine dinkers out there? Those Aussies know that since any cheap red is likely a good one, the best way to hook some of us types is with the label. Been a fan of Old Plains' Stooges/punk rock themed Raw Power for a while (and their Funhouse pinot grigio isn't bad either, for a ten dollar white), as well as silliness like the actually OK Luchador. But dig on this Malbec/Shiraz, part of their pulp themed labels: Cycle Buff Beauty. A label suitable for framing, and - no shit, brothers - a damn fine cheap red.

In other non-film news, and for you Manson...uh...buffs? fans? enthusiasts? Our man in Arizona tipped me off a few weeks back that someone was on ebay selling the Straight Satans San Fernando Valley chapter cut seen below. Bidding price got well up into four digits but then the auction was pulled. Don't know by whom or why, but it's not exactly surprising. Selling a club's rags -whether you were ever the one who earned 'em or not - is (fuckin' DUH) a goddamn NO-NO. Still pretty cool to see 'em though...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On hiatus again

Got some thangs going on 'round here, no time for movies. I shall return, though.
I've had time for just half an hour to an hour of teevee lately, so I've been watching Combat! on dvd. In syndication it seemed that they mainly showed the later (color) seasons, so I hadn't seen many of the really early episodes - the direction is outstanding. Man, you could really count on seeing some great shots in those '60s b&w dramas.