Saturday, August 27, 2011

PSYCHOMANIA!


"Seven suicides - and they roared back as The Living Dead!"

Portland Grindhouse returns to Hollywood Theater this Tuesday with a rare 35mm print of the 1973 undead biker classic PSYCHOMANIA! This is a beautifully filmed Hammer-style occult romp that boasts amphibious psychedelia, genuinely risky high-speed chases, an occasionally fantastic soundtrack and a gateway to the grave...and back! The silver-spooned leader of a decidedly wimpy British biker gang called The Living Dead figures out how to cheat death - with the help of his mom, naturally - and his crew of puffs soon break on through to th' other side only to return as mild mannered reanimated blokes (and a bird) with dapper uniforms, go-go boots and the most unforgettable headgear since Astro Zombies (1968). The fact that these outlaw bikers wear helmets at all is telling but they up the unconvincing ante with flowers, stilted slang, decent hygiene and general peacenik funeral etiquette. Terry the Tramp would be displeased. Nonetheless, this amazing film caused its share of moral panic upon its initial release as The Death Wheelers and endures as a testimony to what only rarely happens when square producers attempt to cash in on popular youth trends. It is a nearly perfect exploitation fusion that milks the biker film cash cow (already gasping by 1973), hippy counterculture (also quite moribund by '73) and the always lucrative horror genre. Much like Werewolves On Wheels (1971), another unlikely exploitation hybrid, Psychomania never quite delivers on its bloody promises, but still manages to become something altogether unexpected and no less brilliantly entertaining in the process. It also features the final on-screen performance by George Sanders, the prolific British dandy perhaps best remembered from Village of the Damned and the impeccably sinister voice of Shere Kahn in Disney's 1967 Jungle Book. Increasingly bitter and in poor health, Sanders committed suicide just a few months after the release of Psychomania and, according to wikipedia, exited this mortal coil with characteristic pomp and anemic wit:

"Dear World,
I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck."

Sometimes they come back. Sometimes they don't.

PSYCHOMANIA
Tuesday August 30th
7:30pm
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
Portland, Oregon

1 comments:

B.N.Fanzine said...

BIKERS Cult Classic!!!!