Skip to content

Terror In High Gear! Ten Of The Spookiest Biker Movies

November 1, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-42-12-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-43-24-pm

Terror In High Gear! Ten Of The Spookiest Biker Movies

October 31, 2016

Roger Corman’s 1966 classic Wild Angels defined the formula for a new genre called the “Biker Flick”, and it opened the floodgates for a deluge of good, bad and downright cringeworthy films that capitalized on the public’s fear of outlaw motorcyclists.

By 1971, worry over roving packs of hippies on choppers had replaced by the threat of rampant Satanism lurking in every shadow. Hollywood adapted, incorporating the occult into the genre, and I’m glad they did. Werewolves are better on two wheels.

1. Werewolves On Wheels (1971)

Dig those crazy monks!

After an ominous tarot card reading, a hell raising biker gang, the Devil’s Advocates, tempt fate by visiting a Satanic monastery. Greeted with bread and wine, things seem pretty groovy, until they quickly pass out on the front lawn, drugged. While they nap, the monks get back to work, kidnapping Helen for a sinister, cat sacrificing ritual.

Eventually the gang rescues her, but it’s too late. Helen is the Devil’s old lady now, and unable to shake her bad vibes, the gang is one by one transformed into a murderous pack of blood-thirsty lycanthropes. If only they’d listened to the tarot cards…

Though the writing and pacing is mediocre, don’t write this one off too quick. Director Michael Levesque (best known as an art director) delivers lingering wide shots of free-wheelin’ bikers riding through vast desert landscapes on sick choppers, and groovy satanists doing the work of the Devil in style.

The visually stunning film is set to an original score by Don Gere, which is a psych rock masterpiece. At the time, many of the biker films had commercially released soundtracks, but this one didn’t.

It’s so good that I tape recorded the audio and broke it into tracks, and it turns out I wasn’t the only crazy one out there, because Finders Keepers released the complete score on blood red vinyl a few years back. Now out of stock (I’m holding onto mine tight) you can pick up a CD here.

2. Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers (1972)

Everybody dies, don’t they… but some come back.

This pre punk “video nasty” turned cult classic tells the tale of The Living Dead, a rather adorable motorcycle gang who get their kicks terrorizing a small British town.

Their leader, a sinister sort with a dark family legacy, learns from who else but mother, that the secret to immortality is to REALLYbelieve when you die you’ll come back, and you will. Sounding easy enough, armed with a cemetery toad and a pair of his Dad’s glasses, Tom takes the plunge (literally), by doing “the ton” off a bridge on his motorbike.

Tom is killed and the gang buries him upright on his Triumph in a creepy clearing outside of town which looks suspiciously like a tiny Stonehenge. Thankfully mother was right, and an undead Tom flies from the grave in a cloud of exhaust smoke. Except for his skeptical girlfriend Abbey, the gang members quickly rush to follow Tom’s lead, and after a series of hilarious suicide scenarios, they are re-united and set out on a devilish crime spree, riding now truly as… the living dead!

3. Hex, aka The Shrieking aka Grasslands aka Charms(1973)

Meet the Easy Riders of Bingo, Nebraska.

Set in 1919, a gang of bikers (including Gary Busey, and Keith Carradine in his first roll) on new fangled machines roll into the rural prairie town of Bingo, Nebraska. Instantly surrounded by curious locals, a snot nosed kid dares them to a drag race his brother’s oh so 70’s, flame job hot rod. Not willing to be called chicken, the gang gives the Jalopy a run for its money, but things get messy and they flee town.

The gang hides out on a remote farm run by two stoic, dope smoking sisters who welcome them in reluctantly. It doesn’t take long before their concerns are validated by one of the bikers getting a bit too feely, and the outraged sisters call upon the dark spirit of their shaman father to teach them a lesson…

The film, shot entirely on the desolate Cheyenne River Reservation, is plotless, hokey, and painfully dull at times. It does, however, pose an interesting question as to what it was like to live in this strange moment in time. A crossroads in history, when the future in the form of a combustion engine came barreling into sleepy Edwardian towns in a terrifyingly loud black cloud of angry smoke.

Released repeatedly over the years under multiple titles, Hex managed to remain in complete obscurity, making it unexpected biker horror flick gold.

4. Race With The Devil (1975)

If you’re going to race with the devil, you’ve got to be as fast as Hell!

A pair of Texas motorcycle dealers, Frank and Roger (Peter Fonda and Warren Oates) pack their wives, a dog and a couple of dirt bikes into an RV and head out for Colorado. Things go terribly wrong however when the fellas sneak away from camp to race their bikes in the desert, and become witnesses to a ritualistic Satanic murder.

Narrowly escaping with their lives, they report the incident to local authorities who seem unfazed, and suggest that perhaps it was simply “hippies killing an animal.”

Not convinced by the murderous hippie angle, and now suspicious of a deeper dark conspiracy, the vacationers steal some books on the occult from the town library and hit the road to see if the Amarillo police just a day’s drive away will take the matter more seriously.

A stop for the night at a trailer park proves disastrous when the dog is killed, and even though they flee, it’s clear the cult is onto them. They are everywhere, and the foursome are forced to take matters into their own hands, waging war on the Devil.

5. Chopper Chicks In Zombietown (1989)

Life’s a bitch, and then you die. Usually.

The Cycle Sluts, an all girl biker gang on the road and on the run from their past, roll into the sleepy desert town of Zaria, population is 128….and dropping. The girls head straight for the saloon looking for kicks, and it doesn’t take long before the uptight townsfolk are out to lynch the girls for luring what’s left of their men into, uh, “coitus.”

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to all, the local mortician (an amateur mad scientist) has been turning the neighbors into zombie slaves to work the abandoned radioactive mine 5 miles out of town. A foolproof plan, until a curious kid stumbles across the mine, and accidentally releases the undead, who make their way slowly, very, very slowly towards town.

With the help of their new admirers and Dede’s old man (Billy Bob Thornton) who happens to live in town, the girls narrowly escape the mob, making it to the main road, where they run smack into the zombie hoards…still slowly, very, very slowly lurching towards town.

Though the townsfolk have been less than kind, the gang join an uzi toting bus load of blind orphans stranded on the road, and set out to battle the zombies by luring them in a church (you’d never know it was a 1/8 scale model), packed full of explosives.

 A Troma classic, featuring Hal Sparks and former MTV veejay Martha Quinn. It’s also Billy Bob Thornton’s first film.

6. I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

Made of steel, forged in hell!

The film opens with the massacre of a satanic biker gang in the midst of a ritual chicken sacrifice. The gang is wiped out and the bikes destroyed, but not before the summoned spirit has a chance to scurry up the tailpipe of a damaged Norton Commando.

A zombie biker shot through the heart rips open his own throat in a final selfless act, to fill the gas tank of the possessed Norton with… you guessed it: blood. The bike is eventually bought by a local chap, Noddy, and proceeds to terrorize the sleepy town of Birmingham, taking him along for the ride.

This dry British comedy is filled with priests on trikes, blood sucking motorbikes, and Young Ones-style special effects, was the moonlight (literally…it’s a vampire flick after all) project of the production team behind the British hit show Boon. Lying to the TV studio about necessary re-shoots, the crew borrowed the show’s sets, props, actors and everything else that wasn’t nailed down to shoot this witty horror film that pokes fun at an already fantastically silly gene.

7. Wild Zero (1999)

Trash and chaossss!!!!

In a Japanese twist on the biker horror comedy genre made popular in the 1990s, Director Tetsuro Takeuchi drops us into an apocalyptic nightmare where loud as hell garage band Guitar Wolf, aided by blood brother Ace, set out to wage war on a zombie outbreak and an alien invasion all at once in an epic battle to save the world…and “ROCK ‘N ROLL!”

The film, which borrows from classics like Psychomania and Evil Dead, hits all the right notes: killer punk rock soundtrack, big guns, fast cars, tiny Honda motorcycles, sexual ambiguity, and a ton of fake blood. Perfectly mixed, it’s a Rock ‘n Roll love letter to all the cult films that came before.

8. Ghost Rider (2007)

Let’s ride!

Teenage Johnny Blaze, a globetrotting carny, is paid a sinister visit one night. Satan offers to save his sick father… and it will only cost him his soul. Johnny rushes to sign his name in the Devil’s book, but in an evil twist, his father now healthy, is killed just hours later performing a fiery stunt. Johnny is crushed. All he has left is his sweetheart Roxanne, who’s being sent away to live with her mom. He hops on his motorcycle to win her back, but the Devil however has other plans and stops him in his tracks. Roxanne is gone, and his fate is sealed.

Years later, grown-up and now a superstar, Blaze (Nicolas Cage) performs death defying motorcycle stunts for crowds of cheering fans. He is an unstoppable but soulless daredevil tormented by his past. Called upon again one night by the Devil (now revealed to be an arch-demon named Mephisto), Johnny is forced to repay his debt, and night after night, in a curse that can never be broken, he is transformed screaming into a hell blazing vigilante on a flaming iron steed… he is the Ghost Rider.

Based on the Marvel comic, it’s peak Nic Cage. Need I say more?

9. Dear God No! (2011)

It’s almost dark, I’m sober and I haven’t gotten to kill anyone today!

On the run, a group of outlaw bikers attempt to seek refuge in a mountain cabin only to fall victim to a crazed scientist and his hunchback assistant performing hideous experiments. What is lurking in the woods making escape impossible? Could it be the legendary… BIGFOOT? Dear God No!

Shot entirely on Super 16mm using equipment from the era, this drive-in dream on speed pays homage to the sleaziest of the exploitation biker flicks of the early 1970s. Then, just when you think you’ve had enough, the film’s sequel Frankenstein Created Bikers was released early this year, continues where Dear God No! left off. Together they’re a gruesomely campy double feature win.

10: The Requiem Ride (2012)

One dark evening, nine souls were lost in a tragic accident. To this day, the hearse still roams the rural back roads, its driver damned for eternity to repeat the hellish ride… the Requiem Ride.

This wonderfully quirky short film, “inspired by 1960s biker flicks”, was created by Cal Piorkowski as a senior project while a student at Pratt. He’s definitely someone to keep your eye on.

Want to up your movie night game? Scoot on over to my blog Cine Meccanica to download a free bingo game that works with just about any vehicular film—and makes for a perfect drinking game.

Corinna Mantlo has spent over a decade riding motorcycles and working within the community. She is the founder and curator of Cine Meccanica, and a published authority on two-wheeled cinema. She is also the Founder of The Miss-Fires, The Motorcycle Film Festival, and the owner of Via Meccanica, a custom upholstery shop specializing in motorcycle seats.

Advertisements

Sunday Morning CAR-toons! Mouse & Duck

September 3, 2017

The Dognapper (1934)

Police officers Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, chase Pegleg Pete down in a sidecar outfit after he dognaps Fifi, Minnie Mouse’s pet Pekingese.

‘The Dognapper’ was Donald Duck’s third film and was the first to feature both Mickey and Donald together. This was the second of only three B&W cartoons to feature Donald Duck, the other two being ‘Orphan’s Benefit’ (1934) and ‘Mickey’s Service Station’ (1935). Because the color of Donald’s feet doesn’t show in black and white, his feet were black in these cartoons.

Directed by David Hand, ‘The Dognapper’ features the voices of Clarence “Ducky” Nash as both Mickey and Donald, and Billy Bletcher as Pete. This was the first and only time that Mickey was voiced by Nash, as Walt Disney was in Europe at the time and was unavailable to record his lines, and Nash took over. – wikipedia

In ‘Hollywood Cartoons, American Animation In The Golden Age’, author Michael Barrier discusses how in these early years of talky cartoons, dialogue was sparse, and it was Donald Duck’s distinctive voice brought to life by Nash that landed him the roll in his first film ‘Orphan’s Benefit’, and launched his career.

Mickey’s Service Station (1935)

Mickey, Goofy & Donald have 10 minutes to fix Pete’s car. Or else!

The film, which stars Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as car mechanics, is notable as the first to feature the three characters as a comedy trio. The film was also the final black-and-white appearance of Donald, Goofy, and Pete, and the penultimate animated black-and-white film produced by Disney after Mickey’s Kangaroo which was released later the same year. Mickey’s Service Station was directed by Ben Sharpsteen, who at the time, had directed only Silly Symphony shorts, and starred the voices of Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Pinto Colvig, and Billy Bletcher. – wikipedia

Orphans Benefit (1934)

While this film features no vehicles, it’s included here as the first film in the trilogy of Black & White Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse team-up cartoons. Enjoy!

Corinna

A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) 1902

September 1, 2017

Released today in 1902, ‘A Trip To The Moon’ directed by Georges Méliès, was the first of the science fiction genre (and one of the first vehicular) to grace the screen. The film was inspired in part by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon (1901), and shot on one reel (825 feet of celluloid) at an astronomical cost of over 10,000 francs. 

The film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the Moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the Moon’s surface, escape from an underground group of Selenites (lunar inhabitants), and return to Earth with a captive Selenite.

“The greatest difficulty in realising my own ideas forced me to sometimes play the leading role in my films … I was a star without knowing I was one, since the term did not yet exist.” – Georges Méliès

Created by the pioneering french filmmaker and magician, Méliès made over 500 films, inventing groundbreaking directorial, production, and special effects techniques as he went. He is estimated to have acted in over 250 of those films as well.

While the film received critical acclaim, it was also widely bootlegged. less than 20 years later most printed were lost or melted down for boot heels during the war effort.

The film was almost entirely lost for decades, and until 1993 it was unknown that the film was originally released in hand painted color as well as black and white. The discovered print dating to before 1906, was restored and released at the Cannes Festival in 2011. The New York Times noted that the discovery and re-release was “surely a cinematic highlight of the year, maybe the century.”

A  Trip To The Moon fits snuggly into the Cine Meccanica vehicular film collection, for the mechanical ingenuity of production at the time, and the limitless reach of the industrial revolution to transport the body and mind to another place by way of machine. Set your sites on the moon, light the cannon fuse and away we go!

Corinna

 

A Chip off the ‘ol motor block

July 22, 2017

Cartoons have shaped much of my life. Perhaps not something to boast about, but in my dad’s house Bugs Bunny was king, and Jim Henson a god for whom green candles were lit in memoriam on May 16th 1990. I may not be terribly well adjusted as an adult, but I haven’t dynamited anyone in the face…yet; in part due to the fact that somewhere in among the falling Acme anvils, nose dives off of  impossible cliffs, exploding everything,  and never-ending senseless brutality between the animal species, there were wonderful tidbits of morality left to seep their way into our violence clouded brains and settle into our subconscious. This sweet vehicular gem, directed by Tex Avery for MGM in 1952 touches on the dilemmas of parenting, responsibility, and the timeless trials of coming of age.

– Corinna Mantlo

One Cab’s Family (1952)

The lineage of a cartoon:

One Cab’s Family (1952) is based, if not entirely lifted from the 1937 classic, Streamlined Greta Green (1937) made for Merrie Melodies by the Leon Schlesinger Studios…

Streamlined Greta Green (1937)

…In 1953, MGM and Tex Avery released yet another version, Little Johnny Jet. The premise is the same, but this time around the cast is a family of airplanes.

Little Johnny Jet (1953)

 

*originally published on Cine Meccanica in 2013

Hell On Wheels!

December 28, 2016

cm1216

Road Racers (1994)

Thursday, December 29th

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

Hey, now you pay attention to something here. These kids ain’t the same anymore. And you know what’s behind it all? Rock ‘n’ roll. That music is turning the kids into a bunch of sex hungry, beer drinking, road racing werewolves. 

Where should I begin? Well this film has it all, all as far as this film critic has any concerns. From action to comedy to romance to sci-fi and most important, Rock-n-roll.

Nixer: Little dab’ll do ya.
Dude: Hell on wheels. 
Yes, from the very first scene which is a car chase to the last scene which is also a car chase. I first viewed this gem with my former bandmate/roommate at the time Harley Davidson. A younger Robert Rodriguez directed this retro made modern timeless tale which stars David Arquette (Dude) and Salma Hayek (Donna) as the two estranged lovers caught in a small Texas early 60’s town which Gene Pitneys’ ” Town without pity ” tune comes to mind to describe their harrowed romantic plight which only they can truly appreciate.

I know you hate this town. I know you hate Teddy; I do, too. But I also know you love your music. So fight for what you love… not for what you hate.
Before this film came out I really did not take note of David’s prior or later performances. He truly earned my respect though after this Made for Showtime TV film was created. I always considered Salma to be pretty but after Roadracers I thought her downright sizzling.

Sarge: Y’know, I’m so close to kicking your ass right now, I can damn near taste it. 
Dude: It’s got a bit of a wing to it, don’t it? 
For the music score there is everything from Link Wray to Hazil Adkins to Gene Vincent. The comedic parts are almost cartoon like in their absurdness yet they are real life actors, actresses. From the race with the Sheriffs son (Arquette’s Antagonist) to the roller rink hi jinks and the discovery of Arquette’s favorite local band being sell outs. You will meet J.T., a greasy spoon Cook who deals out poignant words of philosophical nature alongside his not so appreciated burgers and fries. You can’t ever forget Dudes’ sidekick Nixer whose antics and chemistry add even more to this flick. Then there is the evil Sheriff who apparently is trying to either incarcerate Dude or chase him out of town as he did to Dudes’ father. The evil sheriff has an evil spawn who the Sheriff is trying 24/7 to get him to take care of eradicating dude from the picture. Let us not forget the sci-fi movie that tends to permeate the theme of this movie. The main actor (Miles) from ” Invasion of The Body Snatchers ” has a great bit part as well making one think (just a little) as one rolls off ones chair with raucous laughter.

You’re just a fadin’ image in my rearview mirror 

Even the quotes in this film are witty and unforgettable. From the Sheriffs philosophy of the then youth “Nothin’ but a bunch of beer drinkin’, road racin’ werewolves” and lets not forget what the good Sheriff tells his number one in regards to not getting rid of Dude in a timely manner…”If excuses were worth a cent you’d be a silver fuckin’ dollar” My personal fave is when Dude is givin’ his last regards to Donna….Donna says with big lamb eyes all prettied up” Where does that leave me? ” where Dude replies before leaving rubber “You’re just a fadin’ image in my rearview mirror”.
If you do anything worthwhile anytime soon make sure you go check this flick out….and soon!!!

Les Vegas, Entertainer, bad poet and sophisticated drunk

The making of a Degenerate Hot Rod Flick

Rebel Highway was a short-lived revival of American International Pictures created and produced by Lou Arkoff, the son of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Debra Hill for the Showtime channel in 1994. The concept was 10-week series of 1950s “drive-in classic” B-movies remade “with a ’90s edge”. The impetus for the series, according to Arkoff was, “what it would be like if you made Rebel Without a Cause today. It would be more lurid, sexier, and much more dangerous, and you definitely would have had Natalie Wood‘s top off”. Originally, Arkoff wanted to call the series, Raging Hormones but Showtime decided on Rebel Highway instead. Arkoff and Hill invited several directors to pick a title from one of Samuel Arkoff’s movies, hire their own writers and create a story that could resemble the original if they wanted. In addition, they had the right to a final cut and select their own director of photography and the editor. Each director was given a $1.3 million budget and 12 days to shoot it with a cast of young, up and coming actors and actresses. According to Arkoff, the appeal to directors was that, “They weren’t hampered by big studios saying, ‘You can’t do this or that.’ And all the directors paid very close attention to the detail of the era. We want these shows to be fun for the younger generation and fun for the older generation”.

The series premiered with Robert Rodriguez‘s Roadracers on July 22, 1994.

The Rebel Highway films

Motorcycle Duel…With Death To The Loser!

December 19, 2016

cm1216

Motorcycle Gang (1957)

Thursday, December 22nd

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

motorcycle_gang_poster_02Hey what’re you trying to do, start a fire.

Nick, the leader of a small town sickle gang returns after a 2 year stretch in the clink for clipping an old man during a drag. To his surprise, the new head cat, Randy (who walked form that same wrap with only a suspended sentence), has taken the club square. He’s got them teamed up with the local race set, and their priorities have switched form tearing up the town, to qualifying for the regionals. Nick tries to take the gang back, but Randy’s not quite as square as he looks. IMG_0629I uh thought I knew every sickle cat in town.

Teresa ‘Terry the Terrible’ is new in town. Staying with her uncle for the summer, she’s got only one thing on her mind…burning rubber.

IMG_0630You’re a ‘shol’…a sharp doll

She’s hard to miss, and the local bike set is quick to spot her. Randy’s smitten and invites her down to the Blue Moon to meet the rest of the kids.

IMG_0655Burning rubber is my one big vice. Last guy who tried this lost an arm and a leg.

Pretty quick, Terry gets herself involved with both Nick and Randy, which only fuels their riff. Randy’s still on probation so street fights are out. He challenges Nick to the next PNG event, a 100mile off rode race.

IMG_0661You’ve got a one cylinder mind

Racing neck and neck, Randy wins by a hair even with Nick riding dirty. Of course, Nick’s a sore loser and challenges Randy to a race of his own. Pushed too far, Randy agrees. IMG_0681Look who’s having trouble with their clutch assembly.

After a series of stunts, Randy wipes out riding the rails after Nick sabotages the track. Now, Randy’s in the hospital and the kid’s aren’t impressed with Terry’s antics playing both sides anymore. She’s lost her fella, her friends and ruined her and Randy’s shot at the regionals. IMG_0678Remember when you told me that maturity was setting in, and I told you I hoped it wasn’t contagious?…well, it is.

Nick doesn’t mind her tactics however, and he still wants her, but now Terry has seem the error of her ways and is disgusted. Terry gets  Randy to forgive her and take her back. PNG also forgives them and Randy is allowed to race the regionals.

IMG_0622These aren’t PNG men…these are alley cats on motor cicles. There’s a big difference.

Nick and his sore loser goons resort to booze and rebel rousing. They terrorize a local café and take the owners hostage. Randy and the gang come to the rescue with the help of he race organizers…Nick and the hods land back in the clink. Terry and Randy settle down, and all is well in Coolsville, daddy-O!

Corinna Mantlo

Teenage cycle hounds out for one thing…Thrills!

Motorcycle Gang was remade in 1994 by John Milius and starring Gerald McRaney and Jake Busey as part of Showtime’s series Rebel Highway.

motorcycle-gang-movie-poster-1994-1020232342

Rebel Highway was a short-lived revival of American International Pictures created and produced by Lou Arkoff, the son of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Debra Hill for the Showtime channel in 1994. The concept was 10-week series of 1950s “drive-in classic” B-movies remade “with a ’90s edge”. The impetus for the series, according to Arkoff was, “what it would be like if you made Rebel Without a Cause today. It would be more lurid, sexier, and much more dangerous, and you definitely would have had Natalie Wood‘s top off”. Originally, Arkoff wanted to call the series, Raging Hormones but Showtime decided on Rebel Highway instead. Arkoff and Hill invited several directors to pick a title from one of Samuel Arkoff’s movies, hire their own writers and create a story that could resemble the original if they wanted. In addition, they had the right to a final cut and select their own director of photography and the editor. Each director was given a $1.3 million budget and 12 days to shoot it with a cast of young, up and coming actors and actresses. According to Arkoff, the appeal to directors was that, “They weren’t hampered by big studios saying, ‘You can’t do this or that.’ And all the directors paid very close attention to the detail of the era. We want these shows to be fun for the younger generation and fun for the older generation”.

The series premiered with Robert Rodriguez‘s Roadracers on July 22, 1994. This is incidently also next weeks film. Be there or be square!

The Rebel Highway films

“Speed’s expensive…How fast you wanna go?”

December 14, 2016

cm1216

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

Thursday, December 15th

Film starts at 8pm

at Aunt Ginny’s Bar (652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385)

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

Larry: Nice ‘lil town

Deke: Any town’s a nice ‘lil town, when you nail a broad

Hi, Asshole

After a one night stand, amateur race car driver and Nascar hopeful, Larry (Peter Fonda) leaves a sleeping Mary in bed, and heads out to pull of a heist with washed up race car mechanic, Deke. While Deke holds a supermarket manager’s (Roddy McDowell) wife and daughter hostage, Larry collects the $150,000 in cash from the supermarket safe.

Ok Miss Mary, have it your way, but any time you want out, you just holler

The plan goes off without a hitch, until Larry returns to the escape car, a 1967 Chevy Impala, to find Mary sprawled in the front seat. Having followed him to the scene of the crime in her grandaddy’s 1947 Chevy 3100 pickup, Mary refuses to give back the keys, unless they let her come along for the ride.

Alright so I didn’t say goodbye…I had a robbery to pull off, woman!

On the road the trio bicker relentlessly. Mary’s all over Larry, but pissed that he slept with her and then bailed. Larry rags on Mary in a painful yet entertaining grade school crush sort of way, and Deke just wants her gone.

Yea, ok so we’re off to a bad start…Know what a bad start means to a guy like me…Not a god damned thing!

On the road, they try to get rid of Mary, but every time they end up needing to take her back. She gets pissed and walks, but Deke needs her help as a third to fix the car. Then they try to ditch her at a road stop but she knew to take their getaway map with her as collateral, and they soon return to pick her up.

You get over to Steve’s and pick up that Interceptor

Captain Everett Franklin (Vic Morrow), an odd ball cop with long hair, and a problem with authority, who refuses to wear a gun or badge, takes the heist and escape personally. He obsessively sets out to capture the trio in a dragnet, calling in a souped up police interceptor, and a Bell JetRanger helicopter to track the convicts.

Car 13 out of commission

Questioned at every turn by the sheriff, only Franklin seems to know how Larry thinks, and tries to use his race driver mentality against him, only to find his patrol cars woefully inadequate to catch Larry, Mary and Deke after they switch from the Impala to a souped up 1969 Dodge Charger.

He’s crazy Deke, crazier than I am!

Utilizing the 2 way radio, Captain Franklin sends confusing roadblock instructions, sending the Charger into a tail spin as it tries to evade the cop’s plan…Franklin knows the only way to beat Larry is to make him out drive himself, as no one else is a match for him.

Remember Robert Mitchum at Thunder Road…I’m gonna powder his face!

Having crashed the Interceptor, and run the copter out of gas, it’s just the charger and the outlaws on the wide, open road. Larry and Deke congratulate themselves on the heist and plan for their return to the race circuit. It finally looks like they made it. Mary, for the first time gets a contented look on her face as she comments to herself, “you know what? I think I’m ready to unload”….

….Just then…WHAM…The Charger slams into a passing freight train and goes up in flames.

Check out all the cars from the film HERE

See hundreds of images from the film HERE

Back story:

“Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” is based on the novel originally titled “The Chase” (later renamed “Pursuit”) by Richard Unekis, and published in 1963. The story incorporated a phenomenon that was relatively new in 1963: major auto manufacturers were putting powerful V-8 engines into mid-sized cars (the dawn of the “muscle car” era), and young thieves behind the wheel of these cars were now able to out run the economy 6-cylinder sedans driven by police in many jurisdictions. The protagonists of “The Chase” used such a vehicle, a Chevrolet, and made use of the checkerboard of roads in the farm country of Illinois to outrun the police. – wikipedia

Stranger than fiction:

In the late 50’s, My father, Comic Book writer, and real life Legal Aid super hero, Bill Mantlo was taken hostage in a heist almost identical to this film’s plot. My grandfather William Mantlo worked as a bank manager in Long Island and was met one morning at the bank by a man who said he had my Grandmother Nancy, and their 3 boys, Arthur, Mike and Bill held hostage at gunpoint at their home near by. My grandfather of course complied with the robber, and my grandmother was let go. My father and uncles, just young boys at the time, knew nothing of the incident as they were upstairs asleep. I looked high and low for the newspaper article of this that I’ve had forever, with no luck….details to follow when I find it in the archives.

Corinna Mantlo

The most terrifying film of your time!

December 6, 2016

CM1216.jpg

The Wild Angels (1966)

Thursday, December 8th, Film starts at 8pm

Aunt Ginny’s Bar652 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385

Free Popcorn and $5 Bingo for Prizes, PRIZES!

Their credo is violence…Their God is hate…and they call themselves ‘The Wild Angels’

Join us this week for the first film at the new kickin’ location, Aunt Ginny’s bar. Good food, booze and the best of vehicular Cine Meccanica films as always. Be sure to check out the bingo game this week which is upping the anty with some serious swag. See you at the flicks!

Corinna Mantlo

Movie Review: THE WILD ANGELS
Posted on Jul.27 09 by Big Book of Biker Flicks in the category Movie Mondays“They hunt in a pack, like wolves on wheels!”
wild_angels“The picture you are about to see will shock and perhaps anger you. Although the events and characters are fictitious, the story is a reflection of our times.” — from the prologue to The Wild Angels

Marlon Brando had scored with The Wild One, Anthony Quinn had staged The Wild Party (1956) and Elvis Presley had gone Wild in the Country (1961) by the time Roger Corman kick-started the big screen’s cycle-gang machinery with The Wild Angels… By then, filmgoers had also been treated to the likes of Wild Women of Wongo (prehistoric cheesecake, from 1958), The Wild Ride (early Jack Nicholson, from 1960), Wild Guitar (show-business shenanigans, from 1962), and Wild Is My Love(Russian roulette, college-boy style, from 1963).

Biker Group: The Hells Angels
Leader: Heavenly Blues (Peter Fonda)

wild_angels_cycles_625pxThe constant among these titles is not the motorcycle — although Arch Hall, Jr.’s riding is more impressive than his musicianship in Wild Guitar — but rather the ticket-selling magnetism of a particular term. More than 20 such variants on wild surface in Michael Weldon’s The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, a perennial reference work first published in 1983, and practically any movie-trade almanac or Cine McNuggets thumbnail-reference book will stack column upon column of movies that have staked their marquee appeal upon the electrifying promise of the word W-I-L-D in red block letters two feet tall. “Well, if I was trying to couch The Wild Angels in any historical, culturally wide-awake context, I’d say I was coming directly off The Wild One, which of course wrote the book on what a biker picture should have to say for itself,” Wild Angels producer-director Roger Corman told us in 2000. “But the franker truth is, a movie with wild in its title has a proven better chance, especially if the movie delivers the goods.”

Well, this one delivers — even if its title during shooting title was the wild-less All the Fallen Angels — adopting a you-are-there style to chronicle the rampages of a purported Hell’s Angels faction at large around Venice, California. The glory-stomping grounds are authentic, and so are many of the backup players; only in Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) has this all-American mockery of Italy’s Venice looked seedier or more forbidding. Charles B. Griffith’s screenplay (allegedly reworked by future auteur Peter Bogdanovich, a new Corman associate at the time) The Wild Angels is more a pageant of Hell’s Angels tribal lore — each brutal anecdote is sharply observed, if exaggerated — than any attempt at narrative coherence. Coherence, for that matter, is irrelevant to a picture whose leading character envisions freedom as merely one escape hatch after another in a headlong course of misadventure.

WILD ANGELS 1

Three years after The Wild One and nine years before The Wild Angels, producer Alex Gordon and director Edward L. Cahn had taken a half-hearted stab at spinning off a subgenre of cycle-mob movies with Motorcycle Gang , covered elsewhere in this book. This development occurred, significantly, at American International Pictures, which as usual was first if not foremost at making the box office an alluring and preferably forbidden gathering-place for teenage America. Motorcycle Gang never escaped the gravitational pull of the larger J.D. (as in juvenile delinquency) genre, but it planted in Corman, a younger talent in the AIP circle, bigger ambitions yet to develop. “I doubt that I could’ve done it any better if I’d done Motorcycle Gang,” Corman said, “because although the interest was there, the time was not right. The Wild One had said all there was to say for a good long while, and the nature of the real gangs, as they evolved from the ’50s on into the ’60s, came to make even The Wild One look quaint by comparison. So we really needed the 1960s to give us the distance and the perspective, and to present us with a social and cultural climate where we could feel freer to challenge the film industry’s repressive code of institutionalized censorship.”

So, when the time was right, came The Wild Angels, in which Peter Fonda’s surly, inarticulate Heavenly Blues emerges to make Marlon Brando’s presence in The Wild One seem chivalrous by comparison. Blues’ idea of liberty is simply doing what he wants, when he wants, where he wants, how he wants, and then of slipping away to the next altercation, waving a swastika or an upraised middle finger as might suit the occasion.

The-Wild-Angels-1Though conceived at some point, at least in part, as a star vehicle — itself a quaint, Old Hollywood-style concept — for the son of Henry Fonda and the daughter of Frank Sinatra, The Wild Angels makes little use of Nancy Sinatra beyond a welcome measure of tough-chick posturing. (According to some sources, Fonda was bumped up to the top male role after West Side Story’s George Chakiris balked at the notion of all that bike riding and split.) Corman explained that the Sinatra casting was just a matter of cashing in on her hit-record career, which had established her more as a fashion plate for miniskirts and man-stomping boots than as any kind of singer. At least she looks the part, wisely keeping mum most of the time.

Drugs, strong drink, orgies by consent and/or force, and turf wars are the stuff on which Heavenly Blues’ mob thrives. Bruce Dern lends a touch of dramatic depth as Loser, Blues’ best pal, whose death at the hands of the law — while attempting to steal a police cycle — prompts an elaborate free-for-all funeral. Rather than have the corpse lie appropriately in state, the gang makes Loser a prop at his own ceremonies, a reefer dangling from his lips, after they have trashed the chapel and given the preacher (Frank Maxwell) a severe bullyragging. Blues’ attempt at a eulogy deteriorates into a rambling diatribe on What Freedom Means to Me, the manifesto of a spoiled-rotten brat grown dangerous. In the film’s most impressive sequence, Blues leads a procession from the church to a graveyard, where the intended burial turns instead into a forced confrontation with the enraged townspeople.

Fonda is just what the role requires, a virtual model of self-contradictions from his fashion-plate good looks to the contemptuous set of his jaw. Acting ability is beside the point, the point here being to present a self-absorbed character whose existence is a hollow procession of defiant poses and fast getaways. Blues’ one articulate complaint is that “there’s nowhere to go,” a late-in-the-game realization that screenwriter Griffith can only have absorbed from a fable fundamental to existentialist thinking: Ever hear the one about the guy who didn’t even know he was alive until he woke up dead one morning?

wild_angels_funeralRoger Corman has never denied the exploitative purposes of The Wild Angels, which of course made most of its money as an attraction for rowdy crowds who found such antisocial on-screen behavior safely exhilarating. But the film in its day also infuriated many of the real-world Hell’s Angels, who complained of its defamatory aspects. Primary among those was Sonny Barger, longtime president of the Oakland Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club at the time, who’d go on to considerable big-screen fame himself in several biker pictures. When we visited with Barger a couple of years ago, during his national tour to promote the autobiographical book Hell’s Angel (William Morrow, 2000), he insisted that no Hell’s Angels ever appeared in The Wild Angels. “Actually, we sued ‘em for a million dollars for saying there were Hell’s Angels in the movie,” Barger recalled. “We ended up settling for ten thousand. And I saw him [Corman] and Peter Fonda on a program the other day about motorcyclists, and he still to this day claims there were real Hell’s Angels in there. And he says, `You know there is, because they settled for ten thousand dollars.’  “That guy’s a jerk. And so’s Peter Fonda, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have any more use for Peter than I do for Jane, you know.”

In addition to the disagreement over the participation of authentic Hell’s Angels in the film, there are also, all these years later, split opinions on whether The Wild Angels bears accepting as a valid social-problem picture. One school of thought is represented by the critic and historian Danny Peary, who finds it “a despicable film that thrives on brutality, vulgarity [and] cheap thrills” (see Peary’s blessedly opinionated Guide for the Film Fanatic, published in 1986). On the other hand, The Wild Angels — along with another of AIP’s youth-in-revolt thrillers, 1968′s Wild in the Streets — has enjoyed a perfectly respectable afterlife as a teaching tool in college-level sociology courses. Angels’ uncomplicated documentary-like structure is made to order for classroom discussion, and its frenzied camerawork and nerve-wracking guitar-distortion score seem almost to have anticipated the epidemic attention-span deficiency brought on by a culture that offers too many choices and insufficient time in which to choose wisely.

Like The Wild One and any number of lesser J.D. pictures, The Wild Angels owes its existence to such Depression-era kids-gone-wrong dramas as Dead End and They Made Me a Criminal. But The Wild Angels retains a provocative relevance noticeably greater than that of its distant ancestors.

the-wild-angelsThe most lifelike portrayals come from Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, cornerstone talents with the Corman stock company; their daughter, Laura Dern, would emerge during the 1990s as an acclaimed screen player. Frank Maxwell is genuinely affecting as the beleaguered minister. Perhaps the most interesting bit of casting comes with Joan Shawlee, playing an amoral mother figure called Mama Monahan. Fans of TV’s classic Dick Van Dyke Show — which was running weekly at the same time The Wild Angels hit America’s screens — knew her as Pickles, the wife of Morey Amsterdam’s character, Buddy Sorrell.

The Wild Angels remains the linchpin of Peter Fonda’s slow-burn career as a movie star, conventionally defined in a convention-busting genre. Nearly two generations after the breakthrough, Fonda still regards The Wild Angels with affectionate modesty. “I suspect The Wild Angels did me more good than I did for it,” Fonda told us in 1997. “But together we launched a bona fide genre — not just a subgenre, but a genre all unto itself, however limited. And it gave me a theme song, which still strikes a chord today. A very distorted chord, I might add.”

7127_1Mike Curb and Davie Allan wrote The Wild Angels’ theme song, “Blues’ Theme,” as a vehicle for the emerging fuzztone style of guitar-whanging, in which intolerable levels of electronic distortion would be used deliberately as an attention-getting gimmick. The Beatles had already piloted a fuzztone bass effect on the Rubber Soul album, but Allan brought this style to the lead guitar like a Duane Eddy on steroids, creating an irresistibly obnoxious sound well-suited to Peter Fonda’s character.

Propelled by the film’s success and influential L.A.-area airplay from disc jockey Casey Kasem (himself a lesser-light presence in the biker-flick genre), “Blues’ Theme” would, by 1967, establish Davie Allan & The Arrows as the country’s top-selling rock-instrumental group — a pretty sharp accomplishment for a repetitive piece that amounts to little more than a 12-bar blues with hog-revving sound effects. Although never again a huge hitmaker, Allan and his music continued to turn up in movies, including the wacky 1967 documentary, Mondo Hollywood.

– Review courtesy of Falcon Motorcycles

TRAILER