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January 10, 2011

Stone (1974)

Tuesday January 11th,

Film starts at 9pm

Otto’s Shrunken Head

538 E. 14th street (A & B)

This low budget independent “Ozploitation Bikie Flick” (Australian biker film) wasn’t much at the time. Made a bit too late, and on the wrong side of the planet to join the American outlaw biker obsession, not to mention being slammed by the critics, it wasn’t until a few years later (1979) when a little movie called Mad Max came out and Stone was rediscovered. Now critically acclaimed, though rarely seen. It is considered the “Bikie Bible” and an Australian 70’s classic.

Directed by Sandy Harbutt, Stone tells the tale of The Grave Diggers. An outlaw, Satanist bikie gang of renegades riding Kawasaki 900s, including the legendary Kawasaki Z1 (900), that are being picked off one by one in elaborate ways by a mysterious killer.

The opening scene shows the gang hitting up a demonstration to save the environment. Toad (Hugh Keays-Byrne, aka ‘Toecutter’ from ‘Mad Max’) wanders around the crowd tripping on acid, when a sniper starts shooting, killing gang member “Go Down”.

Riding 400 thick, all the local gangs gather for a fantastic bikie funeral procession (extras for this scene included members of the Sydney Hell’s Angels) for Go Down.

“SATAN!…Sweet prince of darkness, here comes one of yours”

Arriving at the cemetery, Undertaker, the gang’s leader gives the service and Go Down is buried standing up so he “won’t have to take any shit from the Evil One”

“Police fear an outbreak of bikie violence”

The Grave Diggers refuse to talk to the cops who question them to help find Go Down’s killer. Telling them to piss off, they head for the bar.

“Listen Pig. The reason we’re outlaws is because we’re against everything Pigs represent”

Stone (Ken Shorter), a straight shooting but hip, motorcycle riding cop rolls up to the bar later that night on a Norton and after some fuss, convinces the Grave Diggers to let him ride with them undercover to find out who the killer is.

“Stone, I’m sick of you pissing off on all of these boyscout adventures”

Leaving his posh girl behind, Stone heads off down the coast to the secret, seaside fortress where the gang is hiding out.

“Hey Undertaker, The Man’s here”

The lair is a den of iniquity. Sex, drugs, pinball, a gang leader that sleeps in a coffin by a beer fridge….But, after drag racing Stinky, Stone is quickly accepted and is inducted in the Grave Digger ritual of donning a filthy club jacket and having his ear pierced by Toad with a syringe, so that he can wear the symbolic skeleton earring.

“The way they danced up the side of those heavies’ heads…Fred Astaire would have lost his mind”

Asking around to find leads on who would want the gang dead, and thinking it will be a long list, Stone is surprised to find that the gang’s only enemy seems to be not the rival gang The Black Hawks, but instead, the local heavies who have the whole area mobbed up and have been trying to set the Grave Diggers up to keep them off their backs.

Trying to incite a gang war, the heavies leave Go Down’s helmet for the gang at a local bar “complements of the Black Hawks”. Enraged that Go Down has been dug up, they tear off to the cemetery…and walk right into an ambush….

Shots ring out. The Undertaker is killed. Toad is shot and realizes that he knew who the killer was all along but had been on so much acid that he thought he had been hallucinating. A bloody battle ensues and the killer is caught by the gang, but Stone, still the civil servant holds the gang off at gunpoint. Refusing to let them take care of business their way, he takes the killer in.

Back at home…

“They got something going for them…A sort of a sense of honor…That I’d like. They just up and do the sort of things that a lot of other people would like to be able to do….Yeah, I like the ol’ Grave Diggers…I’d be glad to see them anytime.”

Enter the grave Diggers. Stone goes to shake hands but they lunge, beat him to a bloody pulp, take back his vest, tear out the skeleton earring and leave him for dead in his girlfriends arms. Hysterical, she tries to call the cops but Stone whispers through the blood and missing teath “no cops, no cops”

Fade to black. Cut to bikies riding into the sunrise. Cue music. Roll the credits

– Corinna

“All law is based on violence, man, and any cat who breaks the law gets clobbered. Only difference is, our law only applies to us. Your law sends young blokes to somebody else’s country, to fight people they know nothing about. As long as you keep on shootin’ em, they hang medals on you. When you won’t shoot ‘em any more, they shut you in jail. And now somebody’s knocking off our mates, and you tell us we’re not supposed to do anything about it? That’s bullshit man.”
– Toad


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 9:31 AM


    Hugh Keyes-Bearne, the guy who plays Toad here (and also the Toecutter in Mad Max), is spectacular.


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