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Camelot is a state of mind!

November 28, 2011

Knightriders (1981)

Tuesday, November 29th

Film starts at 9pm

Otto’s Shrunken Head

538 East 14st (between Ave A & B)

As always, free popcorn and $2 Vehicular Bingo for prizes!

Anyway, it’s what I do. Fall off bikes is what I do

Billy (Ed Harris) leads a traveling troupe that jousts on motorcycles. “King William”, as he styles himself, tries to lead the troupe according to his Arthurian ideals. However, the constant pressure of balancing those ideals against the realities and financial pressures of running the organization are beginning to strain the group.

Way you get knocked around, you’re bound to have some weird dreams, Billy.

Billy is also plagued by a recurring dream of a black bird. Tensions are exacerbated by Billy’s constantly pushing himself despite being injured, and the arrival of a promoter named Bontempi (Martin Ferrero), who wants to represent the troupe.

This is like Evil Kneivel see, It’s not what we’re doing here

After Billy spends a night in jail watching a member of his troupe beaten because Billy has refused a payoff to a corrupt local cop, Billy returns to the fairground where the troupe is next to perform and is shocked that some members want to join with the promoter. His sense of betrayal is heightened when his queen, Linet (Amy Ingersoll), admits that her feelings for him may not be the reason she remains with the troupe. Things come to a head after Morgan (Tom Savini), leader of the dissident faction who believes he should be king, wins the day’s tournament and a melee breaks out between the troupe and rowdy members of the crowd.

I’m not trying to be a hero…I’m fighting the dragon

Billy faces an Indian rider (Albert Amerson) with a black eagle crest on his breast plate, the black bird of his dreams. Billy defeats the Indian but aggravates his injury. Morgan and several other riders leave the troupe to follow Bontempi. Billy’s loyal supporter Alan (Gary Lahti) also departs with his ladyfriend Julie (Patricia Tallman) and friend Bors (Harold Wayne Jones) to try to sort out his emotions. Billy and the remainder of the troupe settle at the fairground to await the dissidents’ return.

I don’t know what i’m gonna do. I just need to take a ride

Morgan’s riders succumb to infighting. Alan finds Morgan and helps him realize that there can only be one king and that he cannot simply leave and establish his own kingdom. Morgan and his riders return to challenge for the crown. In a pitched battle between Morgan’s forces and Billy’s, led by Alan, Morgan is victorious. Billy crowns him king and Morgan crowns the woman he now realizes he loves, Angie (Christine Forrest), as his queen.

If you promise to sit on your ass and stay out of the way, there’s some of us still willing to fight for ya.

Morgan tells the promoter to tear up the contracts. Linet finds succor, with Billy’s blessing, with Alan. Billy leaves the troupe, accompanied by the Indian, and returns to thrash the crooked cop as he had earlier vowed. While riding again, Billy, weak and hallucinatory from loss of blood from his injury, is struck and killed by a truck. The troupe gathers to say farewell to its fallen friend and king.

Aw shit, Morgan. Badcraziness.

A subplot deals with Pippin (Warner Shook) coming to terms with his homosexuality and finding love with Punch (Randy Kovitz).

Thematically, the story reflects the choice many artists make between a “pure” expression of their vision (whatever it may be), and compromise to achieve commercial success. As an independent director of mostly low-budget films, George Romero is clearly sympathetic to the artist.

– This week’s review courtesy of Wikipedia

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