Psychomania (1973)


I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a fan of biker movies. I’ve seen a very small number of them but i’m certainly not in the cult of motorcycles. I think motorcycles are neat and all but the exploitation films of the 60’s and 70’s usually leave me cold. The idea just doesn’t float my boat usually. However, I have heard of Psychomania and it’s reputation has always piqued my interest, though not enough to go out of my way to see it. Thanks to Arrow, I finally dug in to see what all the hub bub was about.

The Living Dead are a biker gang in England. They’re young, they drive triumphs, and they’ve got snazzy helmets that looks like skulls. They enjoy breaking the law and generally being nogoodniks. Their leader is Tom, the son of a medium that is firmly entrenched in the occult. Her butler is too. They have seances in their palatial home adorned with the most up do to date 70’s artwork and furniture. Tom learns a secret of occult knowledge: if you die, fully expecting to come back to life, you will! He kills himself in spectacular fashion. He comes back invulnerable, beautiful, and dangerous. Soon the rest of the gang follows suit and truly become the living dead. The trouble is they come back bad. Well, more bad I suppose, giving too much attention themselves and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Also they kill people. So what happens when you dabble in the occult and make the dark arts look bad? Well, watch the movie and find out because I’m not going to spoil it.

As I said, I’m not a big fan of the genre of biker flicks and honestly occult stuff isn’t that high on my list either. Give me a creature feature any day. That said I enjoyed the vibe of this flick. Even at an average run time of 90 minutes, the film takes it’s time getting to where it’s going. Therein lies the vibe of the movie. A decidedly Euro horror vibe that is largely created through music and mood rather than action or graphic violence. I’ll be honest and admit I was bummed that the crew came back looking exactly the same. I was hoping they would look like some kind of bipedal creatures riding motorcycles (there’s that love of monsters rearing it’s head) but alas there is really no visual difference in them. We do get a bit of fun biker footage but even that isn’t the focus of the film really. It’s more about the power of evil and the true evil that lives in the hearts of those that have no compassion for others. Did I love it? No. But I didn’t really expect that I would. It’s outside of my wheelhouse.

The film itself looks fantastic and true to Arrow’s name, I doubt the film has ever looked better. The blacks are rich and dark, the colors solid. The print is in great condition and the audio is fantastic. The film got a ground up restoration, and it shows. The movie also features a bevy of special features including cast interviews, archive interviews, an interview with the guy that sings the folk song in the movie, and even a special feature on the company that supplied the leather jackets in the movie! Once again Arrow has put out a beautifully restored film that is stacked with features. They even ported over the Severin special features from their dvd so this is truly an upgrade.

If you’re a fan of the film, this is a buy for sure. The image quality is great as is the music. It’s a fresh restoration and the film has never looked this good. The disc is stacked with special features so you’ll get plenty of bonus too. If you enjoy cult Euro films from the 70’s, you’ll likely enjoy this, especially if you love British exploitation. If you like biker movies, you’ll dig it too.