UK | 1973 | 90 mins | PG
American gave motorcycle-mad cinemagoers EASY RIDER, THE WILD ONE and THE WILD ANGELS . . . and Britain gave them PSYCHOMANIA, a tale of zombie bikers run amok that feels like an alt-Earth version of SUSPIRIA. Meet the Living Dead: a co-ed biker gang terrorizing a small English village by chasing cars off the road, buzzing pedestrians, and sporting atrocious haircuts. That is, until their longhair leader discovers the secret of eternal life under the guidance of his frog-worshipping occultist mother. Directed by Hammer veteran Don Sharp (THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE) — and with character names like Hatchet and Chopped Meat, spectacular low budget effects and a ghoulish ambient psych score — PSYCHOMANIA delivers the goods.
Director: Don Sharp
Cast: Nicky Henson, George Sanders, Mary Larkin
The Living Dead are a delinquent biker gang, fond of causing havoc on British roadways and making out in graveyards. Gang leader Tom (Nicky Henson) also has a Satanist for a mother, and when he discovers the secret of immortality, the name of his motley crew takes on a more literal meaning…
Renamed THE DEATH WHEELERS for its US release, Hammer Studios director Don Sharp (KISS OF THE VAMPIRE) gleefully mashes up the biker gang flick with the Satanic Panic into a politely British and slightly surreal concoction. Even though the film deals with some dark issues like suicide, there’s an offbeat tongue-in-cheek vibe that’s prevalent throughout, mirroring the clash between its gothic trappings brushing up against a post-hippie modern world. Unpredictable and unhinged, PSYCHOMANIA is a fun trip on the road to the underworld! (STEVEN LANDRY)
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