Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Beryl Reed, George Sanders, Nicky Henson, Mary Larkin
Directed by Don Sharp
Distributed by Severin Films
There’s nothing finer than a good zombie movie although sometimes we get caught in the usual flesh-munching stereotypes. Believe it or not, there was a time when zombies didn’t want to eat you. Sometimes they just wanted to kill. Psychomania is home to a very distinct kind of zombie. They don’t rot. They don’t hunger. They just want to ride their motorcycles, commit murder, and cause mayhem in the grooviest of ways possible.
Tom Latham (Henson) is a very morbid and angsty young man. He and his motorcycle gang, The Living Dead, terrorize the British countryside with little fear of the law. But what if all fears could be laid by the wayside? What if Tom and his band could cheat death, come back from the grave via black magic, and be essentially indestructible? Can the local police stop this group of undead nogoodniks before they throw the world into a state of chaos? That’s pretty much the premise of the movie, and though flimsy it can be a lot of fun.
Psychomania is like no other zombie flick you’ll ever see, and there’s no doubt that traditionalists will find themselves way disappointed with the flick. However, it is a true product of its time, man. Released in the UK in 1973 under the title The Death Wheelers, this is about as freaky as it gets. None of the movie really makes much sense, but you just can’t help but dig on its free-wheelin’ weirdness. See a man buried while sitting on his chopper! See the undead stick it to those with a pulse by … well … performing stunts? See a hidden room filled with secrets and images of … um … giant frogs? This is truly a wild ride, kids, but it’s certainly not for everyone.
Though the original negative has been gone for many years, Severin Films has done a fine job of restoring the print that they were able to get their hands on to the finest possible quality. Let’s face it; not many companies would take the time to pay any attention to a movie like this so god bless them for embracing the truly trashy and out there corners of classic cinema.
But wait! That’s not all! We even get a fine selection of bonus material! First up we get an introduction by new Fangoria editor Chris Alexander, who takes the time to discuss the impact that Psychomania, the first film he ever bought, had on both his life and career. From there we get three featurettes regarding the making of the film and its soundtrack via interviews with cast and crew members including star Nicky Henson, who seems genuinely amused that this gem is still kicking around. Nothing groundbreaking for sure, but still.
While most likely to bore and disappoint hardcore zombie film fans, Psychomania is nothing short of a potpourri of bizarro lunacy that will have you laughing your ass off one moment and scratching your head in shocked “What the Fuck?” type disbelief the next.
3 out of 5 … I think.
3 1/2 out of 5
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