Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers) (1973)


“A gang of young people call themselves the Living Dead. They terrorize the population from their small town. After an agreement with the devil, if they kill themselves firmly believing in it, they will survive and gain eternal life. Following their leader, they commit suicide one after the other, but things don’t necessarily turn out as expected…” — IMDb

Okay THIS WAS A WHOLE LOT OF FUN. I knew I was in for SOME kind of treat when it opens up with these grainy, gritty shots of The Living Dead riding through a foggy field on their bikes. Like, this movie is wayyy too cool for me.

It’s just a funny, silly movie, but it has some dramatic aspects as well. The scene with Tom (Nicky Henson) dancing with his mom is awesome and shortly after we realize she’s got connections with some dark forces and helps Tom make a pact with the devil so he and his fellow gang members can commit suicide and then come back from the dead — but only if they truly BELIEVE they will come back.

Tom is just carefree in the most destructive sense of the word, and very reminiscent of Alex from A Clockwork Orange. He’s all too excited to fly his motorcycle off a bridge so he can come back and TRULY be part of the living dead. His friends and fellow gang members give him THE MOST BADASS funeral ever — burying him upright, fully dressed, on his motorcycle. Shortly after a complete stranger is cutting through the site — referred to as The Seven Witches for the seven stone structures that represent, duh, seven witches who broke a pact with the devil — when he hears the TRULY creepy sound of a motorcycle enging revving under packed dirt. Out bursts Tom, ready as ever to truly fuck shit up.

Once the rest of the gang learns of this sweet deal, they’re eager to join him — all except Abby, his lady love. It’s fun to watch each gang member choose their own method of death — including one jumping out the window of a high rise as a police officer watches, truly sticking it to the man — and then they’re back in action, too, minus Abby who is way too wigged out by all of this.

Tom’s mother (played by Beryl Reid) is not psyched about any of this, especially after seeing how her son’s main goal in his second shot at “life” is just to be as violent and belligerent as he can, wasting no time between being brought back to life and murdering just a few folks at a local bar. So mom breaks her bargain with Lucifer and turns into a frog herself. Awesome. The rest of the gang, including Tom, are turned into stone right as he attempts to make Abby choose everlasting life with them or death, so now they can chill with the Seven Witches forever.

Truly just good, awful fun.

Rating: 7/10 | Director: Don Sharp | Writer: Julian Zimet, Arnaud d’Usseau | Music: John Cameron | Starring: George Sanders, Beryl Reid, Nicky Henson, Mary Larkin, Roy Holder

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