Special thanks once again to Balladeer’s Blog’s Official Movie Hostess, the maddeningly lovely Casey James. Not only does she embody everything that men and women dream about but she also enjoys bad movies! Casey’s beauty, brains and ability to kick the butt of anyone who gets out of line with her make her the ideal hostess for a look at bizarre biker films. For information on how to follow Casey’s antics even further read on:
WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS (1971) – You just knew this was the movie I would start with. A biker gang hassles a group of Satanists in the usual biker way in films. The Satanists get revenge by cursing some of the bikers to start turning into werewolves and preying on the others. Werewolves on Wheels gets worse as it goes along and degenerates into a VERY weird acid trip of a horror movie before completely collapsing in its final minutes. Severn Darden plays the lead Satanist and the biker gang “boasts” Barry “Eve of Destruction” Maguire and Billy “Father Knows Best” Gray among its members.
MOTORCYCLE SQUAD (1937) – This neglected little honey is one of the earliest, if not THE earliest, biker films. Kane Richmond and Wynne Gibson star in a story about a motorcycle cop who is dishonorably discharged from the police force as part of a ruse to send him undercover. Seems a pack of motorcycle-riding crooks are at large and our hero’s skill with a chopper makes him the ideal next recruit for their gang, all the better to bring them down.
With my weird sense of humor I get a huge kick out of this film’s cleaned-up 1930’s version of what would become biker movie tropes in later decades. Motorcycle Squad uses motorbikes in the same gimmicky way that Murder By Television used nascent tv technology and Radar Secret Service used radar. Text-Message Squad would be a modern-day equivalent, maybe featuring a cop going undercover to bring down Flash-Mobs.
PSYCHOMANIA (1973) – Nicky Henson stars in this British horror film about a motorcycle gang which makes a pact with Satan. The various members kill themselves in assorted gruesome ways and then come back from the dead as invincible marauders who can’t be killed since they’re already dead. The hilariously petty acts of vandalism the bikers commit with their newfound immortality are good for a few unintentional laughs. Grocery stores look out! George Sanders joined the likes of Bela Lugosi, Veronica Lake and Michael Rennie in having a cult turkey like this be their final screen appearance. The venerable Sanders commited suicide after making this movie, while Roger Moore walks around alive to this very day. Makes ya think, doesn’t it?
THE SIDEHACKERS (1969) – Ross Hagen was the poor man’s William “Big Bill” Smith when it came to biker films. In this flick Hagen portrays Vince Rommel (Seriously. Rommel.), a former carousing biker trying to go straight with a five day a week job. In other words, working “Five the Hard Way“, the movie’s alternate title. Rommel (LMFAO) runs a motorcycle repair shop with a friend and is looking to marry a Standard Movie Blonde while also competing in “Sidehack Racing”, a laughably pointless and very silly-looking attempt at a motocross “sport”.
Sidehacking, which went on to become the hugely successful 1970’s equivalent of the X-Games (I’m kidding), brings Rommel (LMFAO) to the attention of J.C. (Michael Pataki). J.C. runs a drug-addled kind of biker stunt show and wants Rommel (LMFAO) to incorporate Sidehacking into the act, presumably as comic relief. Rommel (LMFAO) refuses the offer and also spurns J.C.’s lady, inciting a rape and murder as well as a deadly quest for vengeance, all of which the movie makes unintentionally HILARIOUS.
BLACK ANGELS (1970) – The African-American biker gang in this movie is NOT called the Black Angels, they’re called the Choppers and they clash with a white biker gang called Satan’s Serpents. Both the whites and the blacks are presented in the lowest, most stereotypical way imaginable and that makes the movie a lot of fun to laugh at. The Lieutenant Harper song is OUT THERE.
This orgy of tastelessness features gratuitous gay-bashing, nun-hassling, two on one rape, drug-taking, boozing and incredibly lame rock songs. Some of the biker chase scenes are obviously sped-up to make them seem faster and more dangerous but all it really accomplishes is making those scenes look like something from Benny Hill. The most ineptly staged fight scenes in cinema history are also on display in this surreally bad film which was also released under the title Black Bikers From Hell. And did I mention the raccoons and the mountain lion?
SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (1968) Herschell Gordon Lewis presents a biker movie as only he can, complete with a beheading and a character getting dragged on concrete behind a motorcycle until their face resembles ground chuck .. well, papier-mache ground chuck with caro syrup on it. The movie features an all-female biker gang called the Maneaters and a title song with great lyrics like “We are the hellcats nobody liiiiiikes/ Maneaters on motor biiiikes”. They just don’t write them like that anymore!
On top of the usual biker mayhem our heroines flaunt a “stud line” where men line up to be bedded and the winner of the Maneaters’ latest race always gets first pick. Since this was a non-Hollywood movie the female protagonist winds up choosing to continue her life as a biker at movie’s end and turns her back on her Bland White Fiancee.
DARKTOWN STRUTTERS (1974) Exploitation filmmakers figured if female bikers and black bikers are good for a quick buck, then bikers who are black AND female must be worth their weight in gold, baby! Syreena leads her three-wheeled biker gang into inner-city Los Angeles where they clash with racist cops and try to get to the bottom of a rash of disappearances plaguing black neighborhoods.
This surreal satire also pits our heroines against a white villain who owns a plantation in L.A. and who is behind the disappearances. Seems he’s kidnapping African-Americans to serve their ribs in his chain of restaurants and has an even uglier master plan in mind. For my full-length review click here: https://glitternight.com/2012/03/10/eight-blaxploitation-films-that-deserve-a-closer-look/
CHROME AND HOT LEATHER (1971) THE Marvin Gaye made his big-screen debut in this relentlessly absurd movie. When a Green Beret’s fiancee (played by THE Cheryl Ladd) is killed he and some of his service buddies pose as bikers to track down the motorcycle gang responsible for her death. Words cannot describe how enjoyably awful this movie is from start to finish.
Bad acting, bad script, bad rock songs, bad action scenes, you name it, this bomb has it! In the finale our heroes use stolen Army weaponry to bombard the bikers into submission. The cast is a trivia lover’s dream come true, reuniting William “Big Bill” Smith with Laredo co-star Peter Brown and also featuring Bobby “Boris” Pickett, Erik Estrada, Kathy Baumann, Dan Haggerty, Lee Frost and Wes Bishop (Joey Bishop’s son).
BIGFOOT (1970) – Bikers battle Sasquatch!This neglected landmark in Golden Turkey history unites nearly all the bad movie Mafia from the American Southwest and throws in Haji, Doodles Weaver and a few Mitchums for good measure. Its crowning choice in casting finds Balladeer’s Blog’s buddy John “He’s probably even in the Zapruder Film if you look hard enough” Carradine along for the ride.
The cliques of Robert Slatzer, Coleman Francis, Tony Houston and others are well-represented throughout this movie, with half the cast of The Hellcats turning up at some point. Bikers, forest rangers, female skydivers, skinnydippers and side-show con-men all run afoul of a VERY lame rendition of Bigfoot, a conflict climaxing in the funniest faux-explosion you’ve ever witnessed!
THE BLACK SIX (1973) -The story of an African-American biker gang portrayed by a half-dozen big names from the NFL, like Mean Joe Greene, Mercury Morris, Gene Washington and others. The Black Six roam the American south building homes for poor people (and Jimmy Carter thought it was all HIS idea) and clashing with redneck racists.
This is a very educational film which taught me things like: a) even small towns in the south have shuck and jive pimps, in this case a guy called Copperhead, b) redneck diners stock their jukeboxes with soul tunes but their patrons will inflict grievous bodily harm on African-Americans who actually PLAY those tunes, c) the already laughable cliche of a black kid being good at football can be made even funnier by having the young man play the unexciting position of place-kicker (“the best on the team” the coach eulogized the slain young man as I laughed myself unconscious), d) black bikers can kill literally HUNDREDS (yes, hundreds) of white racist bikers with no legal repercussions and e) “Honky better watch out! Hassle a Brother and the Black Six will return!” Any questions?
HEX (1973) – Hex fuses biker horror-films with western horror-films and is set in a time period even earlier than Motorcycle Squad! Shortly after World War One a group of former flying aces from the war have formed a biker gang, riding the American West on 1919-1920-vintage motorcycles. Their plan is to head for Hollywood to become stunt pilots in silent movies about WWI fighter pilots. That plan gets derailed in the Nebraska town of Bingo.
Our bikers battle with hostile locals led by Dan Haggerty, then seek shelter with a pair of sultry sisters, one of whom is an expert in the Native American sorcery taught to her by her father. The bikers are horny of course and Oriole, the witch-sister (Cristina Raines), uses her dark power to start knocking off the intruders. Also starring are Keith Carradine, Scot Glenn, Robert Walker Jr and Gary Busey, fresh off his stint as second-banana on the neglected Tulsa movie host show Mazeppa. For my full-length review click here: https://glitternight.com/2011/10/01/bad-movie-page-hex-1973/
THE LOSERS (1970) – Two of the gods of biker cinema, William “Big Bill” Smith and Adam Roarke, star in a film which takes a minor footnote in history and RUNS with it! In real life the Hell’s Angels were for a time clashing with Vietnam War protestors whom the Angels considered cowards for not wanting to fight in the conflict. Peace was negotiated between the two parties by Ken Keasey and Hunter S Thompson if you believe Thompson’s book on the Hell’s Angels and Thompson’s biography.
To make it clear that the Hell’s Angels still disagreed with the protestors’ position on the war even though they had ceased beating them up, Sonny Barger, the Angels’ “Maximum Leader” at the time, released a public statement offering the services of the Hell’s Angels as “a gorilla (sic) force” (LMAO) in the war. LBJ and Nixon strangely declined to take Barger up on the offer but director Jack Starrett made it the center of this classic bomb.
Hell’s Angels are serving as covert operatives in Vietnam and Cambodia, riding their motorcycles into action despite the fact that such vehicles would be USELESS in the jungle. And you thought the Phoenix Project was a bad idea! When the Angels are sent to free a captured presidential advisor they find themselves betrayed and left to die by U.S. politicians with their own agenda.
THE PINK ANGELS (1971) – A group of gay bikers take center stage in this movie that is so bizarre it must be seen to be believed. It’s NOT a gay-bashing movie because the Pink Angels are the good guys, who endure being hassled by cops and macho bikers when they’re not hassling people themselves, like old ladies in grocery stores and hunky male hitchhikers. The movie opens with some of the strangest imagery this side of Glen or Glenda and doesn’t let up on the weirdness the rest of the way.
See Dan Haggerty in pigtails and lipstick! See cult stars Michael Pataki, Tom Basham and John Alderman in action in one film! See sex scenes even Russ Meyer would have deemed too damn weird to be committed to film! The Pink Angels is one of those films that remained unfinished and were then combined with new and unrelated footage that the filmmakers hilariously attempted to pretend was part of the original flick. (Think of They Saved Hitler’s Brain and Monster-A-Go-Go among others). The linking footage depicts our heroes as pawns in a homophobic general’s plot to trap and kill gay people. Based on a play by Tennessee Williams (I’m kidding!) For my full review click here: https://glitternight.com/2011/06/21/bad-movie-page-the-pink-angels-1971/
FOR MORE MOVIES WITH CASEY JAMES – https://glitternight.com/2013/05/13/bad-movies-sex-symbol-casey-james-and-a-quick-look-at-some-of-the-most-notorious/
FOR THE WILDEST MOVIE REVIEWS WITH CASEY AT HER SEXIEST – https://glitternight.com/2013/07/21/push-the-envelope-please-sex-symbol-casey-james-and-horror-film-directors-who-pushed-the-envelope/
FOR MORE BAD MOVIES: https://glitternight.com/bad-movies/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.