Monster of the Day #1671

Ah, bikers and horror. One of the oddest little mini-trends of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    Probably better known as “Psychomania.” To quote Michael Weldon, “George Sanders killed himself shortly after making this movie, but did not return on a motorcycle.”

  • sandra

    I remember that movie. I think the original title was The Frog, which was a terrible name for a horror film. The script was very weird: George Sanders plays a butler who is apparently Satan, and it ends with Beryl Reid turning into a frog ( hence the title) while a pack of undead bikers turn into standing stones !

  • Eric Hinkle

    The plot certainly sounds original.

  • zombiewhacker

    Death Wheelers, aka Psychomania, was written by Arnaud D’Usseau and Julian Halevy, the screenwriting team behind Horror Express.

    Whereas Horror Express has gone on to become something of a horror cult classic, (“We’re British, you know!”) Death Wheelers remains something of an oddity. I’m not even sure I would call it a guilty pleasure. It’s not a truly bad movie, but it’s certainly not a good one, either. Unlike the script in Express, the dialogue falls flat here, and there’s no Lee-Cushing chemistry on hand to breathe life into the proceedings, so to speak.

    (George Sanders, to his credit, plays it straight and does makes an effort, but it’s not enough. I always liked Sanders and I’m sorry to know he was so very tormented in real life.)

    But the most distancing thing about Death Wheelers is how nihilistic it is, even for a 70s biker movie. (Running over a baby in a carriage with a motorcycle? Dude, seriously?)

    But I will credit the movie for one of the most unique and bizarre endings I’ve ever seen in a horror film… heck, in any film period. Kudos there, for sure.

  • bgbear_rnh

    Running over a baby in a carriage with a motorcycle?

    You want more Mad Max? That is how you get more Mad Max.

  • Rock Baker

    I’d forgotten about the baby. A good thing I did, I should think.

    You’re right about the ending. Little of the film stayed with me, but the ending was one element that did. The final image of the bikers transformed into monoliths was nearly iconic, in it’s way.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    OT, but it seems Conrad Brooks will now be played by stock footage from now on.

  • The Rev.

    Wow, I don’t remember the baby thing, either. It doesn’t surprise me, though, considering the movie’s nihilistic tone. Along with the weird but interesting ending, I also remember the sequences where the bikers all kill themselves. Some pretty good stuntwork, as I recall. That’s about it, though. As zombiewhacker said, it’s not bad, but not that good. Just kind of in the middle. It’s not something I’ll be rewatching much, if at all.

  • Rodford Smith

    Death Wheelers and the Chopper Bunch?

  • zombiewhacker

    Another moment that stayed with me was a scene earlier in the movie. Some poor bugger is walking past some Stonehenge-type monoliths in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly there comes the roar of a motorcycle engine, and the next thing the bugger knows, undead biker Nicky Henson is driving out of his own grave and plowing straight into him.

    Come to think of it, maybe I will watch this movie again someday. There’s just too much unique weirdness packed into ninety minutes that you don’t normally see in your everyday horror films.

  • maggie smith

    And as one British critic put it “Nicky Henson looks extremely fetching in his black leather biker’s gear.”