Psychomania AKA-The Death Wheelers



Who’s in this?
Nicky Henson as Tom a shaggy leader of a motorcycle gang. He has had a steady career over the years doing quite a bit of British TV. For genre appearances he had a role in Witchfinder General with Vincent Price.

Mary Larkin as Abby the girlfriend of Tom. She worked fairly steady in the 1970’s but only has a few credits since then.

Anne Michelle as Jane another member of the Living Dead. She had fairly steady acting roles in the 70’s, but only a few things since then. For other genre films she was also in House of whipcord, Haunted and Virgin Witch (with her sister Vicki).

George Sanders as Shadwell the family butler, lover of frogs/toads and maybe more than that. Sanders had a great voice and was usually cast as villains. Perhaps most know for the Picture of Dorian Gray and for the voice of Shere Khan in Disney’s the Jungle Book. He was in a lot of movies and did more TV in the 1960’s (including playing Mr Freeze on Batman for a pair of episodes. Psychomania was his last film because he unfortunately committed suicide. He was also married to not one but two of Gabor sisters although not at the same time. I think he was brilliant in the conclusion of Village of the damned and I also feel that he absolutely stole the Jungle Book when he voiced Shere Khan.

Beryl Reid as Mrs. Latham-Tom’s mother. She is involved in the occult in some way. She actually did quite a bit of comedy early in her career mostly in TV and then moved on to films. She had a career that lasted six decades. Other genre films include Dr. Phibes rises again and the Beast in the cellar.

Robert Hardy as police as an Inspector who gets the case involving the Living Dead motorcycle gang and their crime spree. My mother loved British productions and one thing she frequently noted was “Robert Hardy is in everything”. He almost has been having been in shows and movies since the early 50’s and he is still going while he is now in his late 80’s. He has been in David Copperfield, All creatures great and small, Sense and sensibility and even played Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films. For other genre appearances he was in Hammer’s Demons of the mind and the 1994 version of Frankenstein. He also played Winston Churchill several times.

Let’s go cause grief for the locals! Wooowhooo!

What’s this about?
Tom leads a motorcycle gang complete with little motorcycles and jacket with their first names on the front. You know to help the coppers identify them should they be feeling a bit on the randy side. The gang rides through the local square where they terrorize street vendors and mothers with babies in strollers. Tom gets bored of this mortal life and decides to take a header of the bridge with the police in pursuit. Apparently he, his mom and Shadwell like Toads (I think and not frogs) and have links to the occult and Tom comes roaring back from the dead. Only now nothing can hurt him. He talks Jane and all the male members of the gang into one by one committing suicide so they can be immortal too. Hooray for death..and life again. However Abby holds out no wanting to off herself. Apparently Tom’s mom and Shadwell made a deal that all of this gang has to give up their lives. Which means Abby is holding up the whole thing and Shadwell would seem to be more than just a butler. Meanwhile Tom and the others go crazy with their power killing and smashing and the like. So now the police after them until they become victims as well. Abby fools Tom into thinking she had killed herself and came back. After the gang runs through grocery store knocking over every display possible Tom learns that Abby is not dead and that’s a problem. He tries to talk her into to crossing over, she says no way and he goes to kill her. Unfortunately he is a step too late as Tom’s mom and Shadwell have begun a ritual that will cause Tom, his mom and the undead gang members to all pay. Tom and the undead members turn to stone and Abby screams “aaahheeee”. Shadwell shows up to see the results and he seems happy. Roll the credits.

Negatives- Okay, the bad undead were arrogant and had a sticky end coming. Yet is was still hard to watch cool characters like Tom and Jane go all rocky while stick in the mud Abby lives on. I’ve read more than once from British viewers who say Robert Hardy’s accent in this film is awful. Not knowing the accent from that area I am not a good on that, but there must be something to it if several people to make note of it. There is no gore or sex so if you expecting those you may be let down.

Positives-I love British horror films from the mid 50’s to the mid 70’s and for me this film is a top ten. An over the top, unapologetic, tongue in cheek horror-comedy. The acting is as it should be from everyone involved. The pacing works well and the settings particularly the stone pillars are fitting. The early 70’s psych rock soundtrack is strong as well.

This is a great film that does a wonderful job combining horror, dark comedy and other elements into a very enjoyable package. I now watch this film every few months.

Jane is just hanging around.