Friday, February 10, 2017
Blu-ray Review: PSYCHOMANIA (1973)
Directed by Don Sharp
Distributed by Arrow Films / MVD Entertainment Group
Here is another great example of a film I have always heard about and wanted to see, but just never got the chance to check it out. I was finally able to see PSYCHOMANIA thanks to the new Arrow Films release, but now that I have seen it, I have to question exactly why this film is considered a cult classic. Before I go any further, here is the film's basic plot courtesy of the MVD website:
The United States gave motorcycle-mad cinemagoers Easy Rider, The Wild One and The Wild Angels. The United Kingdom gave them Psychomania, the tale of zombie bikers run amok is southern England. The Living Dead are a delinquent biker gang, fond of causing havoc on British roadways and making out in graveyards. Gang leader Tom (Nicky Henson) also has a Satanist for a mother, and when he discovers the secret of immortality, the name of his motley crew takes on a more literal meaning... Directed by Hammer veteran Don Sharp (The Kiss of the Vampire, The Devil-Ship Pirates) and co-starring Beryl Reid (Dr. Phibes Rises Again) and George Sanders (Village of the Damned), Psychomania is a wonderfully offbeat gem, outlandish and eccentric in equal measure.
Ok, so when I first read the synopsis about zombie bikers, I was pretty excited. But while watching the film, I was sorely disappointed when the main biker, Tom, came back from the dead. He came back looking exactly like what he looked like before! I mean exactly. Not even some dirt in his hair! He looked as if he was still a normal living person. This was a huge issue with me because when I expect a zombie biker, I expect at least some rotting flesh. Is that too much to ask?
I also expected a much better plot/story from this film. What I got was a movie that mostly made no sense whatsoever, including a weird subplot about a magical frog. I honestly have no clue what that was all about. Some of the dialog was very weird as well, if not completely laughable at times.
You really can't categorize this film as a horror movie. There is nothing "horror" about it really. I really don't know how you would categorize this film, other than just plain weird!
The only thing this film really has going for it is the amazing 2K restoration that Arrow Films gave it. Arrow releases seem to always have excellent picture and sound quality, and this release is no different. It's just a shame they spent all this time and effort on such a sub-par film. This is only my opinion, though, so check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.
PSYCHOMANIA will be available on Blu-ray from Arrow Films on February 21st, and contains the following special features:
• 2K restoration from preservation negatives
• High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original 1.0 mono audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Brand-new interview with star Nicky Henson
• Return of the Living Dead, an archive featurette containing interviews actors Henson, Mary Larkin, Denis Gilmore, Roy Holder and Rocky Taylor
• Sound of Psychomania, an archive interview with composer John Cameron
• Riding Free, an archive interview with Riding Free singer Harvey Andrews
• Hell for Leather, a brand-new featurette on the company who supplied the film s costumes
• Remastering Psychomania, a look at the film s restoration from the original 35mm black and white separation masters
• Theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet containing writing by Vic Pratt, William Fowler and Andrew Roberts
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack