Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Did you ever see something for sale that made you think, "I want half of that, but I don't know as though I want the other half."? I do that with marshmallow-coated popcorn. I want the packets of marshmallow yumminess, but I don't really care for the popcorn.
Much like that dilemma, a number of years back, I found a Goodtimes VHS that had Alice, Sweet Alice on it. I had wanted to see that film for years as it was supposed to be a classic slasher flick (and it is better than classic, so go buy the DVD--NOW!!). But, on the same tape was what looked like a biker film called Psychomania. I like weird stuff as much as the rest, but I have never had a soft spot for biker films. I've watched a fair share of them, and some I even enjoyed more than the Doritos I ate while watching, but they leave me cold for the most part. So I debated buying this double-feature tape. But images of Paula Sheppard kept dancing through my head (go find Liquid Sky to understand my mania), so I bought the thing.
The first copy proved to be too weird even for my tastes, though I wish I still had it. There was an alternate audio track that played alongside the regular track and the distorted second track made the tape sound like it was possessed. Once swapped, everything worked fine.
I saw leather-clad Brits on Triumph motorbikes raising hell. I saw seances and frogs. I saw contracts with The Devil. I saw a guy from Doctor Who. The whole thing left me thinking, "Alice? Alice who?"
A delight in utter insanity from the opening shots of motorbikes weaving through a Stonehenge type locale. The basic story? A rough cycle gang called The Living Dead learn that they can kill themselves and return from the dead, just so they can be delinquents who can't die. The baffled police, who can't find their lily-white English arses, attempt to put an end of all the tomfoolery.
The tone is over the top, and if you take any of it serious for a second, go watch your Grey's Anatomy box set and leave the crap films to the real fans. My personal point of interest, other than the gleeful weirdness, is (you can see what's coming) the main female love interest in the film. I admit to an almost fetish-like interest in British women. It isn't the accent so much as how they can be quite plain looking yet come off as utterly sexy. So I carried away from this film, on my first viewing, the image of Mary Larkin, the poor girl known as Abby in this film. Almost looking like a boy, but still being attractive to the point of distracting me from the film's finer lunacies. As you can see from the included photos, she has aged into a very handsome woman.
Drooling aside, let's get down to business on the bargain end of this little number. A few years ago, there was, as part of the Euro-Shock Collection, a release of this film. I'm sure it was a very nice release, but I couldn't tell you because the thing sells for 50 bucks. Oh yeah, it has gone out of print and the greedy folks are out to milk that for all it is worth. But, my cheap friends, this is hope. Geneon, an offshoot of Pioneer, has been releasing some seriously weird films in bargain editions the last few years, and they have Psychomania in their catalog. The print is very clear. The sound is decent. But if you saw this through the Goodtimes edition, you will be thinking you are missing something, and you would be right. The Geneon edition is missing a seance sequence near the beginning that sets the tone for the supernatural storyline that follows. Frankly, I thought the scene slowed the film down when I originally saw the movie. Still, I would have liked to have bought a complete version, but it in no way takes anything away from this $6 little gem. Go forth and buy it.
And hands off Mary Larkin, mates, she's mine. Just don't tell me girlfriend.