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Films: P is for...

Psychomania

Low-budget 1971 British film about a “sinister and menacing” (albeit middle-class) motorcycle gang called ‘The Living Dead’ who terrorise and wreak early 70’s havoc in the countryside and brand new concrete precincts of Borehamwood (mini skirt-wearing young Mums pushing Silver Cross prams are sent flying). The frog-loving bikers, convinced by their leader that in so doing they will have eternal life, kill themselves one by one, making for unforgettable viewing. A high point is the funeral of their leader, buried whilst still sitting, rigid, in leathers on his bike. During this odd spectacle, one of the gang members forgets that he’s meant to be a hard biker type, plays his acoustic guitar and sings a folk ditty about the temporarily deceased (“…and the world never knew his name/But the chosen few knew of his fame/Come join his company/Riding free…”) Not long afterwards, the roar of the “deceased”‘s bike engine and shifting of overlaid turf indeed signify that eternal life is his… but for how long? Nicky Henson leads, Beryl Reid plays his weird occult-loving Mum who lives in an amazing gothic-type house with splashes of early 70’s decor, George Sanders plays her scary butler, June Brown has a cameo as the grieving mum of one of the “deceased” gang members, herself the real-life sister of Vicki ‘Allo Allo’ Michelle.

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