Blu-ray Review – Psychomania

Psychomania 

Director: Don Sharp

Screenplay: Arnaud d’Usseau and Julian Zimet

Minutes: 85

Year: 1973

Score: 5.67

Release: Arrow Video

There is something magical about motorcycle flicks. I don’t know if it is the rumble of the bikes or the forethought that there will definitely be a chase scene. There is a level of cool that drips off of many biker films that are not well manifested in other films. Psychomania is no different; you do have to chip away a little extra fluff to get to it though.

From Arrow Video:

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.

I am of two opinions of this film, first, it is not great; it is great on a B-level film. The acting is sub-par and the costumes, while interestingly designed, are poorly executed. Sometimes it is difficult to look beyond these issues since this is where your attention is drawn. But…

This is a great film to have on in the background and this is a valuable trait. Sometimes I like to have something running while I am doing something else. You do not need to be paying attention. The story is mildly interested the guts of the film are zombie bikers causing havoc in the burbs.

On top of that the score is superb if you like 1960’s and 70’s English psychedelic/progressive rock, and I do. There are some beyond basic biker chase scenes and really great photography.

Like most Arrow Video releases this is jam-packed with extra features. Most are talking head interviews but there are some interesting chats with the composers and musicians.

The bottom line is that this is not a film for a broad audience, which is not uncommon with Arrow Video releases. It is fun and I do recommend it to anyone who can see past obvious flaws.

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

Detailed Score

Director: 6 – Cinematography: 5 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 6 – Else performance: 2 – Score: 10 – Sound: 5 – Story: 9 – Script: 5 – Effects: 7 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 5 – Keeps interest: 7 – Lasting: 5

P.S. for an interesting double feature watch this along with Magnolia. Because frogs.

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