From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Motorpsycho
Revision as of 00:46, 14 October 2019 by JKData (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Since interest in the nudie cuties of the early-to-mid 1960s was beginning to diminish, there were a few of the genre's filmmakers who were looking to stretch their wings into tackling other subject matter for exploitation cinema---namely onscreen violence.

Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman were already on the move, and in this case, not only would it be Russ Meyer who would give help in laying down the foundation for the up and coming biker genre, but he was also looking to give the world a type of film seldom seen at this point of time: the revenge/retribution movie. In short, the type of flick that gets accolades here at the GCDb.

Mpsycho3.jpg Motorpsychotop.jpeg

Alex Rocco plays Cory Maddox, a horse veterinarian whose wife, Gail (Holle K. Winters), gets assaulted and raped by a trio of bikers. Among the bikers is Slick (Thomas Scott, who seems to care more about his transistor radio than anything else going on around him), Dante (Joseph Cellini, the most oversexed member of the gang), and the nutty biker leader, Brahmin (Stephen Oliver), a deranged Vietnam vet (and this was only 1965!).

After the bikers leave the scene of the crime, they cross paths with a bickering married couple who are on their way to Hollywood: Ruby (Haji) and Harry (Coleman Francis). A flat tire on Harry's truck causes the interaction with Brahmin's gang and it isn't a surprise that Harry will wind up dead while Ruby gets left for dead. Cory, heated on the trail for vengeance, discovers Ruby and gives her an option, Go to Hollywood or help me kill those bastards! Maybe not in those exact words, but the point certainly comes across.

Mpsycho2.jpg Mpsycho1.jpg

The only big flaw in this movie was that there was virtually no build-up to the main rape/assault. Something that many genre films would focus on in the coming years. Here, it's just presented as a quick transition-wipe and we're already in the middle of the home invasion while Gail is getting slapped around and abused. We see at the film's beginning how disruptive and rebellious these bikers are when they're having their way with another hopeless couple, but aside from a brief run-in with Cory and Gail, there's no establishing of how the bikers were able to locate Cory's house and all the suspense is eliminated rather quickly. But that's just about it as far as complaints go. Sure, some can nitpick about the blandness of the story, but what we have here is the biker/revenge genre in it's early stages. We also have Russ Meyer at the helm adding his distinctive style of beautiful black & white cinematography, quick cuts, great music, witty dialogue, energetic performances and...Cleavage!

And we can't discuss a Meyer film without talking about its women, can we? Sharon Lee is at hand in a cameo. And though it's short appearance, it provides the film with some of it's most memorable imagery. And it's worth noting that Haji (A super sexy fan-favorite) is given perhaps the biggest monologue you're ever likely to see/hear when she explains to Cory about her Cajun background and love life. Speaking of Cory, it's a treat to see Alex Rocco in an early performance before he would soon graduate to mainstream success (i.e., The Godfather). I swear, nobody is a better yeller than this guy.

Mpsycho4.jpg Mpsycho5.jpg

I also quickly want to point out that the motor psycho himself, Steve Oliver would return once again in biker attire for the likes of Savage Abduction and Werewolves on Wheels. Even Rocco would eventually show up on a hog for Wild Riders! But getting back to Meyer, fans can't help but notice that some trademarks of his found in this film would soon be re-visited in Supervixens, such as the desert locales, rattlesnakes and dynamite!

Motor Psycho remains a mostly entertaining stepping-stone to a larger world of bikes, battles and babes. But even those that would follow couldn't duplicate what was accomplished here.

Reviewed by Laydback

  • Grindhouse Database Newsletter
  • Exploitation books
  • Kung fu movies
  • Giallo BluRay