Saturday, 12 July 2014

Psychomania (1973): Retro Zombie Biker Movie

Synopsis (from An annoying devil-worshipping British biker gang calling themselves "The Living Dead" decide to take their moniker to heart when their leader commits suicide and is brought back from the dead in an occult ritual, thanks to a Satanic pact. Realizing that becoming zombies could be even more fun than the usual day-to-day hell-raising, most of the gang follow suit -- throwing themselves off buildings, into traffic, walls, etc. Without the annoyance of death to contend with, the Living Dead become even more obnoxious than usual, leading to a pat solution from their leader's peeved mother (Beryl Reid). Outrageously dated and featuring loads of unintentional laughs, this is still the finest movie ever made about British zombie biker gangs and features the stately Reid turning into a GIANT FROG.

Two of John Cameron's pieces from the score—"Witch Hunt (Title Theme from the Film Psychomania)" and "Living Dead (Theme from the Film Psychomania)"— were released in 1973 as a 7" single on the Jam label, using the artist name "Frog." It wasn’t until 2003 that the cult status of the film and it’s iconic soundtrack were recognized and the film's soundtrack was released on LP and CD by Trunk Records. The original 1973  This Frog record was also reissued in 2011 by Spoke Records as a limited edition vinyl 7".

The film was released in the US under the title The Death Wheelers, also in 1973. There are two pretty good reviews of the film here and here.

I don't think that 2nd piece got on the soundtrack album. Probably the session musicians played it through and thought nothing of it, finishing up on a bit of dope as was their want in the 1970's. I do find it hauntingly beautiful though. That is, until you wake up from your dream to find veterinary Siegfried Farnon in the shape of a badly dubbed Robert Hardy by your bed. "Hallow.. Darrowby 385....."

By North Utsire

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