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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: Psychomania

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Psychomania - 1972, Unrated
By Tom Doty

A gang of tough motorcyclists conquers death and proceeds to go on a mild rampage in this terror tale from the mod seventies.
As the film opens we meet a motorcycle gang calling themselves' The Living Dead.' These are some bad chaps who are making life miserable for the residents of their quaint English village. We witness one of their campaigns at the outset and see them run a motorist off the road before going to a cemetery to get drunk and catch a toad. Toad catching is a special skill of their leader, Tom, who brings the amphibious creature home as a present for his mum.
His mother turns out to be a mystic ho makes her bread by conducting the odd seance. Tom has been dabbling in the mystic arts and eventually figures out that one can achieve immortality by totally believing that they will live forever, as they are about to die. One suicide later we see that Tom is now a certified member of 'the Living Dead" and can wear the team jacket with pride.
A quaint bit precedes the scene where Tom returns where his fellow gang members conduct a ritual funeral. They place Tom in a deep grave, deep so he can sit atop his motorcycle. They then get their resident folksinger to sing a tune he has written for the occasion (rust me the lyrics are hilarious). That night a guy walks through the area and hears a motorcycle engine and is then treated to the bizarre sight of a cycle springing out of the earth-before it runs him over.
Next up Tom hits a pub and regrets being buried without funds. Luckily a young lady fancies his outlandish fashion sense (he rocks a white turtleneck with sleek leather pants). He hits her up for change to call his mother and let her know that she will have to keep his place setting, as he will be home for dinner. The bar girl turns out to be a dope who won't take no for an answer. Tom roughs her up and then goes on to kill everyone in the bar in a scene so vile they never got around to filming it-though we are treated to the sight of everyone's mangled corpse.
Pretty soon Tom convinces everyone in the gang to take a second initiation exam, which involves killing themselves. The resulting montage shows quite clearly what not to do when riding a cycle in high traffic. It also illustrates why one should not don weights before swimming and it makes very clear that one should never leap out of a thirty story building. Now you have an invincible gang of ruffians but their reign of terror is pretty lame and amounts to property damage, upsetting apple carts in supermarkets, and lots of off-screen killing.
Eventually Tom's mum must undo the spell, which turns hr into a toad. If that isn't weird enough for you her son and the gang morph into rocks as Tom's living girlfriend screeches.
This movie is one goofy goober but represents that anything was possible in the 70s-even in England. The motorcycle stunts are fun but the ancient cycles they use are pretty lame looking. That said there are some good performances here and the best actor award goes to George Sanders (The Saint) who plays the wizard/advisor of Tom's mother. He killed himself shortly after finishing the film but it would be a stretch to say this stinker was the cause. The disc includes interviews and he is fondly remembered by all as a fun guy who realized his glory days were well past him but had a sense of humor about it all.
Best Line: "Well, uh, I'm dead mother but apart from that I couldn't be better."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.

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