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 in 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.
What We Thought:
Psychomania is an odd film. It was probably scary and groundbreaking for its time, but watching it today, it seems light and comical. Motorcycle hoodlums must have been really horrifying to people back in the day because there are so many films like this especially from the UK.
Part of me kind of liked it for its campiness and cheesiness. Part of me feels like it definitely doesn’t hold up well today. The look, the dialogue, the set design are very aged, but that’s to be expected.
It’s one of those films that you could recut today and make it a slapstick comedy. The “jumps” of the motorcycles in the park are kind of funny. They aren’t very spectacular. Same for the chase scenes in the city or on the road. I laughed watching the different ways they die as well.
I don’t know if I really understood how they came back to life either. The leader’s mother was into supernatural things and when he was buried a necklace was put in with him so that one sort of makes sense. But the others are just told to believe they will come back and they do. Unless I totally missed something, I didn’t get it.
This new restored Blu-ray looks solid though. It’s an older film so it doesn’t have the pristine look of digital movies of today, but the restoration is good. Audio is perfect as well with easy to hear dialogue and score. Bonus features include interviews and artwork.
Psychomania is probably a cult classic to a group of people out there. I wasn’t familiar with the movie to begin with, but it was an easy enough watch. I’m not sure if I’d watch it again, but if you are a fan, this new release is worth the upgrade.
* 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 Robert