Saturday, October 9, 2010

Motorpsycho (1965)

Motorpsycho or Motor Psycho is a 1965 film by Russ Meyer. Made just before the better-known Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), the film explores similar themes of sex and violence. This film deals with a male motorcycle gang, unlike the female gang of go-go dancers in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The film is notable for containing one of the first portrayals of a disturbed Vietnam veteran character. A motorcycle gang of three young men, led by Vietnam War veteran Brahmin (Stephen Oliver), are headed for Las Vegas, but before they get there, they head straight into trouble. Brahmin spots a young woman sunbathing, creeps up on her and kisses her, and when she screams for her fisherman husband, he gets into a fight with the gang and loses. After ravaging the woman, they drive on, and encounter the wife of veterinarian Corey Maddox (Alex Rocco), who they menace on their bikes until Cory arrives and pushes them around. Brahmin won't let him get away with this, and waits for Cory to leave his house for work the next day, then makes his move...
Written by director Russ Meyer and William E. Sprague, this was another of Meyer's highly idiosyncratic gentlemen's entertainments, packed with all the sex and violence he could get away with in 1965. Often seen as a companion piece to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, instead of three aggressive young ladies as its main characters, it features this cut rate biker gang, and as such is the more conventional film. Presumably named Motor Psycho as a pun on "motorcycle", the actual bike riding sequences don't take up much of the film, and the villians ditch their transport (which resemble scooters) halfway through for a more ordinary truck. While Cory is out at a ranch tending to a horny client's horses - he is not tempted by her, being a one woman man - his wife is being viciously danced with by the gang who have broken into their house. Things turn nastier as the bikers rape her, and when Cory gets home he is shocked, furious and hellbent on revenge, knowing exactly who the culprits are. Cory is an interesting Meyer hero, a fine upstanding fellow who has high moral principles despite his resorting to violence for justice; compare him to the obnoxious police officer (played by Meyer, interestingly) at the scene who excuses the assault by saying, "Nothing happened to her that a woman ain't built for!", much to Cory's anger.

Meanwhile, an arguing, recently married couple are driving through the desert; he, Bonner (Coleman Francis of Beast of Yucca Flats fame), is an older man and she, Ruby (Haji), is a young Cajun woman. Both are dissatisfied with marriage, and when a flat tyre causes them to meet the biker gang, they come off the worst, with Brahmin shooting Bonner with his own rifle and firing at the escaping Ruby, who is knocked out by a bullet grazing her forehead. They steal the truck and Cory, in hot pursuit, discovers the bodies, his veterinary skills coming in handy to tend to the dazed Ruby. After that, the couple team up to track down the killers through the baking desert heat. Motor Psycho is notable for its war veteran baddie (as well as it's veterinary hero, I guess), being one of the first in a long line of exploitation movie psychotics, the crazed Vietnam soldier. It's not long before Brahmin is having flashbacks to the conflict, believing that the Commies are after him and he has to make a stand, even going as far as shooting a member of his own gang who attempts to leave. Being faithful, Cory never has anything going on with Ruby, and any sexual tension is channelled by a bizarre scene where Cory forces Ruby to suck the posion out of a rattlesnake bite. There's plenty of action, overripe dialogue and buxom women on offer here, but as Meyer films go it's not among his more memorable efforts, although the cast is pretty good. Music by Igo Kantor.
by Graeme Clark

73 MIN

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