Psychomania (1973)

OK, I’m flummoxed. While I pretty much knew what Psychomania was about—motorcycle gang dies, returns from dead, terrorises people, etc—I was much less prepared for the kind of eccentric way in which it would go about depicting said story (although I can’t quite describe what I mean by “eccentric” here). There is a theory that the film was intended as a comedy, of a markedly peculiar sort to be certain, and after seeing it I’m inclined to think that’s the only way in which it makes sense, insofar as it does at all… apart from certain not-unimportant scenes whose actual meaning elude me (particularly the climax), the bikers’ scheme is frankly odd: to die with the express intent of returning to life. Admittedly, once you do this you become immortal, but even so, how do these kids use their immortality? By essentially being a pack of arseholes on bikes, just like they were when they were alive… And they’re kind of odd for a motorcycle mob, too, seemingly middle-to-upper class as they are… and having the gang name written on the back on their jackets is one thing, but surely having it written in pink is another. Still, if it was meant as a comedy or spoof of this sort of thing, it gives remarkably few indications of it apart from the rather astounding suicide montage as the gang members hilariously wipe themselves out in assorted ways. The motorcycle action is pretty neat, and there is some actually clever stuff in the film (that 360 degree pan around the morgue is kind of inspired, subtle enough that it took me a moment to actually work out what happens at the end of it), and other stuff that’s decidedly rum too. Curious indeed. I think I kind of liked Psychomania but I’m not sure; next time I watch it I’ll treat it as a comedy from the beginning to see how it goes down then…

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One thought on “Psychomania (1973)

  1. Bonjour Tristesse December 9, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Can’t believe I haven’t heard of this one before. As a Brit-bike lover, I definitely have to find it.

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