The 1973 British horror movie Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers) is a very different kind of zombie movie. No one in it eats brains. There's no rotting corpse makeup or even much bloodshed; if you didn't know better, you wouldn't know which characters were dead and which were alive. This, of course, is very much the point. At a time when American exploitation filmmakers were turning out undead gut munchers and wild biker pictures, leave it to the Brits to combine the two genres into something totally unique and downright existential. I can't say as I've ever seen a movie quite like it.
Psychomania is such an unusual film. I guess it's technically a horror movie because it involves black magic and the reanimated dead, but there's nothing especially horrifying shown. The bikers come back intact and proceed to cause trouble, apparently influenced more by Alex and his droogs than by George Romero. It's the kind of movie that must have seemed destined for cult status immediately upon release; it's hard to characterize but speaks directly to a very specific audience. It comes by that cult status honestly, too, predating the kind of cynicism that would eventually drive filmmakers to try and engineer a midnight movie rather than letting the audience discover and embrace it on their own. Prior to this Arrow Blu-ray, the film wasn't really even on my radar, and yet I know some lifelong horror lovers (like Blumhouse's Rebekah McKendry) who include it on their list of all-time favorites. It's a movie that's weird and cool and totally charming.
Blu-ray release date: February 21, 2017
LCPM 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles: English (SDH)
Blu-ray Bonus Features:
Interview with star Nicky Henson
"Return of the Living Dead" archival featurette
"Sound of Psychomania" - archival interview with composer John Cameron
"Riding Free" - archival interview with Riding Free singer Harvey Andrews
"Hell for Leather" featurette on the film's costumes
"Remastering Psychomania," restoration featurette