It's there in my bio at the end of every article I write for MostlyFilm: "his specialist subjects are Asian cinema, cult movies and TV, and watching foreign films without the benefit of subtitles." So far in 2016, I've written quite a bit that falls into the first and last of those categories, but nothing that really counts as culty.
Well, today that changes, with a review I've written of Psychomania, one of the cultiest of British movies. Ignore the ridiculously inaccurate poster image over on the left there: if you have a vague memory of an undead Nicky Henson misbehaving on a motorcycle while his devil-worshipping mother Beryl Reid tuts in the background, then you've probably already seen Psychomania in a late night telly slot and doubted the evidence of your own eyes. (Much like I did when I first saw it over three decades ago, as you'll see.)
Psychomania is currently doing a tiny tour of UK cinemas as part of the Scalarama festival, but the big news is that it's just about to come out in a lavishly restored Blu-ray/DVD set with tons of bonus features. And speaking of bonus features, I've assembled a wee YouTube playlist of related bits and bobs as backup material for the MostlyFilm article.
- The original trailer for Psychomania, as cleaned up by the good people at the BFI who've done the same thing to the film.
- As noted in the MostlyFilm article, in the US the film was released under the title Death Wheelers. There doesn't seem to be an official American trailer for it, though - this one looks suspiciously home-made, though good with it.
- This trailer is definitely home-made: they've taken the soundtrack from the original UK trailer and recreated the visuals using scenes from Grand Theft Auto V, to astonishing effect. Let's just say liberties have been taken with the styling of Beryl Reid.
- Here's a clip from a BBC documentary on the subject of British B movies, presented by Matthew Sweet. Ignore the horrors of its aspect ratio and watch it for a delightful interview with Nicky Henson, who isn't at all impressed with Psychomania nowadays.
- Talk of cult movies on the BBC might make you wonder: isn't this just the sort of film that Alex Cox would have written a snarky intro for as part of the Moviedrome series? And yes, he did. His theory that either David Hare or Harold Pinter wrote the script doesn't appear to be a generally accepted one. Leave the clip running after his intro, and you'll get to see the rather cool opening titles of the film.
- A clip that I've already linked to in the review, but hey, you can't talk about Psychomania without mentioning Riding Free.
- On the subject of the film's music, the score was composed by John Cameron. He's written music for several films, most notably Kes: but he's probably best known (along with his band CCS) for the arrangement of Whole Lotta Love which opened Top Of The Pops for most of the seventies.
- As for the Psychomania score itself, it's still readily available from Trunk Records, so I won't link to any dodgy YouTube copies of it here. Instead, here's some recent footage of a band called The Sensation Seekers having a go at it for themselves.