Motorpsycho

So its a Russ Meyer flick. For the uninitiated that means all sorts of exploitation nonsense thats usually pretty good fun. You do have to reconcile the fact that they are sexist, violent shlock shockers, heavy on the silliness and short on plot with the fact that you cant help enjoying them a bit. These films did good business in the sixties, with endless drive ins and dive theatres to service, but since then have fallen into obscurity. Some, like Tarantino favorite ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’ have since found an small but loyal audience willing to embrace their obvious issues in the name of some good, unwholesome fun. Motorpyscho has not been quite so lucky, probably because you have to endure a not insignificant amount of ‘rape as a plot device’ before you get to the good fun stuff – and lets be clear, I am not really sure any amount of good fun stuff legitimises that. The film follows three guys as they terrorise a small desert community as they pass through on their way to Vegas, but ‘who needs slot machines’ when you can party like its 1965 in the houses of unsuspecting young women. The tiny radio they carry with them provides the soundtrack, and its brilliant, surf rock with intermissions of classic porno groove when ever a female enters the frame. The poster for the film would have you believe its the achronanistic offspring of the wild one and easy rider, but in reality they bomb around on what are basically crappy mopeds for about half the film, then ditch them in favour of a jeep – fittingly for a film that cost less to make than an episode of thomas the tank engine (Ringo’s voice over fee excluded) the first credit actually thanks the company which provided the vehicles – as if somehow you might be compelled to rock up to your friends party shouting ‘check it out, I got the jeep from Motorpsycho!” Far out man. Anyway the bad guys make the mistake of angering the wrong man, by, you know, raping his wife. The inept police take a distinctly medieval approach to solving the crime which entirely involves telling husband that it aint so bad really, she probably was asking for it. Enraged husband drives off into the sunset for revenge. I mean I am removing all the minutie here, and thats where the fun really is. The film ends with a showdown between the husband, who is a veterinarian, and the motorpsycho, who it turns out is a veteran, its vet vs vet situation. Its genuinely interesting in that its the first time a Vietnam War veteran shows up in American film – the first in a long line of tragically unhelpful depictions of the veteran as a complete nutcase. If you have a spare 70 mins check this film out, no one cares enough about it to enforce copyrights on it so you can watch it on the internet – its worth it for three reasons, first to marvel at how far we have come in the fifty or so years since its release, and the second is to get down to that soundtrack and wish your name was something cool like Dante or Slick. The third? The snake bite scene will blow your mind and crack you up at the same time, man.  

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