Friday, October 10, 2014

Werewolves on Wheels (1971)

Today's 31 Days of Horror (2014 Edition) takes a look at the obscure biker/horror film Werewolves on Wheels, a low-budget exploitation movie from 1971--where Easy Rider (1969) meets...werewolves.

Don't let the poster art fool you; it's not quite as cool as it looks. In my opinion, there are not enough actual werewolves riding motorcycles to justify the title. But it's an interesting glimpse into the life of "outlaw bikers" with a supernatural twist, mixing in a little black magic, Satanism, and a groovy soundtrack.


Adam and his old lady Helen
The "Devil's Advocates" gang are up to their usual no-good when their leader, Adam (Stephen Oliver), tells the superstitiously-inclined Tarot (Duece Barry) to break out his deck of cards (based on his nickname, you know his shtick). Although they mock his gift, Tarot reluctantly does a reading for Adam's girlfriend Helen (D.J. Anderson)--and the news isn't good. Her end is coming soon; it will be violent, and guided by Satan himself! Although everyone else dismisses the reading, Tarot worries about what's in store.
Beware of hooded figures bearing gifts!

Fate (or is it Satan?) intervenes when they decide to camp at the base of a hillside, high atop of which is an eerie temple adorned with a horned cross. Soon, a group of hooded figures descend to the biker camp, offering them food and drink--and they gleefully accept the provisions.

Big mistake! Turns out the gift-bearers are a group of Satan worshipers. Having been drugged, the gang awakes to find Helen missing. They eventually rescue her from the clutches of the cult--but their nightmare is just beginning.
Tarot knows the score, and it's heavy. You dig?

As they continue their journey, several gang members are brutally murdered. While Adam attributes the deaths to animal attacks, Tarot knows the score: someone is controlling the vibes, man!

But even he isn't prepared for the shock when they discover what is actually attacking the gang...


Overall, Werewolves on Wheels isn't a horrible film, but it does get silly at times--especially with its stereotypical 1970s black mass nonsense (and its inherent heavy-handed posturing). What's most interesting is the look into the life of biker gangs, and the relationship between Adam and Tarot; their "all for one, one for all" loving brotherhood erodes as the body count rises.

The Devil's Advocates
The werewolves are relegated to being a plot device, a supernatural element that results in the demise of the gang. Although there are some glimpses of the beasts throughout the film, they don't show up on-screen until the third act--yet they do shine in their brief appearance. And at least we get to see one of them riding a motorcycle!

A werewolf...on wheels!
Although clearly both cast and crew were under the influence at times when shooting the film, it didn't impact my overall enjoyment of this production. Yet genre fans, especially werewolf lovers, may not find enough here to sustain their interest.

Here's the official trailer:






Werewolves on Wheels
Directed by Michel Levesque. Written by David M. Kaufman & Michel Levesque. USA, 80 minutes.
South Street Films.

With Stephen Oliver as Adam, D.J. Anderson (Donna Anders) as Helen, Duece Berry (Gene Shane) as Tarot, William Gray as Pill, Gray Johnson as Movie, Barry McGuire as Scarf, Owen Orr as Mouse, Anna Lynn Brown as Shirley, Leonard Rogel as Store Owner, Severn Darden as One.

*** out of *****


31 Days of Horror (2014 edition) continues tomorrow...

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