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Three bad boy motorcyclists get kicks raping other people's women and generally being a nuisance. When they rape a veterinarian's wife, he takes exception and pursues them, teaming up with a Cajun woman whose husband they killed. The leader of the gang, a Vietnam Vet, begins showing signs of being a few slices short of a loaf. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MOTORPSYCHO was made in 1965, the same year FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL was made. MOTORPSYCHO was made first and it's basically the male version of FASTER PUSSYCAT: three bad guys roaming the desert and looking for kicks. There are several plot points that are even identical between the two movies. But today, MOTORPSYCHO has been totally eclipsed by FASTER PUSSYCAT or BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. It's ironic because MOTORPSYCHO was a bigger hit than FASTER PUSSYCAT, the latter having flopped on its initial release. FASTER PUSSYCAT is now a bona fine cult hit while MOTORPSYCHO toils in near obscurity. And it's unfortunate because it's one of the grittiest Film Noir I've ever seen. It's a true pulp novel come to life. It's a combo of Orson Welles' A TOUCH OF EVIL and a countless Film Noir from the 1940s. But unlike TOUCH OF EVIL or the older Film Noir films, MOTORPSYCHO doesn't shy away from the violence or the "thrilling" aspects of the story.
Some might say the subject matter of rape is too serious to be used in a so-called exploitation film but Meyer handles it pretty well. It's still unpleasant at times (when the guys forces the wife to dance with them) but
the film never crosses the line. In fact, MOTORPSYCHO is a rare breed of movie: it depicts the actual disturbing subject and even exploits it (close-up of women's bodies) but doesn't go overboard with it as it never stray away from its story. The film keeps interest with its characters and situations until the very end. It's never overshadowed by its sensationalistic aspects. This is because some of the acting is pretty good and the stunning use of B&W photography (excellent composition from Russ Meyer himself) and the overall grittiness of the story. It's a pretty darn good feat for an exploitation film.
The acting from everyone is surprisingly good. Alex Rocco is excellent and believable. The bad guys are never over-the-top. The woman who played Rocco' wife, the beautiful Holle K Winters, is also excellent and believable. Her scenes when she's harassed by the three men feel authentic and are difficult to watch. Strangely enough, this was Holle's only movie. And then there's Haji. Haji is THE ultimate Femme Fatale ever put on screen. You can't help being attracted to her and know she's nothing but trouble. She's like a babe on the cover of a pulp novel come to life.
I prefer MOTORPSYCHO over FASTER PUSSYCAT, which is also a remarkably well made actioner but it's more campy and at times too over-the-top to be taken seriously, or BTVOTD, which is just plain stupid. MOTORPSYCHO has just the right amount of violence, grittiness and believability to make it feel like a great if overlooked Film Noir.
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