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Motor Psycho wasn't exactly the Russ Meyer film I was hoping to see. Not that it's a bad movie far from it but it lacks the eccentric character of his other work. Motor Psycho is a raw drama about delicate topics such as rape, murder and revenge. The plot involves a battle between vets! A veterinarian's wife is raped by 3 relentless bikers (one of them being a Vietnam-veteran) and he goes after them, accompanied by a busty lady who has been widowed by the same gang. Normally, Meyer's films are a feast for all senses there's always something extravagant to discover or admire. Compared to that, Motor Psycho is pretty lame and it merely depends on two ultra-strong sequences and a delightful breast-parade (even though all female flesh remains covered). The sequence in which protagonist Alex Rocco forces his female companion to suck a snake's poison out of his leg is brilliant and so is the grotesque finale in which the main villain (Stephen Olivier) revives his Vietnam trauma's. I'd recommend the film for those parts alone! If you're a fan of the director's personal style, I advise you to check this film out It won't take much of your time anyway, since the film only last a good 70 minutes.
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
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
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
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
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.
Motor Psycho is pretty much your typical Russ Meyer film, and features all of his trademarks. We've got busty women, unlikely characters and over the top violence; and it's all filmed in stylish black and white. The film is a lot like the slightly earlier masterpiece 'Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!' in style and execution, although Motor Psycho doesn't feel as extravagant as that film. The running time is only just over seventy minutes, so the film also feels a little underdeveloped. The plot is rather simple and focuses on a gang of motorcyclists who see fit to rape and torture various women. However, they bite off more than they can chew when they rape a veterinarian's wife, and he decides to pursue them, along with a woman whose husband was also killed by the gang. Naturally, this film is extremely entertaining, although it doesn't have a great deal of credibility. There are some really good scenes in the film, but unfortunately; there are also some 'not so good' ones, which bring the whole piece down. Still, this is a more than decent way to spend your time, and if you like Russ Meyer; I'm sure you won't have a problem with this.
In some ways 'Motor Psycho' is almost like Russ Meyer's dummy run for his trash classic 'Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!', featuring three men on a rampage instead of three women, but this is a much darker and more serious movie than we generally expect from him. There is the wonderful Haji and a few buxom women on screen, but no outrageous sexual humour or camp touches. 'Motor Psycho' plays it fairly straight. The budget is non-existent, but the acting is pretty good, and despite Brahmin and pals not strictly being bikers you can see 'The Wild Angels' on the horizon, and maybe even 'The Last House On The Left'. Stephen Oliver plays disturbed Vietnam vet Brahmin who terrorizes several women in a desert community. Alex Rocco ('The Godfather', 'The Stunt Man') plays the local vet Cory Maddox, and after his wife Gail (Holle K. Winters) is raped and beaten by Brahmin and his sidekicks he vows revenge. While tracking the thugs down he meets Ruby Bonner (Haji) whose husband was recently murdered by them and they help each other when they get stranded in the desert. 'Motor Psycho' is a very gritty movie for the time, and surprisingly effective. A very good b-grade movie that deserves some more attention. Check it out.
Really. How could anyone ever come up with a better film title than "Motor Psycho?" No one ever will. Now that we've said that, let's get on with the story. Alex Rocco makes his film debut as veteranarian Corey Maddox, whose wife is violently raped by a gang of motorcycle hoods. Maddox tries to hunt down the gang to glean a little retribution, or perhaps bring the gang to justice. In the process, he meets Ruby Bonner, whose husband has been murdered by the same thugs. Ruby and Corey team up and get caught in a canyon where they are forced to violently confront the by-now-totally-nutso leader of the group, who happens to be a wacked-out Vietnam vet. This film is a little-known Meyer gem; you get the opportunity to see how good he really was at shot composition and editing. What's it got going for it? Awesome title, incredible sixties twangy guitar soundtrack, great period dialogue, a great tense snakebite scene, and perhaps the first example ever of a film character who's clearly spent too much time in the Vietnam jungle. Odd side note: everyone in this 1965 film drives a Toyota. Three out of four stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Originally planning to watch director Russ Meyer's Faster Pussy Cat
Kill! Kill!,I was surprised to find out,that despite Pussy Cat being
the next film in line in a Meyer boxset that I had picked up,Meyer had
actually made Motor Psycho as a follow up to his great Mudhoney,which
led to me getting prepared to find out how psychotic Meyer's motorist
Heading for a weekend of gambling,a biker gang quickly decide to change plans,when they notice a beautiful girl cross a road,who looks a lot more fun than any gambling table will ever be.Surrounding the girl on their bikes,the gangs fun is interrupted,when the woman's (Gail Maddox) husband Cory Maddox puts a stop to the gangs harassment,by pushing the gang leader off his biker,and taking Gail safely back to their house.
The next day:
Secretly following the Maddox's journey home,the gang wait for Cory to head off to work,so that they can get their revenge on him spoiling their fun.Kicking the door down and entering the house,the gang ignore Gail's pleas for them to leave,and instead push her to the ground,so that they can rape and beat her up.
Returning home from his work at a veterinary,Cory is horrified to find Gail brutally beaten.Talking to the local sheriff about the ruthless biker gang, (who Cory correctly suspects of raping and almost killing his wife) whilst Gail is being taken to the hospital,Cory is astonished to be told by the sheriff that he cant do anything at all about the gang problem.Angered over the sheriff's decision to sit on the fence,Cory decides that the only way to clear the town of this biker gang,is for him to take their motors out one by one.
View on the film:
Backed by a high kicking Surf Rock score by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter,co-writer/ (along with Hal Hooper,James Griffith,W.E. Sprague) co-producer/ (with his wife,Eve) co-editor/ (along with Charles G.Schelling) cinematography and director Russ Meyer mixes the stylish,dark shades-wearing.rough'n tumble world of the bikers with a surprisingly strong Western aspect,thanks to Meyer setting Cory's (played by a chiselled Alex Rocco) drive for revenge against a gritty,deserted desert,which along with the wonderfully "eyeless" bikers help to create a strong Western atmosphere,as Cory shows the bikers that he is no longer going to let the town to be ruled by outlaws.
Whilst the screenplay does seem to offer the chance for an exciting,psychotic ride,I was a bit disappointed to find that after the smooth Film Noir style opening,the writers really seemed to struggle in keeping the speed up before they hit an exciting Western open road,with Cory's search for the gang lacking any sense of trail-blazing action,which leads to the motor psycho's only being half as psychotic as they should have been.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Mad Max" being one of my absolutely favourite insane "on-wheels"
flicks, this one is of course inferior (the two bad guys out of the
trio are not bad enough, the drama is not as high-power as it gets in
"Mad Max", the good guy in this one is quite unimpressive if compared
to "Goose" or "Max", etc.). But the music is catchy, the hierarchy in
the wicked trio is shown well enough, and the confrontations are edgy
and realistic. Realistic till the final epic battle: still cannot
understand where this good man got the dynamite from. It really looked
ridiculous to me: all of a sudden there was a piece of TNT in the hands
of our snake-bitten hero and BOOM! Thus he saved the day. Besides, we
don't see the main villain being smashed to atoms by the explosion. And
some suspicion starts to gather in our minds: is he really dead? In
"Mad Max" there was no such incompleteness.
With more polish this movie could have been of "Mad Max" calibre.
A 7 out of 10 is a good mark. Thanks for attention.
"MOTOR PSYCHO" (1965) is not your typical Russ Meyer flick. Granted if you are a Meyer fan, you'll probably like this film ~ but you won't love it. The sparse plot concerns 3 bikers who rape a young woman and the husband who goes out for revenge. That's it for plot but the film looks good and is well edited. But the main problem is, if your a Russ Meyer lover, there just isn't enough boobies!!! Now Meyer's next film "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" put him on the map and if you pair the two together for your own at home double bill (MOTOR PSYCHO and FASTER PUSSYCAT) you will definitely have a good time! But "Motor Psycho" on its own is just typical 60s drive-in fodder~except that it made far better than more 60s drive-in features. Running in at just around 75 minutes you never get bored ~ you just keep waiting for things that just don't happen. If your a fan, see it! If not, you probably won't care for it! I love Russ Meyer films (and I'm gay) so your not getting a review from someone who likes films full of breasts! But in a Russ Meyer film, it's something you come expecting to see. If you've never seen a Russ Meyer film see "Faster Pussycat! KILL! KILL!." Now that is a fun night at the movies! INDEED!
Motor Psycho is probably the closest Russ Meyer ever got to making a
straight thriller. While earlier RM roughies like Lorna and Mudhoney
featured disturbing rape scenes, Motor Psycho features two implied gang
rapes. The second of which is a house invasion scene that wouldn't look
out of place in a 70's exploitation movie. Censorship laws of the time
meant that these scenes were never overly graphic; however, they are
definitely pushing the boundaries for the time and are undoubtedly
nasty. Similar to Lorna this film also has a distinct lack of humour,
with the odd exception such as the moment where Haji sucks the poison
out of Alex Rocco's leg in a clearly sexual way. But generally speaking
the sexual side of proceedings are more alluded to and there's really
next to no nudity on offer here, perhaps understandable given the often
Motor Psycho is perhaps most notable in Russ Meyer's canon for two things. Firstly for introducing Haji, who as ever puts in another feisty performance as a Cajun woman married to a slob played by Coleman Francis (director of the anti-classic Beast of Yucca Flats). Secondly, the movie is a clear precursor to the superior Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, RM conceived that latter movie as a version of Motor Psycho but with three female criminals. Ironically, given Pussycat's status nowadays as RM's most famous film, Motor Psycho was much more successful commercially on release. But the test of time has been kinder to Pussycat. Although a good film, what holds Motor Psycho back is that, with the exception of Haji, the ladies do not have significant roles. RM needs his women to take centre stage, and this is as male-dominated as an RM production gets. Acting is generally good, with Stephen Oliver convincing as an unhinged Vietnam vet, Meyer himself appearing as a hilariously un-PC law enforcement officer, Alex Rocco is decent as the hero and Haji is ace (just love that accent). So, in summary, not a classic Meyer but without doubt a superior 60's exploitation effort.
Motor Psycho is directed by the infamous bosomania director Russ Meyer.
But this film is no sexploitation movie, this is straight
beastploitation, whit no humour or campy stuff, as we know Meyer movies
Motor Psycho tells the story about a veterinarian Corey Maddox, his wife has been violent raped, by three violent motorcyclists who like raping other people's woman. Maddox decide to hunt down the motorcycle gang. On his way into the canyon he's teaming up with a Cajun woman, who's lost her husband, whose has been killed by the same gang. Maddox and Ruby (The Cajun woman) have now to face up whit the motorcycle gang and its leader who's happened to be a crazy Vietnam veteran.
Whit Motor Psycho Meyer shows us that he can make more than boob flicks. Motor Psycho is a frightening drama that should be taken seriously and as important work. The acting performances is mediocre, Alex Rocco (plays the character Corey Maddox) as the most famous one, he is best known for The Godfather. The lovely Ruby are being played by Haji, she played one of the three toughs in 'Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill' the following year.
I think this small and effective pictures works, and I it found interesting. Give it a try. 7 out of 10.
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