Members of the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club are being knocked off one by one, and someone needs to find out why! Sandy Harbutt's timeless Australian cult film about a bunch of renegades riding Kawasaki 900s.
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Members of the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club are being knocked off one by one, and someone needs to find out why! Sandy Harbutts timeless Australian cult film about a bunch of regegades riding Kawasaki 900s. Written by
Andrew Howard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A classic slice of 1970s biker exploitation. Raw and uneven, but extremely entertaining.
'Stone' was a labour of love for adman turned actor Sandy Harbutt, a biker enthusiast who took four years to get the script written by he and his pal Michael Robinson (who incidentally plays Pinball in the finished movie) on to the big screen. Many have slammed this movie as laughable, but I say look, it's a low budget exploitation movie with many non-actors in the cast, and if you take that into consideration it's a pretty good effort. Just compare it to an A.I.P. movie from roughly the same period and it's not that bad. The acting ranges from poor to above average, and while much of it is obviously dated and even a little silly at times, it manages to give a fairly realistic look at the 1970s Aussie outlaw bikie scene. It was certainly given the thumbs up by many Australian bikers at the time, and that's good enough for me. A few members of the supporting cast went on to bigger and better things (e.g. Helen Morse, Bill Hunter), but most of the major players were biker pals of Harbutt and have disappeared from the Australian acting industry. Ken Shorter (who looks a bit like the late Bon Scott at times) plays Stone, an undercover cop who joins The Grave Diggers bikie gang to try and find out who is killing them one by one. Shorter is one weak link in the movie. An ex-cop himself before acting he is pretty wooden and dull on screen. Much better is Harbutt himself who plays the Grave Diggers leader Undertaker. Also good is Rebecca Gilling who plays Undertaker's girl. Gilling was something of a TV sex symbol in the 1970s and looks beautiful, and yes, there is some brief but memorable full frontal nudity. The real stand out performance is by Hugh Keays-Byrne as Toad. Keays-Byrne was lured by Harbutt from a touring Shakespeare company and has lived and worked in Australia ever since, later playing Toecutter in 'Mad Max' and appearing in such cult favourites as 'The Man From Hong Kong', 'The Salute Of The Jugger' and 'Mad Dog Morgan'. He is terrific on screen from his opening acid freakout scene to his memorable final moments. Hugh Keays-Byrne I salute you! And I salute 'Stone', one of the most enjoyable movies ever made here in Australia. 'Stone' is a classic slice of 1970s biker exploitation and I highly recommend it.
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