British cinema has had its ups and downs. Horror films have certainly been the butt of many jokes with their overly cheesy storylines and aesthetics. After the great success of the Hammer studios lots of other companies were trying their luck with a new audience who were thirsty for blood and the supernatural. The 1970s was a time when some of these films were certainly disregarded by critics but are hailed as cult classics today. One of those is the 1973 horror biker film Psychomania.
Based on the themes of the occult and violence, this film’s plot is simple yet quite satisfying. As with many motorcycle clubs they have their leader and Tom Latham is just that, a leader in life and in death. He wants to follow in his Father’s footsteps and come back from the dead allowing him to live forever. His immortality influences the others in his group, named The Living Dead and they begin to follow him, one by one, each of them killing themselves in various ways in hope of becoming immortal. The real living dead. But not everything goes quite to plan.
Psychomania reeks of the British seventies culture. From the décor to the publican, the fashion to the unsightly architecture, this film is a real snapshot in time. The seventies was a time when people became fascinated by the occult and they were dabbling in rituals in hope of winning money or cursing an enemy. Psychomania encapsulates this whole time quite nicely.
The film was produced on a low budget and most of the scenes were shot in and around the Shepperton Studios. The opening shot of the bikers riding around those misty stones is quite an iconic image and one that sticks in your mind. Aptly named The Seven Witches stone circle, it was constructed especially for the film, its location isn’t far from the studios themselves. That rather awful looking shopping centre featured in the film has now been redeveloped. Like most films they have their fans who like to explore the locations but with this one, there isn’t much to see. However, if finding out film locations is your thing then check out this site for all the places that were used during the filming.
Psychomania isn’t scary and it won’t make you jump but it is a classic low budget film with a simple storyline. Combining biker culture, violence and the occult it is certainly something to check out if you dig that sort of thing.