Thursday, July 20, 2017

#2,387. Werewolves on Wheels (1971)

Directed By: Michel Levesque

Starring: Steve Oliver, Donna Anders, Gene Shane

Tag line: "If you're hairy you belong on a motorbike!"

Trivia: A quote from this movie can be heard in the Rob Zombie's song "Sick Bubblegum"

Man, is this one trippy motion picture!

Directed by Michel Levesque (who co-wrote the script with David M, Kaufman), 1971’s Werewolves on Wheels tags along with a gang of bikers - known as the “Devil’s Advocates” - as they traverse the highways of California, looking for a little fun. Their leader, Adam (Stephen Oliver), is a free spirit whose girlfriend Helen (D.J. Anderson) rides with him. One of Adam’s closest pals is Tarot (Deuce Berry), who believes his trusty deck of Tarot cards can see into the future.

And what Tarot has seen recently has made him very, very nervous!

The trouble begins when the gang rests on the grounds of a monastery, where the monks, under the watchful eye of high priest “One” (Severn Darden), worship not God, but Satan. First they knock the bikers out with drugs, which they hid in bread and wine. Then, the monks lure Helen into the bowels of their priory, where, in a trance-like state, she participates in one of their rituals, dancing (naked) with a snake and eating bread that has been dipped in cat’s blood. When Adam wakes up and discovers Helen is missing, he and a few others storm the monastery, rescuing her before the ceremony is over.

But in the days that follow, Adam, Tarot, Helen, and a few others realize something strange is happening to them, an overwhelming feeling that intensifies when a handful of their gang are murdered overnight. What the gang doesn’t know is that the monks put a curse on the Devil's Advocates. Now, whenever the moon is full, several of their members become bloodthirsty werewolves!

In its opening scenes, Werewolves on Wheels has the look and feel of a typical biker movie. Along with the standard shots of the gang flying down the highway on their cycles, there’s a scene where the driver of a pickup truck runs one of them off the road, and is beaten to a pulp when the rest of the gang catches up to him.

The moment the action shifts to the monastery, however, Werewolves on Wheels shifts gears and becomes a bizarre supernatural horror film. The satanic ceremony performed by the monks is shown in detail, and, to be honest, it’s pretty damn cool!.

From that point on, Werewolves on Wheels is a combination of the two subgenres, blending elements of a biker film with a werewolf movie, complete with jump scares and plenty of gore. Yet what’s truly amazing is how effective this mix is, creating a unique hybrid of action and horror that is far too entertaining to ignore.

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