Saturday, May 16, 2009
Northville Cemetery Massacre (1976)
Directed by William Dear and Thomas L. Dyke.
Starring David Hyry and Craig Collicut.
If you're thinking that 1976 is a little late for a biker film, this was actually shot in 1972 (on 16mm film) and therefore is still steeped in that 60's counterculture vibe, much like Easy Rider, Vanishing Point etc.
Similar to those two aforementioned films, your sympathies are with the bikers which was a bit of a break from the usual motif in late 60's biker films. In fact, I would compare this more with something like Penelope Spheeris' 1984 film "Suburbia" which takes the viewpoint of punk rockers living in the barren wastelands of downtown L.A. during the peak of 80's hardcore. Just the very existence of the bikers (and in Suburbia, the punks) is enough to generate a small war from the cops and the rednecks looking to pin bogus crimes on them.
The trailer itself is decieving, basically reversing the sympathies and making it look like the town is defending itself against crazed bikers. But that's to be expected. It's easier to get butts in the seats for a classic vigilante style film.
But you don't have to be looking for political subtext to enjoy this film. At heart, it's still a fast moving and entertaining exploitation flick well worth tracking down. It's available from VCI on DVD in it's original full-frame (due to being filmed on 16mm) format.