Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Psychomania – 1973

Origin/Director: United Kingdom/Don Sharp

Viewings Tally: This is my third viewing in 4 years. I cannot promote the Letterboxd app enough: It connects you with movie geeks like me around the world and recommends oddities like this one. The cover photo art got me hooked the first time. It looked like an antecedent to Mad Max (1979).

Synopsis: A gang of young people call themselves the Living Dead. They terrorize the population from their small town. After an agreement with the devil, if they kill themselves firmly believing in it, they will survive and gain eternal life. Following their leader, they commit suicide one after the other, but things don’t necessarily turn out as expected… [Letterboxd]

Reely Bernie’s Take: Believe it or not, there’s a soft spot in my heart for this “so bad, it’s good” piece of sleaze. Hopefully, you can read the humor behind the synopsis because Psychomania does not aim to make you laugh; it’s just so hilariously bad that it does. The question is: Did these wavy-haired British chaps think they were making a “scary movie” when they rode around the Walton-on-Thames market center on their bikes in their silly skull helmets?

Just look at the links below. I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not the only person obsessed with who these actors were and where they filmed this little monstrocity. I learned that Walton-on-Thames is a market town on the south bank of the River Thames in the Elmbridge borough of Surrey, England. Oh, and they call it market “centre,” not “center.” (Visiting England is #1 on my “bucket list.” Have any of my UK readers been to these areas?)  

http://psychomania.bondle.co.uk/

http://www.reelstreets.com/films/psychomania/

Despite the exploitative, mixed-bag, slapdash result, something must be said about the passion that went behind this “project.” Legendary British icon, George Sanders, was embarrassed to be a part of it. It was his last movie because he committed suicide shortly after. His note said he was too “bored.”

That’s how bad Psychomania is: It “bored” one of its actors to suicide.

Well, turn all you want in your grave, Mr. Sanders, because you were part of a horror-cult film that continues to charm with age and a longing to go back in time (and that field where they shot the first scene in between New Road and the M3 Motorway:

The Seven Witches Stone Circle!)

Overall, it’s 85 minutes of tolerably cool psychedelic rock music, lamb chop sideburns, plastic Satanic frog medallions, and one-foot jumps at 40 miles per hour, and it’s miraculously not unwatchable. (Well, except for the “Riding Free” burial scene where the source musician is fake strumming to a dubbed guitar song that is obviously plucked, but I digress.)

I was saddened to learn that lead actor, Nicky Henson, passed away last year. I last saw him play Charles Grigg on Downton Abbey. If anything, his smirk in this early 70s gem is worth a viewing.

The Shot that Won’t Let Go:

It’s really a harmless movie. The best part is knowing that the actors and actresses had a fun time making it. This will never happen, but if you ever see this on DVD, the bonus footage interviews are endearing and more entertaining than the actual “movie.”

Final Score: 3 “scary” skull helmets out of 5

Have you seen it? What did you think?

On my way upstairs to watch it last night, I told my wife, “It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s that good.” I think that pretty much sums it up.

I like him because he brought a comb.

24 thoughts on “Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Psychomania – 1973

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    1. I still need to see that! This one opens the door to the biker bravado (which, I’m sad to say I am not a part of, haha). Thank you for your kind words. This has been so much fun and a trip down memory lane…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is right down your alley, Max! Again, I had to randomize my horror pics for this year based on what I wanted to re-watch, see for the first time, or celebrate as a personal, nostalgic gem of mine. “Psychomania” just makes me happy, and it lands in an era you revel in when it comes to classic rock. I thought of you the moment that old-school Pink Floyd (Syd) score started during the gritty title sequence. It’s a dud but it celebrates its glory regardless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool! I’ll get it really soon.
        It sounds really good. I’m looking forward to it…

        I gotta idea for ya…one day review Anthology Horror movies…there are many more than I thought.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Done. Next year for sure! I’ll have a baby girl walking around by then, but I’ll sneak in some horror when she’s asleep 🙂 This year, I’m going all out whenever I can, haha! It keeps me grounded and relaxed after teaching.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Haha! Luckily, I have a supportive wife who encourages me to have my “movie and video game” time to de-stress, but I’m actually welcoming the losing personal time to raising a baby. I’m gonna be an older dad, and I can’t wait. I’ll fit things in. Just not as much as today, and I’m okay with that. A new chapter, and hey, it’s something to look forward to despite all the current challenges were going through these days 🙂 Best to you, Max!

              Liked by 1 person

            2. It’s best to be an older dad…it really is… I was 33 when it happened to me….I had more money and other things except energy!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Yea they are more mature…it’s for the better in my opinion. I’m so glad I didn’t try it when I was 18…blind leading the blind.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Kendi, you’ll love it! It took a couple of weeks to catch up, but you can input movies you just saw in your diary and you can rate and review them as you go! Look me up!

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    1. So good to hear from you and get your insight on this one from your perspective/location. There’s a charming side to it, and then there’s also a reckless “icky” side as well. I love it for its time capsule and English wit! I want to visit the field where they filmed the Seven Witch stones!

      Liked by 1 person

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