Candy loves campy, cult classics – especially those with a grindhouse feel. Thus, she has thoroughly enjoyed watching this British cult horror classic on Turner Classic Movies this weekend. The BBC has described the film as “a teenage, zombie, biker, frog, voodoo, hippie musical” – so if that’s your idea of fun (and it is for me!) , give this movie a shot. And, if you happen to have some smoke or drink handy, you will probably enjoy some parts of the film even more.
Meet Tom – a cheeky, young British fellow with some happening sideburns, a hot little turtleneck, and skintight leather pants.
He may look like a cross between John Malkovich and Michael York, but there’s nothing sexy about this guy. He is CREEPY. I suppose that he needs to be really, since he’s the leader of a biker gang who call themselves “The Living Dead.”
At the beginning of the film, when the gang is shown riding around some Stonehenge-like boulders, in the fog, wearing their creepy Buggles-looking masks, you think they may be dead hard, as my husband likes to say. However, once you see that the bikers names are Hinky, Gash, Chopped Meat, Hatchet, and Bertram — and they all have their names stitched or painted on the front of their biker jackets, you realize they are actually all very cheesy, if not a little soft.
Tom lives with his mother–a right mad old bat–in a very fancy, very modern house, complete with a butler. She tsk-tsks him for getting into trouble with the local authorities with his biker gang pranks, but she doesn’t really seem all that concerned. One night, when Tom comes home and begs his mother for the key to “The Room,” she finally relents and allows him into the secret room of the house. We discover that Tom’s mother knows something about bringing the dead back to life, and Tom is just itching to learn the secret. In the room, Tom not only finds a strange mirror, some huge eyeglasses, and an image of a giant frog (!) floating like a holograph in the aforementioned mirror, but he also sees a lot of other crazy images in this mirror. One of these appears to be his mother, offering him up to a man in black, when he’s just an infant, and signing a contract of some sort. Hmm . . . what could this mean? After fainting at the sight of this revelation, Tom decides he is determined to die and come back from “the other side.”
While out biking with his gang, he tells his girlfriend goodbye, and drives straight off a bridge, and into a river, succeeding in killing himself. The video below shows his funeral, complete with the deceased Tom, sitting upright, astride his motor bike, in the freshly dug grave, while his fellow bikers sing folk songs and arrange bouquets of wildflowers. Aaah . . . those kooky 70s!
Shortly after, we’re treated to the sight of Tom, revving his engine and flying up out of his grave like a bat out of hell. He goes to a bar, kills a few people just because they annoyed him, and then visits the others in his biker gang to tell them that he’s back. When he explains that once you’ve died and come back, no one can harm you, one of the gang yells, “What are we waiting for?” and they all head off to kill themselves. The only catch with this plan is that you have to truly want to come back from the dead for the resurrection to work properly. Will each of the gang succeed in killing themselves? Will each of them want to come back once they’ve gone over to the other side? What’s the point of it all? Well, Candy knows, but she’s not telling. You’ll just have to watch the film.