B Movie Challenge: Werewolves on Wheels

The 70s “Were-sploitation” genre could be smelled by horror hounds everywhere. Leather clad Audiences abound were treated (who’s a good audience? Yes, you are!) to the likes of Hammer’s The Beast Must Die!, The Dean Stockwell thriller The Werewolf of Washington, and this squid Kibble ‘n’ Bit cinematic dog Werewolves on Wheels (sadly, there’s a lot more than these). However, You know what’s a real drag, man? When you pop on a werewolf movie and for the majority of the movie the werewolf ain’t there! I mean it seriously one-offs my vibes, daddy-o! Just like the penultimate entry in Christopher Nolin’s Dark Knight trilogy The Dark Knight Rises I like a little Batman in my Batman movies! If you give us a classic poster like the one above (talk about bow-wow) and then save the beast till the very last reel, then you can go take a flea-bath off a cliff, you dig?

Not saying the film’s not revving on all cylinders (the acting, the set design, etc.) but it’s grinding a few gears when it comes to the technical aspects. I would even say a high side of the film is the cinematography by Isidore Mankofsky (who went on to lens the likes of Ewoks: Battle for Endor and One Crazy Summer), which is on point equally with the work of Laslo Kovacs in Easy Rider (except for the super dark lighting of the werewolves… when you see them), and the soundtrack is just as roost as the Easy Rider soundtrack (oft hustled by fans at trade shows). However, for most of the film, at least when it comes to the audio track, you get the shaft(drive) when the sound cuts out while bikes are roaring and dialogue is lost (and how could anybody want to miss great fairing like “We all know how we’re gonna die, baby… we’re gonna crash and burn!”). It’s no skin off my back but something that chaps me towards the wrong side of the road about Easy Rider rip-offs (or tear-aways) of the 70s is the technical low side.

While wandering the great back roads of 1970s Americana, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Advocates (they should advocate for showers and stronger deodorant) are looking for a place to be lost. Unfortunately, they come upon a commune offering them festive spirits, except it makes a few of them, well, werewolves on wheels! Escaping when the mood sprockets out of control, the group seeks refuge in the junkyards and canyons of the lost, but something is putting a kill switch on some of the members in the bask of the full moon. Will they stop the curse before it’s too late or will they sojourn on a Gypse-Tour until no hot-wheel is left on the open road (talk about tough turf)? Throw in some ridiculous rituals, and a few gang member fights, and get ready for a little sex, drugs, and bark ‘n’ roll!

Backing it in at a stretch of 85 minutes, and directed by Roger Corman alum Michael Levesque (who went on to art direct films like The Incredible Melting Man and [the OG Auteur] Russ Meyer’s Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens), the true rebel of the film, real-life gas station operator Leonard Rogel, was convinced by the filmmakers to act in the film based on his charming personality! You can find this Frankenbike on most streaming services but try to clutch the Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber (to see the glued-on hair in HD). So don’t be a knucklehead and sniff out this greasy ol’ lady of lycanthropy 70s road rash!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands, the novel Lucky for Newfangle Press, and he has written short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights audio cast. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies in Pennsylvania.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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