Monday, May 4, 2009

Wild Riders (Richard Kanter, 1971)

A pointless biker vs. biker showdown along a desolate stretch of road is inexplicably thrown into the mix to justify the film's title, and to kill some much needed time, but Wild Riders is essentially a home invasion movie; a brutal and uncompromising one. Rife with rape, the film... wait a minute, rife with rape? Ugh. Boasting a plethora of scenes that feature sexual assault, murder, and denim assisted foulness, this nasty film, about a couple of bikers so unpleasant and uncouth, that they're banished from their bike gang (racial tensions and torture-based murder get them thrown out), is one rough hombre when comes to depicting humanity at its worst. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen two characters behave so objectionable. Add the fact that the folks they end up being really objectionable towards turn out to be some the dumbest people I have ever seen prance about in a film, and we're talking one enclosed space I could not wait to vacate. The combination of the tormentor's inflexible heinousness and the victim's earth-shattering stupidity made for one hellish experience. Of course, I stuck around until the end. What can I say? I'm an ardent masochistic who believes that knee socks are inherently kinky and that repulsive biker flicks should be watched all the way through. Seriously, though, the prospect of not seeing these knuckleheads meet with the violent retribution they so justly deserve would have been a minor tragedy. And, oh, what a beautiful retribution it is. All I have to say is, don't ever mess with a man who plays the cello. He will fuck your shit up.

The biker side of story didn't frustrate me because they were overly violent (most bikers in films like this are portrayed as murderous scumbags, or, at least the very least, jackassess with anger issues), it's just that the ostracized bikers, Pete (Arell Blanton) and Stick (Alex Rocco), at the centre of this enterprise came off as so cartoonishly vile, that it was hard for me to believe that they were ever human to begin with.

The imbecilic Stick's initial attack on Sherry Bain's Laure, for example, was downright ugly in terms of writhing and screaming. I guess you could commend the two actors for creating such a realistic assault, but that would make me feel all icky and junk.

However, I will complement Mr. Rocco (Moe Greene from The Godfather) for being disgusting in every manner possible, as his unkempt appearance, erratic disposition, and childlike simple-mindedness made for one terrifying individual. Actually, I'd say Mr. Blanton's Pete was even more egregious than Stick, since he wasn't mentally challenged or perennially unwashed. No, he was just plain evil. In that, he obviously knew the difference between right and wrong, but chose to be a monster anyway. Which is much worse in the long run.

As for the victims, well, they annoyed me because they pissed away so many chances to escape. It's true that Rona (Elizabeth Knowles) was probably suffering from a mild case of Stockholm syndrome (she seemed drawn to Pete even after all the raping and face slapping had transpired). But the fact they failed utilize a telephone or run away (their shapely legs weren't tied to anything) when they had the opportunity was extremely mystifying.

Speaking of legs, the stems Miss Knowles and Miss Bain sported pool-side were topnotch. Only problem is, once the violent tendencies of their unruly guests started to kick in, all attempts to savour their unadorned legs were rendered inert; you know, because of all the indoor ravishment. I had a similar problem with Trip with the Teacher, except that film had its share of playful moments. Whereas, Wild Riders is just plain bleak. The intricate sexiness of Elizabeth Knowles' complicated bathing suit and the phenomenal ending were the only worth while aspects of this vulgar film.



  1. Oh, thanks for the animated CKR animated gif!

    Whenever there's a SC-themed answer on Jeopardy, I get all giddy. Gamecocks! Woo hoo! Our cocks go deeper, as the diving team t-shirts used to say!

    Alex Rocco will always be Al Floss to me in the short-lived, underrated The Famous Teddy Z, starring Jon Cryer, post-Pretty in Pink, but pre-Two and a Half Man (ugh).

  2. I've never seen Wild Riders but I did enjoy the Deborah Shelton pic!

  3. Karim Amir: I came across the gif while perusing a thread dedicated to CKR at some Battlestar Gallactica message board.

    My Jeopardy-based giddiness usually revolves around Alex's pronunciation of French words.

    Used to say? They should still say that. I mean, how wonderfully naughty. :D

    I vaguely remember that show. Anyway, I'm always impressed by your knowledge of obscure TV shows circa 1989-90.

    I've never seen Two and a Half Man, or, for that matter, the new Battlestar show.

    Jay Amabile: Gaudy aerobics gear and Deb Shelton are a match made in heaven.

  4. Soooo, you're recommending this one right? Thought so. I'm a sucker for movies that have prolonged writhing and screaming, murderous scumbags, and Alex Rocco.

    I never knew that I shouldn't mess with a man who plays the cello due to the fact that they will fuck my shit up. Maybe THE SOLOIST is going to be a better movie than I thought...

  5. Speaking of Jeopardy!--Jenny Lewis was in a clue tonight. She was also on some late night talk show last night (Ferguson?).

    If I'm ever on Jeopardy, I hope there's a "Obscure television shows of the late eighties and early nineties" category. :D

    With a name like Gamecocks, you can imagine how many phallic puns exist. My sister's gay best friend, he was so excited to go to Columbia and buy a hat with the words "Cocks" on it. Maybe the diving team still uses that slogan, but I seem to remember some puritanical uproar.

  6. Mr. Canacorn: Yeah, I recommend it if you're a fan of prolonged writhing and screaming. But not if you're looking for a biker flick.

    The cello's endpin is surprisingly effective as a stabbing tool.

    Karim Amir: Hey, I just watched the Jeopardy ep with the Jenny Lewis clue. (I'm not sure, but I think may have mumbled the word "morons" when they all missed the Flaming Lips clue.)

    Alex: This actress played the "acid-tongued" Linda Phillips on the FOX sitcoms Duet and Open House.
    Gamecock Enthusiast: Who is Alison LaPlaca?
    Alex: Correct.
    Gamecock Enthusiast: Woo-hoo! Where are my mother-f-in' points, you Canadian PRICK! *gingerly raises the roof*

    Quirky fun-fact: Acid Tongue is the name of Jenny Lewis' second album.

    Puritanical uproar is my least favourite uproar.

    Oh, and did you know that Bruce Greenwood is in the new Star Trek? I saw him on a Canadian talk show yesterday; he's a cool guy.

  7. Great post. I've never seen this film before. Heck, I've never even heard of it. I might have to check this one out.

  8. Thanks, Keith. You can find Wild Riders on Drive-In Cult Classics, Vol. 4.