Psychomania 2-Disc Special Edition (Blu-ray Review)

psycho squareSeven Suicides – and they roared back as The Living Dead!  The United States gave motorcycle-mad cinemagoers Easy Rider, The Wild One and The Wild Angels.  The United Kingdom gave them Psychomania, the tale of zombie bikers run amok is southern England.  The Living Dead are a delinquent biker gang, fond of causing havoc on British roadways and making out in graveyards. Gang leader Tom (Nicky Henson) also has a Satanist for a mother, and when he discovers the secret of immortality, the name of his motley crew takes on a more literal meaning… Directed by Hammer veteran Don Sharp (The Kiss of the Vampire, The Devil-Ship Pirates) and co-starring Beryl Reid (Dr. Phibes Rises Again) and George Sanders (Village of the Damned), Psychomania is a wonderfully offbeat gem, outlandish and eccentric in equal measure.  This new 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD combo now available from the good folks at Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group features 2K restoration from preservation negatives, High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations and Original 1.0 mono audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray).  Extras include a brand-new Interview with star Nicky Henson, Return of the Living Dead, an archive featurette containing interviews actors Henson, Mary Larkin, Denis Gilmore, Roy Holder and Rocky Taylor, Sound of Psychomania, an archive interview with composer John Cameron, Riding Free, an archive interview with ‘Riding Free’ singer Harvey Andrews, Hell for Leather, a brand-new featurette on the company who supplied the film’s costumes, Remastering Psychomania, a look at the film’s restoration from the original 35mm black and white separation masters, plus a Theatrical Trailer.

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Being a big genre fan I’m truly ashamed that I never heard of the cult classic Psychomania.  Not it’s moody music, it’s campy characters or even the beautiful B-movie effects – I’m sad I missed out on a hidden gem for such a very long time.  But it’s also what made watching the film for the first time in this newly 2K restoration all the sinfully sweeter.  Not knowing the tall tale, seeing the flick in all its 70’s style glory and enjoying the trippy visuals and sight gags brand new made up for lost terror time – big time.

The film focuses on a badass biker gang who coincidentally go by the name of The Living Dead (isn’t that convenient!) and are lead by charismatic troublemaker Tom.  Seems Tom has a rich mom who is a Satanist and she knows the road to long life – even beyond death.  So when Tom unveils the secret and applies it by killing himself in an attempt to come back, he then turns to his unruly biker buds who follow suicide suit to then become an unstoppable living dead moto force to be reckoned with.

The premise is daft for sure, but it’s what makes the cheese ridden Psychomania so damn good.  Mixing genres and matching a biker flick with a zombie like premise is a ton of fun and sets up the film to have so many set pieces that sincerely stick.  The scenes of Tom’s colorful crew committing suicide (love the chain and water gag!), the eventual fate of the undead riders (you got something on your face!) and especially the psychedelic time with Tom inside the locked room searching for answers to life after death (complete with amulet and weird frog fixtures!) all elevate Psychomania well beyond forgettable film fare.  (Love the funeral/cemetery scene complete with John Denver style song and Tom and motorcycle buried in grave together…standing straight up!)  The cast keeps the unbelievable antic nevertheless joyous including the mischievous smiling lead man Nicky Henson, the sweet Mary Larkin, the sassy Ann Michelle and especially the refined George Sanders as faithful butler Shadwell (what’s he even doing in this movie?!) – all add a little something special to the shenanigans.

But frankly as a film Psychomania is simply an exercise in mindless movie moxie that’s memorable.  Meaning if your looking for a well thought out classic tale of horror look elsewhere – this is designed for the too cool for school cult crowd.

video psycho


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail: For a flick shot in the 70’s it looks pretty sharp.  There are some washed out scenes, but the 2K scan brings back original glory.

Depth: With a few of scenes involving smoke and mirrors there’s some depth, but mostly visuals front and center.

Black Levels: The film itself is pretty bright so not a ton of dark stuff.

Color Reproduction: Colors, again besides the few washed out, are this films bread and butter and look so good here.

Flesh Tones: Great – even when decay starts to set in!

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

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Audio Formats(s): English LPCM 1.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Despite being a mono track there are some great highs here with nice moto and music noise.

Low Frequency Extension: Nice low hums during quieter scenes with ambiance and motorcycles.

Surround Sound Presentation: Nothing to shake a stick at – this was the 70’s man!

Dialogue Reproduction: Could hear it, but the film doesn’t live or die on it’s words.

Psychomania extras


Psychomania 2-Disc Special Edition comes both a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film that has a 2K restoration from preservation negatives, High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations and features Original 1.0 mono audio that’s uncompressed on the Blu-ray.  Also included is a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil, plus for the first pressing only a Collector’s Booklet containing writing by Vic Pratt, William Fowler and Andrew Roberts.

An Interview with Nicky Henson (SD, 13:57) – A nice chat with Henson who pretty much reveals the same info he does in the longer Return doc.  But taken years later it is cool to see what he looks like!  (It’s like the final scene of fast aging!)

Return of the Living Dead (SD, 25:02) – One cool and comprehensive doc that explores the flick from start to finish with a ton of the folks involved.  (Though would have liked to have seen the feisty Ann Michelle now years later!)

Sound of Psychomania (SD, 9:06) – Composer John Cameron talks being surprised about the interest in a score he whipped together in a week.  (Good show man!)

Riding Free (SD, 6:25) – Actual Riding Free singer/songwriter Harvey Andrews reveals he’s not the guy in the flick!  (Plus he plays a few bars!)

Hell for Leather (SD, 7:51) – A nice tour of the leather clad costumes via the current owner of Lewis Leathers (who supplied the flick way back when!) Derek Harris – I want some!

Remastering Psychomania (SD, 1:47) – A quick visual comparison before and after to give perspective on the restoration – very cool.

Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:50)


Psychomania header


As a genre outing full of fun, Psychomania is a flick ripe with horrible helmets and plenty of film fromage to spare.  Not to mention that this terrific looking and sounding set via Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group is super cool with a gaggle of great extras and savory booklet that is a find for fans of the film – this blast from the past Blu-ray is running on all must-have collectable cylinders.

psychomania cover


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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