Now here is a movie that makes my ever-loving bad cinema heart sing. We have a 1970’s motorcycle group made up of very well-leathered British thugs (you know, the polite kind of thugs) who decide that being called “The Living Dead” wasn’t enough; it was better to commit suicide to become undead zombie British motorcycling thugs. And then you have George Sanders!
George may be the devil, or perhaps his butler, since he is one in the film, the butler to Tom’s mum, who made some sort of deal with George (and his magic toad) for everlasting life and the ability to channel dead people at seances. I guess you have a to make a living somehow. Tom, the leader of this gang, realizes that he can also have a sort of eternal life if he commits suicide, but he has to believe very hard that he will come back to “life”, or he remains dead. Kind of like Tinker Bell, but without all the clapping. So Tom drives off a bridge, dies, and is buried by his buddies on his motorcycle at their favorite haunt, the Seven Witches Stones:
Tom is suddenly revived just in time to mow down a hapless dude who was cutting through the field because his car broke down. The shot of the motorcycle shooting out of the grave is actually pretty awesome. Tom then convinces all of his friends to follow his example, which they do. Most of them succeed, and whoop the hell up by terrorizing a grocery store, forcing lorries off the road, and generally being murderous thugs instead of polite British thugs. They seem to hate prams most of all:
However, Abby, Tom’s best moll, doesn’t want to die, and she’s not happy with Tom’s turn of thuggery. So Tom and his buddies try to convince her to commit suicide at the Seven Witches Stones (presumably the second source of their power). At the same time, Tom’s mum (played by the lovely Beryl Reid, by the way), also is tired of Tom’s thuggery and revokes her deal with George Sanders, and promptly turns into a toad. Tom and his buddies don’t turn into toads, but instead turn into extra Witches’ Stones. However, in a low-budget flick like this one, the end result isn’t so much stone as it is a sort of termite dung hill:
Abby is left bewildered in the center of the Witches Stones/Dung Hills as George sweeps towards her to presumably pry her into evil deadness with a magic toad. The end.
The flick is actually kind of fun, and the soundtrack, written by John Cameron, is quite good. There’s also a lovely ballad sung during Tom’s “burial”, “Riding Free” written by Harvey Andrews:
George Sanders, who committed suicide just before this movie was released, is rumored to have watched part of this movie the night he died. I personally think his suicide was partially due to having married two Gabor sisters, but you never can tell. Poor sap.