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Northville Cemetery Massacre - VCI Entertainment - DVD Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Jay Creepy   
Tuesday, 06 January 2015
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AKA: Freedom RIP, Rokerschlacht in Northville, Massakeren, Agria sfagi ton diavolin, Harley's Angels, Das Northville Massaker.

Directed by:
William Dear, Thomas L. Dyke
Written by:
William Dear, Thomas L Dyke, Jim Pappas
Produced by:
William Dear, Thomas L Dyke, Marvin Lee Camp
Cinematography by:
William Dear, Thomas L Dyke
Editing by:
Christa Kindt, Jerry Wellen
Music by:
Mike Nesmith
Special Effects by:
Director's Image
David Hyry, Carson Jackson, Len Speck, Jan Sisk, Chuck Whaley, Kelly Burke, Terry Mcgovern, Brooke Evans.
1h 24min

Distributor: VCI Entertainment

There's some movies that when you watch them you sort of hope that sooner or later they'll gain a wider audience than just a simple core cult audience. As far as biker flicks go, this one is one of the better ones. Though it's no Easy Rider or Satan's Sadists, it deserves another go.

Northville Cemetery Massacre begins with an old dude rushing to get into his car which has a flat because a gaggle of big ass hairy bikers and their girls are approaching. He was in the middle of changing his tyre when instead he sides up to his wife looking all shocked. After the gang teases him through the windows, they jack the car up and change the wheel for them. His wife receives a big lovely kiss, then off they go, happy cool bikers.

The filmmakers used a real club, the Detroit's Scorpion MC's as a majority of the Spirits gang and this adds an authentic feel to the proceedings. In fact, they reminded me of the extras who gate-crash the mall in Romero's Dawn of the Dead, with that untrained but laid back acting ability. So they pick up a hitchhiker called Chris who some of them know, holding a sign saying; 'Grass' and soon after the cops start tailing them, all the while some chilled out music plays.

The armed police tell them that in their town it's illegal to ride without helmets. They're all jammed into a couple of cells for the night, and there's no Jack Nicholson. Everyone relaxes and chin-wag sounding like the fat biker in Dawn of the Dead who throws a portable through a TV and then wields his sledgehammer. “Shit, all you gotta do is have long hair, ride a scooter and wear colors. Everything you do is illegal.”

“Jesus, reefer!” exclaims a biker as Chris produces a bag of weed from his pants. As they all smoke in the cells, one fella happens to have a guitar.

“A motorcycle gang! I know all about you! I go to the movies.” says the Judge. However, they're out on bail and on the road again. There's a wedding for one of the lads in a field at a fun ceremony. “Alright Lester, swap some spit,” says the stand-in biker vicar. Chris has invited his girl along and afterwards they go chasing chickens in a barn together, then make love. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are diving on each other until three cop cars full of armed officers and a man called Frank, who knows them too well, arrives. “We don't want any trouble,” says Frank. There's a couple of obvious hot-headed young cops around who you can see will be happy to cross the line. I suppose our biker gang doesn’t help matters circling around the cars grinning, then pop a tyre on the way.

In the barn, two hot-headed cops discover Chris and his girl, Lynn, naked. Chris is beat down and then whilst his partner looks out, Vic rapes Lynn. She's threatened into silence. “You want some, Harvey?” he asks. “No, no.” says Harvey nervously.

When Lynn's father arrives at the hospital, the Spirits have been blamed by Vic, unbeknownst to her. Her father, John meets up with Vic at a cafe. “Look, my daughter was raped and beaten by some motorcycle mongoloids, and they're still walking around free!” Vic explains that questioning them would be pointless since Lynn could not identify her assailants. Vic says she was apparently blindfolded throughout. Officer Vic is pushing John to go beyond the legal system and that they'll team up and kill the gang. So the chapter, oblivious to the cunning plotting going down, celebrate at a bar, smoking, playing cards and dancing groovily. Chris reports back what happened to him and Lynn. The bikers, for some reason, don't take him very seriously which is a bit stupid. Fair enough, he has no idea what happened to his gal since he was unconscious, but explaining the beat down by a cop should be enough to raise at least some upset. Huh, whatever.

Lester and a pal go outside the seedy bar to piss against a wall when they are both gorily shot down by an unseen assassin. Bikers charge out, shooting, but cannot find anybody. Police and reporters arrive. They are all warned to stay put and not seek revenge. The news reporter tells the viewers: “The gunfire here tonight may set the stage for a prolonged vicious and vengeful drug war!” Some of our heroes think it's down to the Road Agents, a rival club and they arrange a meet up. Meanwhile, Chris pays a visit to Lynn whose still in hospital -- her makeup and hair totally perfect of course. He fills her in on what's happening and a nurse overhears.

The two gangs meet, and Deke, a Tom Savini lookalike, does most of the talking. “If you really think we did it, you wouldn't just be standing there,” says Jake, the leader of the Road Agents. In bright Argento style bloodied moments slo-mo'd for effect, someone starts taking sniper shots at both gangs. They help each other get away but many are injured. Afterwards, our gang go on a run to collect weapons from a man who is a religious survivalist. He lives in a shelter filled with equipment and dated bleeping large dial technology. He's pretty cool and soon they're kitted out, hell, even with hand grenades.

On Chris' next visit he's horrified to discover the whole deal with her father and Vic. It also turns out they are working with a veteran gun expert as well. At the funeral of their fallen brothers, the surviving Spirits club are attacked by the bad guys in a chopper. However, in perfect Django style, they have their arsenal hidden and ready for war.

For its low budget, the cemetery finale is an epic piece of action making. When the chopper comes down and the fight is on the ground it just gets better.

When the movie is over, you realise it's not the ending you quite expected; it's a sort of: “My God, did that just happen?” if you already like biker movies. Honestly, if you haven't watched a biker flick before and fancy some 70s trash cinema, this is a good one. If however you have seen many biker movies, this is a neglected masterpiece of the genre. Obviously a hitchhiker of Easy Rider and the countless flicks which followed, Northville Cemetery Massacre manages to forge its own identity. The locations and images are excellent also. Fitting that this film is one of the last of the 70s era hairy biker movies.

Bullet removals, tons of squib bullet shots, head blasts, and an exploding helicopter, the creators seem comfy with a low budget and treat the viewer to many goodies courtesy of Director’s Image (??).

Co-director,co-writer, co-everything near enough, William Dear still makes a steady living in the world of TV movies and Straight to Video quickies, mainly in the family entertainment arena. Trivia hounds will love the fact that Nick Nolte did an uncredited dub over the lead actor's voice as Chris for some reason.

Aside from trailers and photo galleries, there are commentaries from both directors and one behind the scenes commentary with members of the Scorpion Detroit MC Club (one of whom sound like Stone Cold Steve Austin). Filmed from 1971, a commentary track slapped on approximately 30+ years later, it doesn't really run or follow what's happening as you watch, but it's fun enough and a decent effort. It is more like a lengthy interview I suppose.

Northville Cemetery Massacre is well worth tracking down, or hunting on YouTube since the full thing is available on there, as released by VCI.



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 Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
 Region: NTSC R0
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono

 - Trailers
 - International Lobby Cards and Covers
 - Audio Commentaries by William Dear, Thomas L Dyke
 - Audio Commentary by the Scorpion MC Detroit

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