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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Werewolves on Wheels

October 3, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Werewolves on Wheels

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #572: Werewolves on Wheels

The 2020 October Werewolf Movie Marathon: Week 1

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that isn’t afraid of tarot cards because tarot cards are bullshit, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and seventy-two, the 2020 October Werewolf Movie Marathon begins with the weird beard biker horror flick Werewolves on Wheels, which first hit movie screens in late 1971.

Werewolves on Wheels

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Werewolves on Wheels, directed and co-written by Michael Levesque, is one of those low budget horror flicks that, on paper, sounds great, but in practice isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I mean, it’s not bad. It’s not terrible. The movie does contain a scene where a werewolf rides a motorcycle. But does it live up to its awesome title and premise? No, no it doesn’t.

Werewolves on Wheels stars Stephen Oliver as Adam, the leader of a badass motorcycle gang known as The Devil’s Advocates. Like most motorcycle gangs in movies and TV shows and, I guess, in real life (I have no idea what real motorcycle gangs in real life do beyond ride motorcycles and hang out somewhere), The Devil’s Advocates ride around the highways and byways of America (well, in the case of this movie it’s somewhere in California), causing trouble, raising hell, doing drugs, fucking, and getting shitfaced drunk. The Advocates also, occasionally, beat the shit out of someone that fucks around with them (we see this at the beginning of the movie, when the gang destroys a guy that runs some of them off the road). After stopping at a diner/gas station, the sort of mystical weirdo of the gang, Tarot (Gene Shane, acting under the name of Duece Berry for some reason) decides to do a Tarot card reading for Adam’s girlfriend/”old lady” Helen (Donna Anders, acting under the name D.J. Anderson), which doesn’t go well (has a Tarot card reading ever gone well for anyone in a movie?). Figuring that the message sent out via the Tarot cards is just bullshit, Adam puts the Advocates back on the road.

So the Devil’s Advocates hit the road, drive for a little while, and then go into the woods and come upon a church/monastery where weirdo monks in brown robes walk around and whatnot. In the middle of fucking around in the woods, the monks offer the gang members bread and wine, which the gang consumes because why the hell not? They’re badass bikers. Who is going to deliberately mess around with badass bikers?

So then some stuff happens, the gang members all pass out from the bread and wine because it was drugged, and the monks reveal themselves to be part of some sort of occult/Satanist outfit run by a guy named One (Severn Darden). The monks then take Helen away from everyone and have her participate in a weird beard ritual where she dances around naked with a snake and a human skull and there’s some bullshit where the monks burn a female wax figure in a big fire. The gang members then wake up, realize that they’ve been drugged, get pissed, then attack the monks and rescue Helen from the big ritual. The gang then bugs out of the woods and hits the road again.

The gang regroups a bit on the road, and Adam decides that they all need to go to the desert to “get their heads straight.” As soon as they all hit the desert it’s back to the gang fucking around, having fun, doing drugs, getting drunk, etc. Shirley (Anna Lynn Brown) and Mouse (Owen Orr) go off on their own to have their own fun. Their fun doesn’t last long as they’re attacked by a strange, hairy, bipedal creature. A werewolf.

A werewolf? How could that happen? Well, the weird ritual the monks had Helen participate in basically gave her the ability to turn into a werewolf, and on this night that’s what she does. The other gang members find Shirley and Mouse’s dead bodies and freak out because what the hell happened? Adam has Shirley and Mouse buried, but he has no idea what happened. Could it have been a coyote or something like that? That seems likely. Not to Tarot, though. Tarot has a super bad feeling about what happened. Tarot knows that those monks were bad news, too.

So then some stuff happens, the gang heads to a junkyard, and Adam and Tarot have an argument. Tarot believes that the gang has encountered something dark and sinister and evil and they need to get away from it. Adam thinks Tarot is out of his mind, that there’s a natural explanation for what happened to Shirley and Mouse, and that if the gang now has bad luck attached to it it’s Tarot’s fault. The gang sets some cars on fire for the evening and they all start fucking around again. And another gang member is attacked by Helen the werewolf. No one sees it, Helen actually burns up the gang member that she attacks, and Tarot finds the dead gang member’s glasses in the aftermath of the fire.

It’s at this point that Adam decides to go back to see the monks and kill them. He gathers up the gang and they hit the road. While on their way to the woods the gang encounters a thick fog on the road, a fog that really shouldn’t be there. When the gang comes out of the fog they’re suddenly in the desert. Not the same desert as before, though. How the hell did that happen?

It’s at this point that Adam and Tarot fight because Adam is pissed at Tarot for what’s happened (I don’t think I understand this. If Adam doesn’t believe in the supernatural why would he get upset with Tarot for what’s happening to the gang? Can you really not believe in the supernatural and in the idea of bad luck brought on by someone willing that bad luck to happen?). Adam wins the fight and decides to leave Tarot behind. Right after all that, Adam experiences a series of hallucinations that resemble the same things Helen participated in during the naked dance ritual and Adam becomes a werewolf. Now, this part is important because this is where a werewolf rides a motorcycle.

So then some stuff happens, Tarot decides to assume command of the gang, and he decides that the Devil’s Advocates need to attack Adam, Helen (she becomes a werewolf at this point, too), and then go kill the monks. The gang gets some torches, they head for the monk HQ, and they are immediately put under a weird beard spell by the monks. The gang is then forced to participate in a ritual, and then the movie ends.

So what was the point of this movie? The ending isn’t very satisfying. You’d think that, if the gang was going to be taken over by the monks and forced into a weird ritual that the last scene of the movie would be the entire gang as werewolves on motorcycles riding into some small town to destroy it. Even for an obviously low budget movie you would think that the producers and the director would have wanted to do that scene. Instead, there’s only one sequence where we see a werewolf on a motorcycle. That just feels like a big cheat. Now, is it understandable? Sure. There are tons of low budget movies, both past and present (and, let’s face it, in the future) that have a great premise and/or title and fail to live up either of them. And considering that the movie is from 1971, we should be thankful that we got one scene of a werewolf on a motorcycle. I mean, the motorcycle gang could have been called the wolves and the actual movie could have been one of those biker movies where it’s just 90 minutes of a motorcycle gang fucking around and whatnot.

The werewolf makeup is pretty good. The werewolf actually looks like a werewolf. That’s a plus. There are also some decent gore moments, like the two throat slashings that we see. The movie definitely could have used more of that kind of thing, though. The movie also could have used more general creepiness. The scenes with One and the monks are all very bizarre, which is what you need for this kind of movie. The whole bit where the monks have the gang members eat the bread and drink the red liquid (blood?) is just fucking gross. Only drunk off their ass biker gang members would eat that bread.

As for the gang they act and look like a late 1960’s/early 1970’s biker movie biker gang. They’re all decked out in denim and leather and whatnot, most of them look scuzzy as hell, and when they’re together you can tell that they all love one another in that “we’re all part of a biker gang” kind of way. And they look imposing as hell together on the road. No one would ever want to mess with these people.

Stephen Oliver does a great job as Adam, the leader of the Devil’s Advocates. He has the necessary swagger to be the guy that the gang all follows. He isn’t a big guy but he doesn’t have to be. He’s also an expert at sniffing cocaine off of his knuckle, which I assume is a big part of being the leader of a 1970’s biker gang movie biker gang.

Gene Shane/Duece Berry is fabulous as Tarot. He’s a part of the gang, but you get the sense early on that he probably shouldn’t be. He’s different. You get a real sense later in the movie of his existential angst because he knows something is up but he can’t quite figure it out. He knows that the monks were bad news, but he can’t say precisely why. The movie does his character a bit of a disservice, though, because he should have been allowed to kill One before the entire gang was possessed. If that happened Tarot could have become the new leader of the monks (the gang merges with the monks to become motorcycle riding werewolf monks! That would have been awesome!).

Severn Darden is creepy as hell as One. You can tell, as soon as you see the guy, that he’s bad news, and Darden doesn’t disappoint on that. What the heck would he have been like in a sequel? Would he have been weirder?

Anna Lynn Brown is very brave as Shirley. She’s completely unhinged throughout the movie but not in an over the top way. It’s too bad that she didn’t last beyond the halfway mark. D.J. Anderson is also very brave for that naked snake dance.

As for the rest of the gang? They look like a biker gang movie biker gang. As I said earlier, that’s a good thing. If you’re going to do this kind of movie you’re going to need that kind of thing. The production still should have found a way to get them all into werewolf makeup. I mean, how much could that have cost back then? If there’s ever a remake of this movie that scene needs to happen.

Werewolves on Wheels is a disappointment because it doesn’t really live up to its title. But then, considering it came out in 1971, that wasn’t going to happen anyway. As I said earlier, it’s not terrible. It has its moments and it is watchable. But, if you’re going to have a movie called Werewolves on Wheels we better see some goddamn werewolves on motorcycles. Or roller skates. Any kind of wheels would have been fine.

Still, all in all, Werewolves on Wheels is worth checking out, just for the heck of it. I liked it, even if I was disappointed by it. See Werewolves on Wheels. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Maybe 6.

Explosions: Yes. They’re pretty good.

Nudity?: Yes. This is also pretty good.

Doobage: Bikers riding on the roads, a pretty good opening them. Birds, bikers fucking around and scaring cows, attempted vehicular assault, a public beating, serious face punching, bikers fucking around in a diner/gas station, ass grabbing, public nudity, nipple grabbing, big tits, a brief impromptu mini-orgy, a biker drinking beer out of a pitcher, more bikers riding on the roads, a weirdo church in the woods, a line of monks, laughing about the devil, beer and blood/wine, drugged bikers, cat holding, cat killing, cat carcass burning, bread breaking, a naked woman dances with both a snake and a human skull, wax female figure burning, the desert, good natured drunken homoeroticism, a wax statue hallucination, bikers fucking in the desert, nipple biting, throat slashing, eye gouging, barfing, cocaine snorting, even more bikers riding the roads, gas station hooey, hat throwing, junkyard hooey, Satanic ritual flashbacks, setting junk cars on fire, van fucking, talk about having balls, talking to the stars. A guy fucks around with his watch, more throat slashing, dead body burning, a brief argument about beer, yet more bikers riding the roads, a weird fog, riding motorcycles in the desert, a brief biker brawl, a werewolf transformation, neck biting, werewolf on fire, a dangerous looking fire stunt, a werewolf riding a motorcycle, bikers with torches chasing after a werewolf, exploding motorcycle, and a movie ending Satanic ritual.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: “And Severn Darden as One,” cigarette sharing, guy standing on motorcycle seat while the bike is still going, Tarot cards, a guy named Tarot, bikers named the Devil’s Advocates laughing about the devil, weirdo monks, drawing a thing on the ground in blood, a Satanic ceremony, a woman eating bloody bread, naked snake dance, a bikers riding to the desert montage, “Dubla dubla day!,” a fat old guy wearing a Billy Jack hat, knocking over a barrel, blowing smoke into a guy’s mouth, atheism, use of the term “hogwash,” two men rolling down a hill while hugging, a John Wayne impersonation, a werewolf on a motorcycle, and a movie ending Satanic ritual.

Best lines: “”He’s gonna kill you, man!,” “Do me a favor, fill ‘em all up and don’t get none of that stuff on my motorcycle,” “Why don’t you read my fortune? I don’t read fortunes, I read cards. And besides I don’t read cards for chicks anyway,” “Dudes don’t know what you laugh at,” “Gentlemen, we are going to talk to the devil,” “I am called One. The one who speaks for all of those who must remain silent,” “We must begin in blood so we can end in blood,” “Come on, man! We’re splitting!,” “We’re gonna go to the desert. Get our heads straight,” “Hey, man, you love me, don’t ya?,” “What, you want me to be a monk?,” “Why don’t you rape me, Satan?,” “Adam! Something’s happened!,” “Guess all we can do is bury them,” “Somebody’s controlling the vibes!,” “It’s a gusher!,” “What the hell is going on here?,” “Man, this place is weird. It’s so hot now. And tonight it’s going to be freezing,” “Gotta get out of here before it’s too late,” “You’re starting to freak everyone out, man,” “If the gas tank blows we all better run,” “Christ! I ain’t never seen anything so far out in my life! Bunch of candy asses,” “You know, some of my best friends are dead,” “It’s three o’clock and all is well!,” “Don’t get angry!,” “Hey, come on, Tarot! We’re gonna kill us some monks!,” “Hey, anybody got any acid?,” and “I hate to say this but we can’t win all our fights with our fists.”

Rating: 6.8/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For

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Welcome to Sudden Death: The great Michael Jai White stars in this, I guess, sequel to the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Sudden Death. Based solely on the trailer, Welcome to Sudden Death looks more like a reimagining of the original movie, with MJW playing a security guard who has to rescue his kidnapped daughter from a band of terrorists that have taken over a basketball arena for some reason (the JCVD movie had him rescuing the Vice President of the United States from Powers Boothe at a hockey game). This looks pretty solid, and when was the last time Michael Jai White gave a truly bad performance? It’s never happened. Definitely want to check out this new action flick. This is also available on Netflix at the moment, too.

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Amityville Clownhouse: This is apparently a sequel to Amityville Toybox, a mega low budget horror flick that came out in, I guess, 2016. Written and directed by the great and super prolific Dustin Ferguson, Amityville: Clownhouse looks like a bit of a romp. I mean, there’s a clown in the trailer wielding a shotgun. Where else are you going to see that kind of thing except in something like Amityville Clownhouse? The great Mark Patton is in this, so that’s something to look out for while watching it. Definitely worth a rental, just to see if it’s the hoot I think it’s going to be.

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The Banker: This low budget thriller was on cable all of the time back in the early 1990’s, mostly on The Movie Channel (I do believe that Joe Bob Briggs had this on Drive-In Theater back in the day). The guy who played Dracula in The Monster Squad, Duncan Regehr, is the bad guy/killer, a weirdo that likes to kill prostitutes with a crossbow for some reason. Robert Forster plays the cop hot on the trail of the killer, and Shanna Reed, from Major Dad, plays Forster’s wife who is a reporter or something that could end up being the Banker’s next victim (John Shaft hisself, Richard Roundtree, is also in this, along with Jeff Conway, Leif Garrett, and Deborah Richter). I remember this movie being a tad slow and drawn out but, at the same time, it was still pretty cool and entertaining. The fine folks at Dark Force Entertainment are putting this out. If you’re looking for a bit of late 1980’s/early 1990’s low budget nostalgia, you could do much, much worse than The Banker. Anyone else out there see this on The Movie Channel back in the day?

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Next Issue: The 2020 October Werewolf Marathon continues with Bad Moon starring Michael Pare and Mariel Hemingway!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Werewolves on Wheels

Stephen Oliver– Adam
Donna Anders/D.J. Anderson– Helen
Gene Shane– Tarot (as Duece Berry)
William Gray– Pill
Gray Johnson– Movie
Anna Lynn Brown– Shirley
Owen Orr– Mouse
Severn Darden– One

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Michel Levesque
Screenplay by David M. Kaufman and Michel Levesque

Distributed by The Fanfare Corporation. American-International Television, Electric Video, Trolley Car Video, Unicorn Video, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Dark Sky Films.

Rated R for violence, nudity, language, and drug use.
Runtime– 85 minutes

Buy it here