Werewolves on Wheels (Michel Levesque, 1971)

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0

 

Werewolves on wheels poster 1024H

The Devil’s Advocates MC inadvertently eat the offerings of Satan & find themselves trapped in a cycle of evil that has some pretty hairy *ahem* results.Werewolves on Wheels 41 WM

Jocelyn: I LOVE this god damned movie so much it hurts! Equal parts exploitation, devil-cult, outlaw biker & horror film, this movie kidney punches you with more ‘Fuck yea!’ than you can handle. Brilliantly directed & written by (first-timer!) Michel Levesque who unfortunately became more known for his art direction on such greats as Supervixens, The Incredible Melting Man, Up!, & Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. I don’t mean to say “unfortunately,” he obviously has quite the eye because this film will floor you with its cinematography; there are some truly creative & breathtaking scenes.Werewolves on Wheels 26 WM

Duane: Yeah for something that was seemingly destined to be some kind of forgotten Drive-in B movie it’s really quite impressive. From the cinematography to the excellent special effects (just wait till you see some of the full body burns) it’s evident that there was a lot of talent involved in the making of Werewolves on Wheels. I defy anyone not to find something to enjoy in this movie. It’s like Easy Rider mashed up with a Naschy film and featuring the lovely Donna Anders as Helen, the soon-to-be bride of Satan fresh off the set of Count Yorga, Vampire? I’m there. Sadly this was Ms. Anders final film role, but at least she went out with a bang.Werewolves on Wheels 34 WM

J:  The actors that do populate the film are in the fledgling stages of their careers but give unbelievably solid performances and there’s also a healthy dose of actual bikers. It’s because of this the film really manages to excel in the realism department. Steve Oliver definitely had a bit of practice playing a roughneck with his bad-boy role on Peyton Place but he sells it as Adam, the leader of The Devil’s Advocates. Sure, they spend their lives riding, ingesting every substance known to man, taking what they want & fucking people up along the way but that’s just part of living life outside the cage. Things take a hardcore turn for the worse when Tarot’s (Gene Shane; Run, Angel Run!, The Velvet Vampire) prediction comes true & they stumble upon a church filled with Devil-worshiping pseudo-Trappist monks, led by their nefarious orator, “One”.Werewolves on Wheels 31 WM

D: I’ve actually heard this film referred to as a very early example of “reality as entertainment” based on the inclusion of real bikers. It certainly lends the film a specific authenticity to say the least. I’m likely in the minority, but the gang’s rampant hedonism actually made me quite anxious to see them fall at the hands of the devil cult, especially since they were torn apart (pardon the pun) from within. As ironic as it turned out to be, I have to say that “The Devil’s Advocates” has to be one of the lamest names for a biker gang that I’ve ever heard.Werewolves on Wheels 30 WM

Considering Werewolves on Wheels takes its time before things get really wild, the fact that the film remains engrossing despite the lack of lycanthropic motorcycle terror is a testament to the quality of the film in general. Despite all the cool stuff the poster promises being postponed until the last 15 minutes of the film’s already short run time, director Levesque was wise enough to throw in plenty of naked sluts and debauchery to hold one’s interest as we are asked to tolerate these scofflaws and their ineffectual attempts at rebellion. I really loved that guy who ran the gas station, being such a sarcastic prick despite being surrounded by ruffians – I’ve often wondered if he was even really acting.Werewolves on Wheels 4 WM

J: Wow, I completely disagree with your attitude towards the bikers; I wasn’t anxious for comeuppance at all. A guy who lives for sleaze & sluts is actually saying that rampant hedonism is a turn off? What the hell is wrong with you? And The Devil’s Advocates is a damn fine name; it’s the same name as the gang in Run, Angel, Run! which stars none other than the glass-chewing, gravel-throated biker-movie-legend William Smith. (a non-werewolf gang, unfortunately) The poster is a fucking classic (I have 2 versions hanging in my home) but you’d have to be a retarded toddler to expect that a movie from 1971 could promise 86 min chock-full of what the poster displays, but I’ll give the man credit for delivering eventually rather than not at all.Werewolves on Wheels 6 WM

Again, the movie is so well made that anyone with an interest in exploitation or biker films is going to enjoy it if they approach it with an open mind. The first and every time I’ve watched it I’m delighted by all aspects, the long shots of them riding are not only gorgeous but allow you to get into the headspace, to imagine what living that life would be like, to see the beauty & not just filth & lawlessness. (Is filth & lawlessness really so bad?) The Satanic church segment was shot well – full of interesting & sexy eye candy, overflowing with malevolent acts & ookie creepy devil-y jargon.Werewolves on Wheels 7 WM

To me, the movie has a brilliantly complex simplicity. It’s just your basic set up & delivery; but done with more style & creativity than one could ever hope to expect from a film of this caliber. Their freedom in the night is now taken forever, the refuge they seek in the fire acts now as an accelerant to their curse. They wade through the days virtually clueless to their fate, denying the truth that they’ll end where they began as pawns of The Devil. I really don’t understand how anyone couldn’t love this movie! And the last 15 minutes when it delivers the werewolves?! Fuhgettaboutit! Fucking fantastic! The fire-light is used to such great effect in this film. The soundtrack by Don Gere is ROCK SOLID from beginning to end & I hate most of that era of music unless it’s Euro-riffic. The Werewolves on Wheels (Main Theme) is auditory dopamine. Too delicious.  (Finders Keepers released it FINALLY so pick it up, chump!) Everything about this movie is just right. This is essential ownage & 5 fucking stars as far as I’m concerned.Werewolves on Wheels 1 WM

D: I hated the soundtrack. That fucking folky pseudo-country hippie garbage is one of the film’s few detriments. I do however agree, the poster is the stuff of legends and I’m happy to report that the scene depicted therein actually does happen in the film (ok, minus the chick) – and what a satisfying segment it is.

Hedonism is fine, it’s when the hedonists in question end up shitting on someone else’s space (as the gang does at the temple in this instance); they got what they deserved. Their constant mockery of the forces they got involved with only served to prove how clueless and vacuous these so-called “rebels” really were. The bottom line: if you’re going to mess with someone’s freedom, be prepared to back your shit up – not everyone is going to look the other way.Werewolves on Wheels 21 WM

I’m glad you brought up the satanic ritual scenes, you can tell that someone really did their homework as a lot of the elements involved go a tad further than your typical “Boo! Satan!” that many other films have thrown together. Such attention to detail adds an oddly realistic air to the proceedings which is unexpected coming from a film with such a lighthearted title.Werewolves on Wheels 14 WM

I enjoyed watching the biker element get their well-deserved requital as much as the next viewer may remain sympathetic to their plight. There are many layers and perspectives to a film like this, especially one that decides to merge genres (and successfully, nonetheless).

J/D: While this movie obviously delighted us both in different ways, one thing is for certain: Werewolves on Wheels is one god damned surprisingly entertaining bit of genre cinema that should not be missed.

Editor’s Note: Make sure you listen to the Dishammer song I post below. If this movie sucked at all, there’s no god damned way that an amazing band like Dishammer would dedicate a fucking song to it. Don’t be a choad; this is the real deal.  – Jocelyn

 

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:

Jocelyn: 

NS-5

Duane: 

NS-4

 

 

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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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