Tuesday, August 30, 2011
bad/awesome flixxx review: Knightriders (1981)
"If I didn't believe in magic, I'd still be treating gall bladders, prostates and stuff like that. See, magic ain't got nothing to do with organs and glands and busted necks. Magic got to do with the soul, man. Only the soul's got destiny. It got wings. It's can fly. That's magic. The body? The body's just got a few minutes down here in the dirt with the rest of us." - Merlin
"Dammit, Billy, you're all stone-broke most of the time. And you take in every damn longhair that knows how to make a pair of sandals, and you wanna pick up the Blue Cross tab? Do you have the slightest idea what gas is selling for, or two-by-fours, or hamburger or anything else?" - Steve
"I'm not trying to be a hero! I'm fighting the dragon!" - King Billy
George Romero's next movie after he did Dawn of the Dead and right before he did Creepshow. A very different movie than what he is usually known for. Here we have a very strange tale of a group of Renaissance faire longhairs who take the whole deal very seriously at the beginning of the 80s. I don't know what to say about this one. It was just not what I expected I guess. Hard to say what Romero was trying to convey, but let's think about it and maybe we'll find out. Cameo by Stephen King, and starring Ed Harris and zombie B movie kind Tom Savini star in George Romero's KNIGHTRIDERS!!!
So, I guess the whole thing here is this dude, King William Billy is a motorcycle riding dude who somehow convinced a bunch of other motorcycle dudes and ladies into following him around Pennsylvania, and performing in a traveling Ren Faire troupe. The thing is though, throughout the movie, Billy is unconcerned with bread, and doesn't seem to want to really perform for anyone at all. He seems to just want his life to be lived like he was a king in charge of all his subjects, but doesn't really want to deal with hick cops or bigtime promoters or any of the like. The flick begins with him waking up beside his queen in the woods and then standing in the river whipping himself. Everyone else in the troupe is setting up for the day's performance when a couple of hick cops come by to try and squeeze them for bread.
They don't make much anyway, so one dude and Tom Savini (Morgan) are at odds on what to do. The one good guy dude rides out to get Billy while Morgan would just as soon payoff the cops who are shaking them down. Morgan stands to be the next king because he is the best jouster. Billy arrives, and tells the cops to fuck off. The day goes on. Some chick falls for the good guy bike leader. At the end of the joust, Billy decides to fight Morgan because Billy obviously has some kind of deathwish. Billy hurts his neck bad. That night the pigs come back and try to shake down the troupe by planting dope on a guy called BagMan. Billy says if Bagman is going to jail, so is he. The queen tells everyone what to do to get ready for the show in 2 days. Some leave, and some stay behind. They are to look for Steve their lawyer/ small time promoter dude. Bagman gets the hell beat out of him by the cops while Billy watches. When the head cop lets them out, Billy swears that he's gonna get the pig. All this whole while Billy keeps dreaming some blackbird is gonna get him in the end. Steve catches up with Merlin, Billy and Bagman, they camp out. Steve tells them that a bigshot promoter wants to throw some loot at them to perform all around the country. Billy freaks out because he says they aren't a sideshow. They are a lifestyle, a vision. He doesn't want to compromise his ideals. Everyone else thinks he's crazy. He splits in the middle of the night on Steve's bike to go confront the troupe b/c he knows some want to split.
Morgan is trying to convince some of the troupe to go with the new promoter. His girlfriend the mechanic gets pissed at him. Her friend the gay announcer finds himself a lover. He tells her to forget Morgan. She says he'll be back. Friar Tuck gets caught in Satan horns fucking this fat photographer chick. Morgan goes to screw the DC reporter chick. Billy shows up and chews everyone out. Morgan wins that day, and then a fight with the locals breaks out. Everyone thinks this is the end. A native american boy with blackbird armor shows up to fight. Billy fights and wins, but almost dies. Half the troupe splits. The good guy and his girl and best bud split to the mountains to chill and think for a minute. Morgan and Tuck are partyin in DC. The reporter tells Morgan she's married after they bang. The rogue faction get pics taken, then Morgan witnesses the husband. Then the good guy dude comes back and tells him he can't be king and bust everything up. Meanwhile the remaining troupe is hunkered down at the fairgrounds hopefully awaiting the others return.
Good guy convinced Morgan to come back with the other. They all ride back all styled out in their new ren fair duds. Everyone is super happy they came back. The promoter is like," you can't steal my clothes and then leave!" So they have a final battle royale. The dudes who didn't leave vs. the dudes in the new suits. good guy and Morgan battle side-hacker style. In the end Morgan wins. He tells the promoter to stuff it. Billy gives him the crown, says goodbye to everyone, hops on his bike and rides out. Blackbird guy follows him. He stops at McDonalds and beats the shit out of that cop. Then he rides to this school and gives a 7 year old boy that he told he wouldn't sign a poster for him a FUCKING LONGSWORD. AT SCHOOL. I MEAN ON SCHOOL GROUNDS. And the teacher just looks at him. So strange. Ok, so then he takes off again, with Blackbird still behind him, and he goes and goes and goes and goes and goes. Finally, he's looking so tired, and then he smiles, imagines himself on a horse galloping into the sun, and then BANG!!!! a fucking 18 wheeler SLAMS into him, scattering him and his armor all across the highway. FUCKING HEAVY. Then they have a funeral and then it shows Morgan heading the troupe to another town. The vision lives on. I guess this is about never compromising, and then if you have to , just killing yourself. HAHA. I don't know. This one was pretty good. pretty weird, but pretty good. See it if you can find it.