BIKER WEEK: Angels Hard as They Come (1971)

Jonathan Demme (Married to the MobThe Silence of the Lambs) impressed Roger Corman with his writing ability and was asked if he wanted to try a motorcycle movie. His idea? Rashomon on motorcycles. He turned to his friend Joe Viola, a commercial director, and created this film.

Long John (Scott Glenn, The Silence of the Lambs), Juicer and Monk (James Inglehart, Randy Black from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls!) get caught up in a busted drug deal before meeting up with the Dragons gang and heading to a ghost town. There, they meet a hippie commune, where Long John falls for Astrid. They argue over the bikers being evil because of Altamont while he counters that hippies have been tainted by Manson.

The Dragons do, too. A fight ensues and Long John’s girl gets raped and stabbed, with the Dragons framing the Angels. Their leader, the General (Charles Dierkop, the gas station attendant in Messiah of Evil) sentences them to fun and games, which means they all get dragged behind motorcycles. Monk escapes and organizes the rest of the gang, leading to a violent battle to end all biker battles.

This movie is packed with long bike riding montages, sex, drugs, debauchery, mayhem and a young Gary Busey. It’s talky, though and if you’re not super into biker movies, this is probably not the one to start with.

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