“Momma? Momma, please don’t hurt me, momma!”
— thus Wheeler’s love of the knife
He hunts women. His knife tells him to!
— a tagline that says it all
Okay, if that tagline and line of dialog doesn’t sell it, along with the one-sheets: This is a story of a drifter who makes his way as an ersatz hitman — now hired by a local businessman to kidnap the local, big wig oil baron. Our hitman, of course, was reared in squalor, suffering the abuses of his whoring mama. So when the baron escapes, it’s time to go “Texas Chainsaw” — only cheaper and less effectively — to tie up those few loose ends, you know, to get back at momma.
Hey, our beloved Linnea Quigley had to start her exploitation career, somewhere . . .in this lone writer, directing, and producing credit by Hollywood stuntman Jim Feazell. You’ve seen Jim’s work in the iconic, late ’60s westerns The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Undefeated, Paint Your Wagon, and Chisum. He also manned the cameras on 1971’s Blood and Lace and Wild Riders.
If you’re a biker flick maven, you may recognize our star, John King III, as the twisted Wheeler; he made his debut in the blaxploitation biker romp, Black Angels (1970), which he followed with Guess What’s Happening to Count Dracula? (1971). King made his last film appearance in the oft-programmed Mill Creek box setter, the cheapjack . . . but pretty decent horror anthology, House of the Dead (1978). You can find House of the Dead on Mill Creek’s Chilling Classics and their Nightmare Worlds 50 film packs.
As for Wheeler, itself repacked for a renewed drive-in live as Psycho from Texas: Well, it’s still a great, sloppy-on-the-cheap drive-in hokum produced in the Texas Chainsaw backwashes. This is the stuff we packed in the cars for . . . in between The Exorcist ripoffs and the eventual, later ripoffs of The Omen. Hey! A “Ten Backwoods Slashers* (That Aren’t The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)” exploration, anyone? Come on! Who’s up for it!