Between an uncredited Nick Nolte doing ADR for the lead and Mike Nesmith doing the film’s music for free, Northville Cemetery Massacre near accidentally has a better pedigree than most biker movies. Directed, written and produced by William Dear (who also made Harry and the Hendersons and Angels In the Outfield because life is strange) and Thomas Van Dyke — with Jim Pappas, Phil Nyus, Robert H. Dyke and James King contributing to the script — this was shot as an independent film in Michigan under the original title Freedom R.I.P.
The Spirits, an outlaw motorcycle club played by actual outlaw motorcycle club The Scorpions, are at war with the cops after Deputy Putnam (Craig Collicot) attacks their hippie friend Chris (David Hyry) and assaults his lover Lynn (Jan Sisk), blaming them for the crime and sending her father (Herb Sharples) after them with a sniper (Len Speck) on his payroll.
The Spirits are just a bunch of fun loving motorcycle riders — they even held an elderly husband and wife fix their car — but after a helicopter attacks their three coffin biker funeral, well, there’s going to be some payback.
Shot in 1971 and not released by Cannon until 1976, this whole thing has a bloody close that wipes out just about the entire cast, so don’t get too committed to anyone. It’s got a ramshackle quality that I really liked and if only it had come out when it was made, when biker movies were still in fashion, it may be better known.