We haven’t reviewed too many biker flicks here yet, but this one had a place mostly near, and somewhat dear to our hearts. You see, Northville Cemetery Massacre was filmed in a town just 10 minutes away from where I live, so I was interested in what this movie was all about. Northville Cemetery Massacre (1976) is directed by William Dear and Thomas L. Dyke. I went through the credits and the first 20 people that were in the film have no other credits, so I won’t even bother mentioning their names. Two of the credits is “Detroit’s Scorpions Motorcycle Club”, and the “Road Agents Motorcycle Club”, and while some of the characters from the club have names, most of them aren’t mentioned in the credits. The other credit of note is the introduction of Nick Nolte‘s voice… Yeah, his voice… Nick Nolte isn’t in the movie, but his voice is. He voices the main character Chris. Why Chris couldn’t use his own voice is any body’s guess. The movie is also graced with the musical genius that is Mike Nesmith (of The Monkees, of course) to provide the soundtrack.
Chris is a Vietnam vet looking to catch a ride into town, when a gang of bikers ride by and see his sign offering grass in exchange for a lift. Evidentially, Chris must be known for his “homegrown” because once he lets his driver know, he basically gets to ride with the club like he already had his colors. After a quick stint in the local jail for not wearing helmets, the club is back on the road and off to an open field for a wedding of one of the club brothers and his old lady. Chris takes the opportunity to invite his girlfriend Lynn out to enjoy the festivities and to get down and dirty in a barn.
The wedding ceremony is broken up by the cops, and deputy Putnam goes into the barn to break up the sexy time. While in there, he beats Chris to a pulp and knocks his fool ass out, and then after a short confrontation with Lynn holding a pitchfork, Putnam knocks her out and rapes her. When Lynn comes to, she’s lying in a hospital bed, with her dad by her side. Her father commits himself to taking revenge for his daughter, but she doesn’t tell him what really happens. Instead, Putnam gives him a fake story about a biker gang raping his daughter, and he sets his sights on any biker he can lay his eyes on. They get in contact with a hunter buddy who’s friends with Putnam that has probably the best lines in the entire movie. He talks about how he’s not only a hunter, but also an ecologist – he hunts man to thin the herd… what a charitable guy!
I went into this movie with really low expectations. I totally expected horrible dialog, bad acting and special effects out of a home movie. I can easily assure you that while there was some pretty rough dialog, the acting was for the most part tolerable, and the special effects were pretty decent. I especially dug the blood effects when someone got shot. It was really red, and plentiful. Once scene that I thought was out of context considering how well most of the effects were done was when a helicopter in the movie was blown up, a guy standing next to it was at one moment a guy in a green army fatigue-type outfit, and the next was in a tan colored jumpsuit, complete with hood. It was like he was two different people.
The sound is pretty muddy. While the music is stands out, some of the dialog is missed. The Nick Nolte dubbed in voice over is classic. It’s like you’re watching some old karate movie where the lips don’t match the voices. Thankfully, that totally adds to the camp factor of this whole production. You have to wonder if the original actor’s voice was that bad that they had to replace it with an unknown actor’s voice. I read somewhere that this movie was actually filmed in 1972, but took until 1976 to get released. Maybe they had to wait 4 years to get Nick Nolte to get the dub down. Maybe if we would have waited another 4 years, this would have been a masterpiece. We’ll never know will we?
What we have left, however, is a decent biker flick with a decent story, a good amount of action and a nice set of 70’s boobs in the first 15 minutes. There’s even a scene that includes some rolling around with a chicken! You really can’t ask for much more than that, can you?
Click below the break for some more pics from NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE!