The Cycle Savages is the first biker film I’ve watched which starkly portrays the the gang bang initiation that these biker gangs did back then. And it’s pretty disturbing!
Bill Brame’s film, in no way, attempts to portray the gang of “Hell’s Chosen Few” as misunderstood by society. They’re just assholes and creeps and involved with a pimp played by Casey Kasem, who is in the movie all of one minute. The gang is lead by Keeg who is played by Bruce Dern and is, in no way, sympathetic. Their dirty, humble abode is decorated with spray painted lingo including “Danger”! The movie is entertaining even if the plot is a complete mess. Initially the movie is about an artist named Romco (Chris Robinson) – an immigrant from West Germany – who is caught painting a violent incident at a local restaurant. Keeg and his crew discover the artist’s drawings and then decide to “shut him up” by breaking his hands.
In the meantime Romco holes up with local cutie Lea (Melody Patterson) who plays the good whore. She’s involved but doesn’t wanna be and, when Romco paints her nude, she gets all hot under the collar and they start developing a romance. Then, to keep it interesting, the movie never makes the viewer sure if she is in fact on his side or not.
There are some neat little bits here and there. For instance, writer/director Bill Bramer doesn’t skimp on showing the ugly side of the involvement of women in the movie. One is a particularly out of control brunette – dressed to the nines in trashy biker attire; red tank top, tight black denim, engineer boots, va voooom! – who keeps pawing all over Keeg, who in turn shows his appreciation by telling her how stupid and useless she is. Other interesting asides include a fight in a local park with someone who is accused of stealing the bike from one of the gang members. Though I have a feeling it was inserted in the movie to pad for time and to have an extra, useless fighting sequence.
Speaking of fighting, one thing that I enjoyed was that Romco wasn’t a sissy. He is an artist but he could hold his own. They also need to check the wood railing in their little trashy, biker abode.
The movie came out in 1969 – after the rating system was in place – so, I don’t know why they didn’t show the nudity or why certain words like “rape” and “acid” are obscured in biker lingo. Otherwise it’s a fun little, trashy romp full bikers and bitchy broads. Also, there were iron crosses but no swastikas.
The movie also has a soundtrack attached to it. The catchy fuzzed out theme that plays throughout was performed by the Cycle-Mates, who play two other songs. The rest of the soundtrack is divided up between two other bands – Orphan Egg and The Boston Tea Party, both of which are late 60s, lighter weight psychedelic pop-rock groups and each have one album to their name.