“He’s My Family” by Arell Blanton (who also happens to be playing the main guy Pete in this movie. It doesn’t look like much else came of his music career).
Interesting Dated References: Motorcycles being cool instead of for 55 year old men. Motorcycle sub-culture being for the destitute and vagabonds instead of brand-slaves who like bad music and paying $30 extra for things with logos on them.
Best Line: Said by cunning woman “I thought motorcycles were air cooled?” Reply by man “They are, but I’m not.” Later said from one guy to another “Okay dude, now we’re going to get it on.”
Social Context: There really is some type of odd older brother-younger brother protection thing going on here. Especially when you factor in the theme song montage at the beginning of the movie. It’s not really homoerotic or anything, but it’s never justified. These two hoods have some deep bond and no one takes any steps to clarify why.
Summary: Wild Riders opens with shots of a biker gang gathered around watching as two guys nail a girl to a tree. The ringleader here is a guy named Pete and he has some type of henchman guy named Stick (Alex Rocco of Godfather fame). The biker gang appears to be enthusiastic about what is going on. As usual with exploitation biker movies of the early 70s, the camera work is horrendous.
The next day the Rick Rubin-esque real gang leader tells Pete and Stick they have to leave because the “old ladies” weren’t cool with what they did. Who is that Rick Rubin-esque gang leader you ask? Why, it’s real life Dirty Denny. Actually, no one knows who Dirt Denny is. There’s no online fan-site, there’s not short documentary, nothing. It turns out Dirty Denny was in most, if not all, of the biker exploitation movies of the 70s. Yet no one has ever singled him out as a great character actor or unsung hero of the biker genre. Maybe he was a motorcycle expert they needed for consultation who happened to always be on set. Or maybe he was a drug dealer. Let this be the birthplace of Dirty Denny fandom. It turns out that Pete was nailing his old lady to a tree because she had sex with the lone black guy in the gang, who he then gets in a hilariously choreographed fight with.
After Peter and Stick get on their bikes and leave the squares who don’t support nailing women to trees, the opening credits and theme song start. Check it out above if you haven’t already. Then there’s a bunch of montage footage where it’s fairly obvious that Stick isn’t riding his bike since all the close-ups of him on it look like this:
Then Pete watches Stick (or his stunt double at least) ride his bike in the sand very longingly. After that it’s night time and our heros go to a gas station where a bunch of silly slapstick music is employed as Stick makes faces at a young boy and Pete oggles a teenage girl as he holds an air hose. The next day they harass some other people and then use a giant telescope to spot a house where chicks are.
Pete looks like James Taylor trying to be a biker and Stick looks like those hobo statuettes your grandma used to have everywhere. Alex Rocco looks ridiculously scummy.
So Stick isn’t having any luck with the one chick but Pete seems to be doing pretty well with the other one. The one chick then convinces the other one that they should have sex with these dudes which is apparently something chicks did with random dudes before everyone had STDs.
Pete and chick with a perm head out to the pool house which is also her husbands practice studio because he is a cellist. They proceed to make love while back in the house Stick proceeds to throw around the other chick for like ten minutes. Then he rapes her.
It must have taken him well over 10 minutes to get around her large underwear. Oh and the director attempts an artistic statement about love amongst the free love generation by switching back and forth between the rape and the lovemaking of the other couple.
After Pete finds out about the rape he and Stick decide to go ballistic and hold the girls hostage. They play some type of court game with the ladies and there’s more weird wrestling and ridiculous monologues. Then Pete goes to hang out with some other bikers to try to sell some “hot art merch” that he is stealing from the house. After that he has some type of bike chase with one of his ex-gang friends. Then it’s back to the house where he and Stick break more shit and get money from the chicks.
Oh, and the neighbor Perry (who has perfect finger waves) calls the house to make sure everything is alright. Pete goes to some antique dealer in the middle of the night to try to sell more of the stolen shit from the house. Stick falls asleep, the girls try to escape but Pete shows back up just in time to throw them around some more.
Pete takes the one chick off on a bike ride and they make love in a field. Then the neighbor with the finger waves shows up, they semi-kill him, then Pete goes and kills the antique dealer and takes his money. I’m skipping over the fact that it’s switching from day to night to dawn to dusk all over the fucking place. So then Stick gets manipulated into hating Pete by the ladies, the cellist husband shows up at the house, Stick and Pete get in a fight and scream “I love you” a lot at each other, Pete makes the husband play the cello, and then…
Pete gets stabbed in the head with the bow of the cello and Stick gets stabbed with the base of the cello. I give up.
Poster and Box Art: Judging by this Betamax box, I was certain this movie was going to be a Mexican/South American romance movie from the 80s. What’s up with weird boob/arm just to the right of the biker guys head? What about her shortened torso and elongated shoulder/neck area? And a more subtle defect: No one depicted on the cover is in the movie.
Wild Riders also has an old 70s poster that most people would see and think was for some cool movie, but it isn’t. From a marketing standpoint though, a success.
Availability: It’s available on one of those double pack DVDs from Amazon. Apparently it’s a nice cleaned-up version and it’s even presented in widescreen! Usually these value pack DVDs look like they were recorded from VHS copies, so this is a pleasant surprise. I am reluctantly recommending this for fans of trashy movies that operate on no budget, and those who are in college and smoke pot and claim to chicks that they like “weird movies you’ve never heard of.” You’re probably a loser, but this one may add to your credibility. I would also recommend this for fans of Alex Rocco, as his performance is good, considering what he was working with.