I have been a fan of movies for as long as I can remember. Everything from Action – Drama and from Horror – Sci Fi. As a matter of fact the first movie that I probably saw, I saw before I could even talk! (At least that is how the story goes.)
Of course as time went on, and as my interests in movies began to develop, so to has my interests in the particular genres gone through various metamorphosis. When I was still a child my favorite genre’s were Comedy, Action and Sci Fi. When I became a teenager, my interests moved in to just the Horror range.
Now as I have gotten a little older, and maybe a little wiser, I have come to discover that there is more to life then just horror movies (Don’t worry horror fans, I still got your back). I have come to discover that even though I have been a movie fan all of my life, my opinions on movies were a little to narrow, and have since re-discovered some past favorites from other genres, and have since come to discover some movies that I had never heard of, that are pure gold.
With that said, and through my love of the horror movie, I discovered about a decade ago, that I had missed a golden opportunity… That opportunity is movies before the 1980s, and all the wealth of movie history attached to it, and the truly cinematic experience that these classic gems still bring to the table!
Now you maybe wondering why I mention this. The reason that I mention this, is that in my so far in the more then decade long study of the movies before the 1980s I have come to discover a great gem of a movie, that really gave me a great cinematic experience. What was this movie? It is a truly awesome film by the name of Chrome And Hot Leather.
Now for you guys who were able to see this movie when it came out back in the early 70’s you will remember the brilliance, in the casting for this movie, the shockingly great special effects (I mean at more then a few points you get to see people gettin pulled off their bikes, people gettin kicked in the face and other truly fantastic stuff that you can only get out of a great Biker film!) Chrome And Hot Leather is no different!
Unfortunately for me, until recently I never got that opportunity. I was glad that I was able to, because it turned out to be an incredible film! But we will get in to that in a few, for now let me tell you a little bit about the movie first.
Written by: Michael Alan Haynes, David Neibel, and Don Tait (Unidentified Flying OddBall) and Directed by: Lee Frost (The Thing With Two Heads) and starring William Smith (Maniac Cop), Tony Young (Quantum Leap) and Michael Haynes (The Pardon).
Chrome And Hot Leather tells the story of a soldier that is out to have justice for the death of his girl friend…
What do I mean by this? Well the story starts off with a group of bikers called The Wizards. Now ‘The Wizards’ are a rough and tough bunch, they will easily fight amongst themselves, terrorize small towns and generally cause havoc no matter where they end up going. Now that is the darker side of ‘The Wizards.’ The Wizards also have dynamic amongst themselves that is very reminiscent of the almost familial structure within a nomadic tribe!
With that said, ‘The Wizards’ one day are out on the open road just casually cruising to their next destination when a car with a couple of girls by the name of Kathy (Played by Cheryl Ladd) and Helen (Played by: Ann Marie) come cruising by. One of the biker gang members by the name of Casey (Haynes) decides to pester the women. It is not until Kathy and Helen make sure that Casey wipes out, that is when he gets pissed.
You see, in an attempt to get rid of the Biker Gang. Kathy and Helen decide to take a turn up a side road sharply, which makes Casey and his girlfriend Susan (Played by: Katherine Baumann) take a spill. This enrages Casey and he takes off after the women.
At this point both Helen and Kathy are pretty scared and are getting more and more so as Casey keeps kicking the drivers side door as they are driving. Casey finally decides to use his chain to get them to pull over. Of course this does not have the desired effect, and actually makes the girls drive off a cliff killing them both.
After all this goes down, the enraged leader of the game is extremely annoyed by Casey’s stupidity, and the rest of the gang pull over and the leader who goes by the name of T.J. (Smith) forces Casey to go down and try to help the girls… this is until he notices that there is another car that is driving by.
After T.J. notices this, and when he decides that it would be to much trouble to pull Casey back (Casey really wanted to get his chain back!) T.J. decides to pull the gang out of their and take off leaving Casey to fend for himself. Of course after the gang takes off, Casey notices the car coming and takes off on his bike also (Making his gang logo visible.)
With all, said and done, we now cut to a returning drill sergeant in the U.S. Army by the name of Mitchell… But everyone calls him Mitch(Young). He is accompanied by his 3 friends who are also drill sergeants, but are between assignments as well (These guys are played by: Peter Brown (Hell Pay), Michael Stearns (The Amityville Horror) and singer Marvin Gaye!)
Now Mitchell is headed back there because his intention is to get married to his girlfriend Kathy (One of the two girls that was mentioned above having been killed by Casey.) Mitch doesn’t find out about it until he happens to be in a bar one evening when a Captain pulls Mitch aside and informs him of the loss.
Needles to say Mitch is really unhappy about the loss of his girl, and is ready to get her the justice that she deserves! This begins to take shape just after the funeral when Mitch is talking to the Sheriff and persuades the man to let Mitch and his friend go out and search for her murderers. Which he lets him do.
Now with only the name ‘Devils’ to go on, Mitch and his friends change from descent respectable looking soldiers to a faux biker gang to search out ‘The Wizards’ and get the justice that Kathy and Helen deserve!
Now what I liked about this movie and what I think truly makes this an awesome b movie is the following:
1. I think the cast is great, I mean Tony Young is great as the intensely focused and driven Mitch, the man who is out to get The Wizards is simply brilliant! Michael Haynes as the almost crazily moody socio-path Casey is so real that you know you don’t wanna mess with him! And William Smith as the leader of ‘The Wizards is incredible and I strongly suspect maybe at least partially anyway the inspiration for Swan from The Warriors (1979). And not only that but getting to see such greats as Marvin Gaye and Cheryll Ladd in their heyday is incredible! There are others but I thought that I would mention those!
2. In an industry that now seems to be truly inundated by CGI based special effects, I gotta say that seeing some old school stunts and special effects was not only awesome but was a fun bit of nostalgia!
3. Lastly I wanted to say that the story was truly awesome! As it is a great example of a man that is trying to bring to justice some major problems, but is also trying to get justice for his dead girl friend, and is trying to get justice for himself at the loss that he himself suffered!
It’s really unfortunate that this would be Marvin Gaye’s last work as an actor as he ended up dying in 1984, while this happened to be Cheryl Ladd’s first film!
If you happen to be in the mood for a great classic biker movie, and or are looking for a fun trip down memory lane, then I highly recommend checking this one out! I think you might find this one to be truly a truly Awesome B Movie!
Enjoy the first few minutes of the film: Chrome and Hot Leather.