Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2011 August 15 • Monday

John Cameron's music for the motorcycle horror movie Psychomania is the 178th Soundtrack of the Week.

I've seen this movie. It's about a biker gang that uses a Satanic ritual (or something) to come back from the dead after they commit suicide. The leader comes riding out of his grave on his motorcycle, which is "the shot" for the movie.

This was the last movie George Sanders made before he committed suicide. As Mike Weldon noted in his Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, Sanders did not come back to life riding a motorcycle.

The main title music is surprisingly mellow and spacey. You'll hear another version of it as the end credits music.

Some of the other tracks, such as "Cross Over to the Other Side" and "Secret of the Living Dead", continue the main title music and/or mood.

Several of the other pieces are short atmospheric cues, even stings. These include "The Frog", "You've Got To Believe" (which has a Prisoner sort of feel to it), "Tom's Last Ride" (which sounds a bit like David Bowie), "Up From the Grave", "Hanging Jane", "It's Evil", "The Trap", "Morgue Line Up" and "Morbid Substitution".

"Secret of the Locked Room" is something of an ancestor of Howard Shore's music for Crash, though it isn't particularly dissonant or as unusual as Shore's score.

"Locked Room and Mirror Sequence" is the longest piece, at five and a half minutes, and is something of a noise masterpiece for percussion, electric guitar, tape delays and other electronics.

"Motorcycle Mayhem" is where the Steppenwolf/Black Sabbath vibe finally makes an appearance. A dirty, straight-up biker-rock instrumental. I love it. It's reprised in "Cat and Mouse with the Fuzz", "First of the Deaths", "Truck Destruction", "Breaking the Bargain".

"Riding Free" is the only actual song on the record. "And the world never knew his name / But the chosen few know of his fame / Come join his company / Riding free."

"One by One" is a high energy work-out for combo featuring wah-wah and fuzz guitars.

"Abby's Nightmare" is mostly a sensitive, pastoral type piece featuring the flute but it mutates into more menacing electric rock band stuff at the end.