Movies Galore takes a look at 1972’s bikesploitation film”Northville Cemetery Massacre” directed by William Dear and Thomas Van Dyke which didn’t release until 1976

Written by David Strege

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The feeling of the open road, the wildness and freedom to be part of something bigger with people you consider brothers and the lawlessness all go hand to hand with biker clubs and gangs.

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There was and still is a passion for taking to riding in groups on motorcycles I also don’t think many biker films reach cult statis but I feel this film has…

Helmed by Director William Dear who would go on to helm such films as Harry and the Hendersons – 1987, Angels in the Outfield – 1994, and Wild America – 1997, and Thomas Van Dyke which this would be his only project.

To me the 70s was an era of film where sleaze and Corniness went hand in hand together but also the birth of the true action films…

Northville Cemetery Massacre to me begins in the era of the 60s which seems like it’s the tale end of the hippy love “Flower Power” Era but also a time where violence wasn’t seen from the other side…

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A biker gang by the name of “The Spirits” is riding the open road in the beginning we see them helping an elderly couple fix their tire and as hokiness tends to be one of the bikers openly kiss the elderly woman in the opening scene lol.

But in all honesty this film is about more than just gangs and drugs, it’s also a play on the corruption of the police force where a groupie young girl is raped by a police captain that blames it on a rival bike gang which starts a range war to openly kill each other off hoping to stop the gangs entirely.

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Ultimately it becomes a game of cat and mouse fire power against firepower leaving dead bodies on either side…

Our main Character Chris is caught up in the dram as it’s his girl who didn’t say anything to her father that began this blood bath to begin with.

In reality I feel this is almost exactly the kind of tactics I fear were used to stop many of the gang wars in real life but there is certainly in this film a view of opinions and culture from both sides.

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I also think that it’s the only biker film that I know of that uses real biker clubs for both rival gangs so in a sense it is vitally more real to name of the violence that can go on through misunderstandings but I also know that it’s imperitively wrong for what bikers at the time did as well.  Violence does not begat violence.

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It does has a very grindhouse feel and seems like a dubbed film but carries the legacy of gangwarfare in biker gangs with a diehard vengeance… and sad that police can get away with violence as well.

I think it deserves cult status and it’s not entirely to me the ultimate biker flick but it deserves a place on the top ten biker lists for sure…

Starring David Hyry as Chris, J. Craig Collicut as Putnam (as Craig Collicott), Carson Jackson as Deke, Jan Sisk as Lynn, Herb Sharples as John Tyner, Len Speck as
Armstrong, Beatrice Endahl as Lady in Car, Harry Endahl as Man in Car, Brooke Evens as Hollywood, Jill Biggers as Bride, Ward Clawson as First Road Ranger, Richard Davis as Second Road Ranger, Buzz Brown as Part Time Judge, Audrey Speck as Tina, Chuck Whaley as Tiny, Terence McGovern as Teddy (as Terry McGovern), Kelly Burke as TV Reporter, Fred Rex as TV Cameraman, Ed Pieratt as Chief, Eric Fisher as Rookie, Jackie Harbin as Waitress, Virginia Pieratt as Nurse, Road Agents Motorcycle Club as Rival Club (as Road Agents MC), Ray Gardener as
Captain Freedom, Garret Albright as Trucker, Howard Reeves as Officer Piggins, Don Franklin as Officer Fedorko, Charles Pearson as First Hearse Driver, William Morrell as Second Hearse Driver, Anthony Wyrock as Third Hearse Driver, Pat Monks as Pilot, Victoria Baue, Nancy Burek, Debbi Dipietro (as Debbi DiPietro), Richard Duggan, Don C. Howell, Susan Kingsley,
David Klim, Joe Pazzanese, James Tulas, Louis Westfall, Nick Nolte as Chris (voice) (uncredited).

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