Werewolves on Wheels (1971)

Take a 1970s biker film. That’s a good place to start.

Mix in some poorly handled New Age mumbo jumbo, some hardcore Satanism, and a pinch of gore, then for bonus effect use the same werewolf effects we’ve been seeing since the 1940s, and you’ve got Werewolves on Wheels, a film that is just as aimless and meandering as the bikers it focuses on. None of these are nice guys, willing to engage in random acts of violence, harassment, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexuality. So when they get targeted by a satanic cult, you don’t really feel bad for them. But slowly the group begins to fall apart as members end up getting killed by a beast in the night, all while the motley crew’s leader’s girlfriend has strange visions of being the Bride of Satan.

Yeah, a bunch of bikers piss off Satanists and get attacked by werewolves at night. When they’re not doing that, footage of real bikers hanging out and riding around was used. Yep, it’s a bit experimental; real bikers were used, not actors, for some of the movie. But don’t worry, no real bikers were injured in any of the scenes.

What do we get? Why, straight up wannabe Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf makeup, straight outta 1941’s The Wolf Man! Only this time, Chaney Jr. is ready to ride a hog down the highways and byways until Hell’s Angels can…whoa, I’m losing myself here. I have no idea where I’m going. We’re just kind of meandering in circles. Yeah, that’s pretty much what Werewolves on Wheels is like too, so I guess it’s appropriate. This is a concept I wanted to work, and it just didn’t. But at least we get to see a scene of bikers fighting Satanists at one point. Yeah, that was cool.

Oh, and the title’s a bit of a misnomer: there are two werewolves, but only one that we get to see ride a motorcycle. If you’re here to see werewolves riding around on motorcycles, you will be leaving unfulfilled. It’s not a good film. I wouldn’t say it’s even a good biker film. But it is an interesting look at ’70s slang: “Someone’s controlling the vibes, man.” Someone indeed.

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