Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Non-Zombie (so, Living?) Moto-Knights of the Round Table, or Thoughts on George A. Romero’s Knightriders

Hey, do you like motorcycle movies?  Did you just see John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981)?  Well, do I have the movie for you!  I would have entitled this post "George A. Romero’s Easy Rider Excalibur", but it seemed disrespectful or at the very least discourteous coming on the heels of one of my favorite director’s untimely but regrettably not unexpected demise (1944-2017).
Knightriders (1981) showed a confusing side of director George A. Romero; it’s not a parody, not a comedy, not an action movie, just a straight-up romantic drama with motorcycle stunts about a King Arthur themed renaissance troop.  His zombie movies always had a political message at their core, and while Knightriders was released in 1981 it still carried that essential 60’s idealism of creating a better world by looking toward the past and embracing the values of courtly love and knightly honor.
Ed Harris, currently the Man in Black in Westworld is King William, the leader of the renaissance troop that jousts with motorcycles, while special effects guru Tom Savini is his rival Morgan, the black knight.  In addition to Merlin, the movie includes a Friar Tuck and Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead (1978) as Little John (I told you it was confusing).  Also with Patricia Tallman, Lyta Alexander from Babylon 5 and 90’s Barbara from Night of The Living Dead (1990, directed by Tom Savini, an I would assume they met on this film), as Julie, a teen who runs away with one of the knights.
Watch out for the Stephen King cameo, working on Creepshow (1982) with the director he makes an appearance in the crowd as “Hoagie Man”, along with his wife Tabitha, in his big screen debut. 

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