Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: The Wild Angels (1966)

Directed by Roger Corman, The Wild Angels begins with outlaw motorcycle club riding out to Mecca, California in the desert to look for member Joe ‘Loser’ Kearns’ (Bruce Dern) stolen motorcycle. A piece is discovered in the garage of a Mexican gang and violence soon erupts with the Angels gaining the upper hand as the Police arrive.

Upon escaping the police, “Loser” is separating from his club and resorts to stealing a police motorcycle to escape. Unfortunately he is shot in the back in his attempt to outrun the police and winds up in hospital.

Heavenly Blues (Peter Fonda), leader of the Angels, leads a small group to rescue Loser from the hospital. During the rescue attempt a nurse (Kim Hamilton) hears a noise in a room and upon investigation is attacked by an Angel who also tries to rape her. Heavenly Blues stops the rape but they nurse later identifies him to the police.

Once of hospital it is discovered Loser is worse than they expected and he goes into shock and dies. The Wild Angels forge a death certificate and arrange a church funeral in the Loser’s rural hometown. Whilst this sounds a nice thing to do for a friend the mood soon changes. Heavenly Blues loses his temper and interrupts the minister’s sermon with a speech that you might just be familiar with as it was first sampled at start of Mudhoney’s 1989 track In ‘n’ Out of Grace (from Superfuzz Bigmuff) and later in Primal Scream’s 1990 single Loaded (from Screamadelica).

“Just what is it you want to do?”

“Well we wanna be free, we wannna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by the man. And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Following the speech the Wild Angels decide to have a party. Loser is removed from his Nazi flag-draped coffin, sat up, and has a joint placed in his mouth! Two Wild Angels drug and rape the Loser’s grieving widow, Gaysh (Diane Ladd), while Heavenly Blues seems to be off raping as well! All that and they haven’t even got to the cemetery for the burial…

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