Another day, another disc to review. Arrow video very kindly sent me a copy of their forthcoming release of George Romero’s “Knightriders” to take a look at on Blu-Ray (as I now have a BD drive for my laptop, there was no need to trouble my friend for the use of his), and not wanting to disappoint, here are my thoughts and musings.
Filmed after Dawn of the Dead, “Knightriders” is one of George Romero’s few non-horror films and is notably different in style to his usual features, being a classic tale of ‘In days of old when knights were bold’… well, sort of. By days of old, I mean 1981, and these particular knights ride on motorcycles, instead of horses.
Now, the story centres around a medieval re-enactment troupe, led by a chap named Billy, played by a very young Ed Harris in one of his first leading roles. Together they tour the country, putting on special medieval themed jousting tournaments with their motorbikes at various country fairs.
For Billy, or King William as he likes to be known, their renaissance style fairs are a way of life for him, and his touring troupe is his way living out his fantasy of being a real knight. Which increasingly puts him at loggerheads with the others, who see what they do as just another way of earning a living.
As the film progresses, Billy becomes increasingly unstable as he seems unable to separate his fantasy life from reality, which threatens to split the group as many of them are tempted by the lure of corporate sponsorship and more lucrative entertainment deals.
Not strictly an action film, this was kind of bizarre cross between “Easy Rider” and one of the many adaptations of the legend of King Arthur and as such, is not an easy film to categorise. Though that does not make it any less entertaining. My only minor criticism would be that at 2hrs 27mins it was perhaps a little bit on the long side, but it boasts some excellent motorcycle stunts which helps keep things moving.
Apart from Ed Harris, fans of Romero’s other films will also notice a few familiar faces amongst the cast, including Tom Savini, “Dawn of the Dead’s” Ken Foree and Scott Reineger, “Martin the Vampires” John Amplas and a very young Patrica Tallman of “Babylon 5” fame, who also went on to star in Savini’s remake of “Night of the Living Dead” (sharper eyed viewers will also notice a certain famous horror author, making a brief appearance as a drunken redneck).
Arrow have, as per usual, pushed the boat out with the supplemental material. Which includes…
-Feature length commentary track with George Romero, Tom Savini, John Amplas and Christine Romero.
-Genesis of the Legend : An interview with Ed Harris, who discusses his role in the film and his early acting career
-A Date with Destiny : An interview with Tom Savini, who provides some of the more memorable anecdotes on the film.
-Medieval Maiden : An interview with Patricia Tallman, in which she discusses working with Romero and her later work with Savini.
The case also includes a special collectors booklet with Linear notes on the film by critic Brad Stevens and text interviews with George Romero and composer Don Rubenstein, illustrated throughout with archive stills and poster artwork.
A great selection of extras, but then I would expect no less from Arrow who’ve always excelled themselves with their releases.
Please note that “Knightriders” has NOTHING to do with talking cars or David Hasselhoff, just in case any smart arsed gits were thinking of posting comments asking “isn’t KITT in this?” NO.
Anyway, the film is released to
stores in a Blu-Ray/ UK DVD combo pack Monday
the 22nd April.
Buy the UK DVD/BD combo pack at Amazon.co.uk