Psychomania – On the Search for The Death Wheelers – 70’s Horror Newspaper Ad Madness


10-12-74, San Rafael, California – many fans had their first ride through Late Night TV, which is an experience in itself, but this film demanded to be seen on the big screen.


Psychomania is seriously one of the class-sicks of The 1970’s Horror scene, although one that instantly went to TV shortly after it’s very small release. Scotia-International, the US wing of Scotia-Barber who also had the classic The Baby, Horror Express,  and a number of other films which either were Westerns produced in Europe (A Town Called Hell), or slightly sexy romps (Suburban Wives…Trivia: HG Lewis’ Suburban Roulette was the B to that in one North Carolina city!), was kind of left out in the cold when it came to playing films across the country arriving almost late in the game of the invasion of the independents of the Early 70’s. Directed by Don Sharp and co-starring Nicky Henson, Ann Michelle (right from The Virgin Witch and looking like she was enjoying her British Exploitation ride), Mary Larkin (who went onto a solid acting career), Denis Gilmore, and George Sanders, Psychomania was about the leader of a Cycle Gang who discovers the secret of returning to life after death and get the rest of them to join in except for his girl, Abby (Larkin). While Sanders tried to be stately in his appearance being the marquee value name, Michelle was a good looking gang member who relished the madness and Gilmore adding classic comic turns as Hatchet.

Shortly after filming, Sanders would pass away (suicide) on 4-25-72 before the film’s release.



Sadly, the film did not do much in it’s first run, usually put as the B to a number of films through a few years, especially Horror Express and The Baby, but it had a few star engagements. The Biker Horror would only have a couple of entries in the Cycle Film world, with Werewolves on Wheels performing well but also suggesting that the Biker scene was no longer a money-winner (causing Al Adamson’s Angel’s Wild Women to have a different advertising approach which slightly held up the film’s release). Still, through being unique and moody with some very good looking ladies and Hensen’s Clockwork Rider persona very strong, it had an exotic flavor that attracted a small and devoted audience.


This 10-13-73 showing was one of the few times it received the grand treatment. Although Psychomania was more mood than shock (which The Baby delivered in that department), it was a fine fit.


9-16-73 – This Salt Lake City, Utah showing featured one of the more shocking ads for The Baby that was not used much,


11-29-74, Syracuse, NY – the Double bill that was playing when it already was winging up on TV under it’s best known name, plus Night of the Living Dead!


11-1-74, This soon to close theater in Toledo would also have the double feature. To see it at night with very low attendance would have been creepy and cool!



vlcsnap-2015-09-28-14h33m55s146 ,


11-23-74, Panama City, FLA

The Death Wheelers turned into a classic second feature to a number of films


3-15-74, Fort Walton, FLA


10-12-75, Panama City


11-11-75, Harlingen, Texas


5-14-76, Abilene, TX






8-6-76, Corpus Christi, TX


1-15-77, El Paso


4-19-77, Odessa, TX


6-24-77, New Castle, Pennsylvania


5-23-77, Salt Lake City


7-22-77. Salt Lake City


Las Cruces, New Mexico, 8-12-77


10-8-77, Abilene


5-21-78, Odessa







Through the Mid 70’s, this would be known through Late Night TV, and in the Cleveland and Detroit areas, it will have been already on the legendary Ghoul show. After years of PD releases, Psychomania finally got a great DVD release through Severin, who also has The Baby!


~ by screen13 on September 28, 2015.

3 Responses to “Psychomania – On the Search for The Death Wheelers – 70’s Horror Newspaper Ad Madness”

  1. Hi, I’m co-writing a book on Psychomania for Columbia UP/Auteur (if you google Psychomania, you’ll find an ad for the forthcoming book). Your blog posts on the film’s US drive in releases have been invaluable, so many thanks and we’ll credit your research and blogs in the book. Would we be able to use a couple of your images as illustrations, as it’s difficult in the UK to get access to these US newspapers? Again, you’ll be fully credited. Best, Ian.

    • Hello and seriously sorry for the length in reply. I’m, very happy for the request as Psychomania is one of my favorite films. I will get in contact as soon as possible. Many thanks!

      • I hope the work on the book is going well. If I have any updates (crossing my fingers), I will let you know. Until then, all the best and I hope what you plan to use so far is invaluable – it’s theatrical history was very here and there, but I hope to see more ads soon.

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