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Film Review by Dean Duncan May 26, 2015

Folly! Knightriders is acclaimed horror-meister George Romero’s loopy tale of a troupe of bikers who joust with each other while trying to uphold antiquated chivalrous values, which by the way are thoroughly detailed, utterly sustained and played completely straight. Oh, and it’s not a horror movie either, which is overwhelmingly what film fans know and pay Romero for. I’ll bet you’d have funded that if you were a cigar-chomping movie mogul, wouldn’t you have? They had to have known it the preposterousness of this scenario, and even to have outright flaunted it. Good for them! I think the film is quite a triumph actually, though definitely a mad one.

The nerve of those anachronisms! A familiar/salutary anti-corporate message is made even more effectively by the fact that Knightriders is so defiantly local, individual, independent. The craft is actually considerable—Romero doesn’t cut for coherence in his action sequences, but they’re very kinetically effective. They’re even, at moments, Bressonian. That exalted echo notwithstanding, Knightriders is ultimately given over to plain faces, plain spaces, and an overall if indirect reproof of our major label preferences. Mind you the major labels don’t tend to stretch things so excessively. (There’s a much shorter cut, that plays much more smoothly. And you feel the loss!) It’s the price you pay, I guess. Having said that, this film has some last half hour! The Savini character’s return and reconciliation is very moving. Harris’s defeat and gracious abdication moreso. Topping those is what really does seem to me to be one of cinema’s great deaths, one of cinema’s great transfigurations. And all from Pittsburgh!