Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ed Harris, Gary Lahti, Tom Savini, Amy Ingersoll, Patricia Tallman, Christine Forrest, Warner Shook, Brother Blue, Cynthia Adler, John Amplas, Don Berry, Amanda Davies, Martin Ferrero, Ken Foree, Ken Hixon, John Hostetter, Harold Wayne Jones, Randy Kovitz, Michael P. Moran, Scott H. Reiniger, Maureen Sadusk, Albert Amerson, Ronald Carrier, Anthony Dileo Jr., David Early, John Harrison, Marty Schiff, Taso N. Stavrakis, Robert Williams, Bingo O'Malley, Stephen King, Tabitha King
Written by: George A. Romero
Directed by: George A. Romero
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 146
Date: 04/10/1981

Knightriders (1981)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Open Bike Fights

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This non-horror movie by the master, George A. Romero, is a strange one. It seems to have begun as a "wouldn't it be funny if..." discussion, taking the title, Knightriders, and envisioning knights that ride motorcycles instead of horses. Thus came this story of a traveling band of performers, led by the "king," Billy (Ed Harris). They make breakaway weapons and joust for crowds; characters are named after figures from the King Arthur and Robin Hood legends. Romero takes a long 146 minutes to explore this world, showing the seams at the edges of the operation, and juxtaposes that with Billy's fierce commitment to authenticity and his dedication to his craft. Some riders try to break away from the group (it's becoming too popular) or try to overthrow the king, and women get involved as well (horrors!). It's a true oddity, but Romero's use of the idea and setting to explore human nature is as vivid as ever, and it's all unexpectedly involving. Horror makeup and stunt legend Tom Savini co-stars as "Morgan" and Ken Foree (from Dawn of the Dead) is "Little John." Cute Patricia Tallman went on to star in Savini's 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. Author Stephen King and his wife Tabitha appear in a funny little cameo as spectators. The following year, King and Harris worked with Romero on Creepshow.

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