Sunday, 5 October 2008

God Forgives, the Black Angels Don't!

There's a chance that, if you consider yourself to be a bad record aficionado, you're probably a fan of bad movies too. I love the work of Edward D Wood (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda et al), the exploitation films of Kroger Babb (Mom and Dad), and others far to numerous to mention; check out the listings for the Paranormal Channel (who have recently come up with such delights as the Corpse Grinders, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla and The Bat) if you want to get an idea of what I mean.

The late 60's, early 70's produced a slew of terrible movies, many of which fed on middle America's fear of pot smoking hippies and biker gangs, including She Devils on Wheels and the execrable Black Angels. Which is where we come in.

The Black Angels is a dreadful, dreadful, little piece of schlock (so bad it's actually quite good) about the turf war between two gangs, with a little race rivalry thrown in for good measure. For years the white Serpents and the black Choppers have battled each other, united only by their mutual hatred for a local police officer, Lieutenant Harper. A Chopper member is killed in a fight with Chainer, the leader of the Serpents, and after the Serpents accept new biker Johnny Reb into their ranks, they ride into town to mete out punishment. Returning to their hideout, the gang launches a wild party, which Johnny Reb further enlivens by dipping into his stash. As the gang becomes drowsy and vulnerable from the pills' aftereffects, one of the cyclists, Frenchy, discovers that Johnny Reb is actually a black Chopper member passing for white. Before Frenchy can warn the others, however, Johnny Reb stabs him to death and then signals the Choppers to attack. The two gangs massacre each other while Harper observes the bloodbath from a distant hilltop. Lovely.

But we're not here to glorify gang violence, drug taking or indeed manufacturers of Z-grade movies. What draws our attention is the brilliantly awful soundtrack. Uncredited, but performed by actor/musician Aesop Aquarian, a man whose remarkable 40-year career (occasionally under the names Aesop T. Aquarian and/or the more worldly Stephen Morrell) has included guest spots on TV shows Starsky and Hutch and the Rockford Files and appearances in movies including Don't Mess With the Zohan (often as an ageing hippy or rabbi), the soundtrack to Black Angels offers a couple of bland, nondescript rock songs, but nestled amongst them is this little gem.

The Cigarette Song is a lovely little ballad extolling the virtues of the noxious weed, including lung cancer. Have a listen, but pay close attention to the third verse...

1 comment:

WWR Most Popular Posts