“Murdercycle”: Prepare yourselves to witness the hellacious motorcyclin’ Alien Death Machine!

By on July 27, 2017

It seems that lately a lot of our Night Flight Plus subscribers have been watching Murdercycle — a low-budget, action-packed sci-fi thriller about a killer motorcycle-and-rider inhabited by a space alien gone berserk — so we thought we’d tell the rest of you a little more about it, in case you’d like to check it out yourselves.

Murdercycle is streaming in our collection of Full Moon titles over on Night Flight Plus, and if you’re not already a subscriber (in other words, a member of our exclusive Night Flight club), we’ll tell you how you can subscribe about a third of the way down.

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Plotwise, here’s what we can tell you about Murdercycle:

All hell breaks loose somewhere in the great American southwest when an alien probe, lodged inside an orb-like meteorite, crash-lands at some kind of forgotten military installation, located near Prairie Dog, Colorado, wherever the hell that is!

By the light of day, we see that the military base actually looks more like an abandoned set from an old Fifties TV western.

It’s the kind of deserted and dusty “Deadwood”-style ghost town that no one would suspect actually houses a super-secretive classified government hideout!

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A unsuspecting young dude on a dirt bike just happens to be out motocrossin’ in the dead of night when he spies the space rock, embedded in the earth — it looks mysterious as hell, too, a brain-shaped black hunk of lava rock with smoke wisping up — but before biker dude can even get off his bike to check it out, the space-rock entity shoots out its tendrils that take over the rider and his Honda, transmogrifying them both into a black-clad demonic alien-infused Murdercycle.

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We learn later that the alien life force inside that hunk of brain-sized meteoric rock is actually on a rescue mission: turns out the CIA has captured some kind of mechanism aboard a UFO that can transmit and receive information, and now the Murdercycle alien is bent on committing all kinds of murder and mayhem in order to recover the alien artifact and take it back home.

This alien death machine is devoid of human emotion, so, you know, it’s deadly.  It can also shoot out some kind of colorful space laser, its engine roaring with a deafening thunder.

We should also mention that the Murdercycle also has Predator-style thermal vision, allowing us to see what it sees, which basically looks like a colorfully psychedelic alien acid trip.

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Read more about Murdercycle below.

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Meanwhile, back on the ranch… er… back to our Murdercycle plot:

A group of tough guy marines are briefed and then dispatched to that ultra-secure facility, disguised as a rotting wooden shack, where we see a solitary night watchman glancing at monitors and wholly unaware at first that a murderous Murdercycle is already on the loose.

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This crazy covert-ops strike force just happens to be led by a suicidal drunk-ass Sgt. Kirby (Charles Wesley), assigned to lead the investigation, so you know some heavy assault-weapons type shit is probably going to go down.

Everybody’s going to be goin’ commando while trying to figure out what the hell’s going on out there in that dusty little Colorado ghost town before it’s too late.

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They’re joined by a secretive asshole CIA operative named Mr. Wood (Michael Vachetti), a wimpy-ish forensic specialist of some sort, Dr. Adams (Robert Staccardo), and a psychic investigator with pinwheeling blue eyes named Dr. Lee (Cassandra Ellis), who, it turns out, can read everybody’s minds.

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She explains that her telepathy is actually something called “psychometry,” which allows her to feel the “inner life” of inanimate objects, which might come in handy in case they ever run across any.

She’s actually on loan from something called the “Second Sight” program, which conducts “telepathic and psionic research.”

Everyone hopes Dr. Lee just might be able to help figure out what the fuck is going on and tell them how to stop the Murdercycle before it kills them all with laser precision.

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Well, not everyone, of course.

There’s a hitch in the plans because it turns out they’re all on a super-secret “radio-silent” mission, and if they’re not back at a specific rendezvous point in 36 hours, military planes are going to fly over and drop bombs on their confused-little heads.

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Another hitch in the plan is the sneaky CIA dude, who apparently knows the real reason the alien is attacking but he refuses to give up what he knows, which means they’re all truly in danger of being lasered to death by this demonic biker dude from space.

Much of the film is really a taut military-themed drama — so, you know, lots of shit is goin’ to be blowed up real good — which is mainly focused on a lot of the character’s interpersonal tensions, betrayals and deceptions.

It’s actually a kind of western-themed philosophy-rich desert soap opera that is occasionally interrupted by the hellacious appearance of a psycho motorcyclin’ alien on a deadly murder spree.

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You may have a few questions while you’re watching, like:

Is the CIA really hiding some kind of underground spy satellite, feeding the American government super-advanced technological data?

Is Prairie Dog, Colorado, really a hotbed of alien activity?

Is the Murdercycle on a search & destroy mission, bent on killing the one person on Earth who can prevents its immortality?

Does the Murdercycle’s blood actually smell like motor oil?

Wanna know these answers? You’ll just have to watch Murdercycle to find out.

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It turns out that Full Moon producer Charles Band had originally began to develop this film back in 1986, when he was running his Empire Pictures studio in Italy.

At that time, the project was given the title Battle Bikes, as you can see in this original movie poster created at the time.

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The sci-fi themed story apparently involved murderous bikers battling each other to their deaths in some kind of warped urban environment, but we can’t really find much else to tell you about its origins other than the fact that Michael Miner, co-writer of Robocop, was originally set to direct and write the screenplay.

When Empire folded, the project fell apart during some point in its development (possibly even during pre-production), and the project was shelved.

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Years later, when Band was now running his Full Moon company in the U.S., he took Battle Bikes off the shelf and dusted it off for a completely different motorcycle-themed horror film, although Murdercycle does retain a kind of ’80s-era sci-fi/action vibe despite actually being made in the late ’90s.

Band attached a couple of new writers to the project, Daniel Elliott (this appears to be his only credit, according to IMDB), and Neal Marshall Stevens, who has written a number of horror screenplays (often using the pseudonym “Benjamin Carr”), including Retro Puppet Master, Hellraiser: Deader, and Thir13en Ghosts, among other low-budget horror films.

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If you happen to be a fan of Marvel Comics from the 1960s and ’70s, you’ll no doubt notice that one of the more interesting aspects about the screenplay is that every character in the film is named after a top comic book creator — Kubert, Wood, Adams, Bucsema, Frazetta, Ditko, Coletta and Sinnott — with the two lead characters being named Kirby and Lee, after the creators of the Fantastic Four.

The writers also make repeated references to the Fantstic Four comic book series throughout.

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Cinematographer/director/writer Tom Callaway was hired to direct Murdercycle.

The Waco, Texas-native is mostly noted for being the Director of Photography on a number of films (he has over 80 credits on IMDB), beginning in 1986, with Ghost Riders (lensed in Texas), which was then followed up by the cult epic Assault of the Killer Bimbos.

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If you watched the HBO documentary TV series “Project Greenlight” in its third season — it had actually moved to the Bravo Channel by then, circa the spring of 2005 — you may have seen Callaway involved in the horror film Feast, directed by John Gulager from a script by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton.

Callaway’s own directorial debut, Broke Sky, was an official selection of the South by Southwest Film Festival, and won the best narrative feature award at the Memphis Indie Film festival, and the Grand Jury award at the Dances with Films Festival.

Variety called Broke Sky: “An exceptional example of American indie filmmaking…begins on a ghoulishly jaunty note and then audaciously shifts gears into a powerful noir.”

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Callaway has also directed the 2006 TV movie Heebie Jeebies and four others, and has DP’d on lots of mostly independent low-budget features, including on Road House 2: Last Call, Undead Or Alive, Who’s Your Caddy?, National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers, Critters 3 and Critters 4, A Warrior’s Heart, and The New House Party, just to name a few.

Callaway also DP’d episodes of various TV series — including “Deadtime Stories,” “The Girl’s Guide to Depravity,” “Unnatural Selection” — as well as a handful of TV movies and other projects.

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Murdercycle is distributed by Full Moon Entertainment, and was first released on VHS by Full Moon Home Video on July 20, 1998.

If you think you’d like movies about murderous motorcrossin’ Alien Death Machine dudes bent on hellacious destruction in the desert, be sure to check out Murdercycle in our collection of Full Moon titles, they’re all streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.