‘He rode that sweet machine just like a bomb’ – Psychomania: Part Two

The locked room, then. So, Tom’s in there and has been given a huge pair of glasses to wear. These are not explained. There is a flashback in which a pleasingly be-hatted Mrs L, with her infant son in tow, meets up with a man in a black cape at the standing stones and signs some sort of contract. The cape wearer is presumably either the devil or the God of big sideburns, but whoever he is he’s wearing a nifty ring with a frog design on it.

From all of this, Tom infers (and his mother confirms) that the secret to coming back from the dead is just to believe that you will come back. With this new-found knowledge, Tom gets on his bike again and they ride around the town centre, knocking things over, pestering hot pant wearing young mums. A few grown-ups say, ‘Geddoutofit’ and the Fuzz are nowhere to be seen.

And at the end of this suburban rampage, Tom speeds off and rides straight off a bridge. Two minutes later, his body bods up out of the river only to be discovered by two cute children (apparently straight out of a Ladybird book) who seem quite non-plussed by the discovery of a corpse.

And so Abby puts a frock (one of those fantastic polyester based numbers) and visits Ma Latham, who doesn’t seem to be that bothered about her son’s death. Perhaps she knows something is going to happen. Mrs L gives the gang consent to bury Tom in their own way. And then…

Oh dear God, the funeral scene. It’s batty. And brilliant. In a very odd sort of way. At the ‘Seven Witches’ standing stones, The Living Dead all dress like hippies and sensitively play with flowers. Chopped Meat, who once his out of his leathers reveals himself to be a slender wisp of a folky boy who probably couldn’t actually chop anything bigger than a slab of ultra-thin turkey without help, strums a guitar and sings a folk song called ‘Riding Free’. And it’s revealed that Tom has been buried on top of his bike in a very shallow hole. How does he stay on there? Sticky backed plastic? Presumably someone had to fish Tom and his bike out of the water separately, so did the same person then sit him up on the bike before rigor mortis set in. And why isn’t the bike rusty? And why…

‘Riding Free’ is a pleasant bit of Donovan-esque strumming and fittingly the lyrics make no sense at all. There’s a lot about Tom’s general sticking it to The Man, who as the song says, ‘tried to clip his wings just like a fly.’ Who clips a fly’s wings? Who’s got clippers small enough?

Anyway, so Tom is left to presumably rot (or get vandalised) in his half dug grave and the gang disperse. Cut to a couple in a broken down car. The man decides to take a sort cut to the garage across the Seven Witches. So he does. Cue the sound of revving.

Now, here’s the thing – Tom has come back from the dead but aside from the fact that he can’t be killed he doesn’t seem to have any special powers. And what does he want to do now he’s back from the world of shadows? Erm, much the same as before really – knocking things over, riding too fast, being a bit of a dick – only this time with some added (and curiously bloodless) murder. The hapless garage hunter is the first to die and then Tom’s on to a pub (with the verger from Dad’s Army behind the bar) where he rings his Mum (‘Well, I’m dead, Mother, but aside from that never better!’) and gets a young lady to buy him a drink.

Unfortunately, the lady is a bit too interested in getting onto the back of Tom’s bike so she becomes his next victim, along with (we find out later) several other people. But not to worry – the cops have called in a Police Inspector, played by Robert Hardy (either the sensible one from All Creatures Great and Small or the Ministry of Magic dude from the Harry Potter films, depending on your age) and he’s going to sort all of this out. By driving around really slowly. In a Morris Minor. Ah, the 70s.

The Living Dead are befuddled and somewhat thrilled to see their leader resurrected. Hatchet is so excited, he knifes Tom in the back to no discernable effect. ‘You can only die once.’ Tom says. This makes the gang decide that being undead is pretty groovy. And in order to make themselves undead, they go off to make themselves, um, dead.

Next time: Suicide is (not) painless! Take that, Fine Fare! Cheap but strangely creepy Special Effects! And don’t worry – we see the frog again!

E.M

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