I’m going through the long list of credits from the Living Dead creator, George A. Romero. As you’d imagine, it’s mostly horror and dark thrillers, like Dawn of the Living Dead and The Crazies. But smack dab in the middle is a somewhat unlikely tale known as Knightriders. It’s not about a talking car, but about a group of knights who ride motorcycles. While there’s some gore and violence, it plays out more like a soap opera.
Billy (Ed Harris), also known as “King William,” is the leader of said troupe of knights on bikes. The motorcycle gang not only performs as knights on the field, but they have structured their community based on Arthurian ideas. Think one leader with a round table of advisory knights. Leadership is attained by might and physical acumen during their shows. Though everyone is friends, every fake community needs a villain. Here it’s Sir Morgan (Tom Savini), who literally “plays the role” for the sole reason that every community needs an antagonist.
“The motorcycle gang not only performs as knights on the field, but they have structured their community based on Arthurian ideas.”
Like any community whose economy is based on entertainment, money is a necessary evil for survival. Gas, replacement parts, armor, weapons, it all costs something. Let’s not forget about food and shelter. It also doesn’t help that no matter where they travel, the gang is harassed by local authorities, who believe the event is unsafe… which it is.
When a corrupt cop arrests Billy, the troupe, now led by Sir Morgan, is contacted by greedy promoter Bontempi (Martin Ferrero). He lures them in with promises of a new look, new bikes, costumes, and a steady income running the lucrative county fair circuit. However, when Billy returns, he runs Bontempi out of their camp, and after a “joust” performance gone wrong, most of the troupe follows Bontempi and his promises of fame and fortune. Can Billy get over his pride and discard the group’s foolish ideals? Will Morgan and the other troupe learn that money can not buy friends? Will the Knights embrace sensible safety practices? Yes, yes, and no.
"…this film is clearly a labor of love."