directed by George A. Romero
1983 Media Home Entertainment
145 minutes; Rated R
by Tammy Vrieze
Huzzah! The King of Camelot and his Knights have traded their horses in for motorcycles. Let the joust begin! Knightriders tells the story of a troupe of motorcyclists who travel from town to town putting on a Renaissance Festival where the main attraction is their barbaric fight for the king’s crown. They battle in full armor wielding medieval weaponry in hopes of being the only knight left astride their bike.
When word of their battles gets around, it garners national attention promising the troupe fame and fortune. However King Bill, played by a young and very intense Ed Harris, feels their act on a spiritual level and doesn’t want the press to invade their fairy tale existence. He feels, “Camelot is a state of mind.” While his knights like the idea of fame and fortune and suspect the king is one sandwich short of a picnic. Even his queen desires greener pastures. Sadly the troupe splits apart. King Bill and a handful of members loyal enough to stick around setup camp and quit traveling in hopes that the troupe will return.
The movie has more cheese than a box of Velveeta, but the fight scenes are amusing. Bikers will appreciate the crazy motorcycle stunts and flaming testosterone. Woman’s Libbers will like the fact that there is a female knight kicking ass in the troupe as well as a female mechanic. But few will like this movie enough to sit through two and half hours of King Bill’s Renaissance vision. The sub-plots are fairly entertaining and include a blackmailing cop, a runaway teen, and the questioning of the sexuality of the troupe’s herald.
Knightriders was written and directed by George A. Romero who brought us such cinematic gems as Night of the Living Dead and Creepshow. Joining Ed Harris in the cast we find Gary Lahti, Tom Savini, and Amy Ingersoll. Look for Stephen King’s cameo as “Hoagie Man”. The best thing I can say about Knightriders is that David Hasselhoff wasn’t in this one.