Ten Questions with Larry Bishop About Hell Ride

Recently, I was granted the opportunity to ask 10 questions of legendary biker-film actor and director Larry Bishop for the recent DVD release of his film Hell Ride. Here's what came of it.

Hey Larry, as something of an old-school genre fan, I really had a hell of a good time with your film, so many thanks for taking the time out to talk with us today. So let's just jump into it.

1) The opening few minutes of Hell Ride are very evocative (in terms of mood, tone, editing and music selection) of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (particularly Vol. 2, in which you appear) before spinning off to become its own distinct film. How much of that was Quentin's direct influence (as he was a producer on the film) and how much was an attempt to set this in a Grindhouse-like universe?

LB: Quentin was extremely generous of spirit -- he completely left me alone during the writing and the filming of Hell Ride, although he was very much in my thoughts. Early on, we agreed he would show up in the editing room. And he did. And he was amazing.

2) Quentin often talks about how movies he is involved with exist in one of two different universes -- the real world or in this hyper-criminalized movie universe of his. Where would you place this? Do you feel it belongs in some sort of Quentinverse, or is it closer to existing in the universe of your own biker films from the '60s and '70s?

LB: Hell Ride is, of course, very stylized; I wanted to meld together spaghetti westerns and biker films, as if the entire movie itself was on a peyote trip.

3) Speaking of your other films, say someone were to watch Hell Ride as a double feature back to back with one of your classics. Which of your films would be a thematic match and create the perfect night of Larry Bishop nihilistic biker glory? What do you feel is the link for these two films -- aside from your presence, of course.

LB: Hell Ride and Angel Unchained would be a good double feature. In both -- in spite of all the nihilism -- my character keeps his word.

4) Which of your films would you like fans of Hell Ride to seek out most once they've been reintroduced to you?

LB: As an actor/writer/director: Mad Dog Time. As an actor/writer: Underworld (1997). As an actor: Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Big Fix, Angel Unchained.

5) In the opening of one of the special features on the Hell Ride DVD, you mention that if you've made a biker film and your family still talks to you afterwards, then you really haven't made a biker film. Could you expound a little on that? Any good stories to go along with that comment -- in other words any moments in which family members disowned you for one of your films?

DVD 'Hell Ride' from Dimension Home EntertainmentLB: Biker films are outlaw films -- they are anti-movies, rebelling against all conventions. After I made The Savage Seven, all my friends and family stopped talking to me -- they were all in shock.

6) It took you four years from Quentin saying it was your destiny to make a biker film with him to having it on the big screen. What were the biggest roadblocks in getting it made? Was it simply money issues or was it tough to explain to the current generation of Hollywood types just what a biker movie was really all about?

LB: I had Quentin Tarantino on my side. There were really no obstacles at all.

7) What's the best bike you've ever ridden? Don't be afraid to be technical.

LB: When I was a teenager, I bought my first bike: a Triumph 650. It was love at first sight.

8) Where's the best stretch of road?

LB: I always dug riding along the Pacific Coast Highway.

9) What's the manliest thing you've ever done, that, you know, I could print?

LB: In the late '60s at a bordello, south of the border. The details are unprintable.

10) What, in your estimation, is the greatest biker movie ever made (in which you do not appear)?

LB: Because of Brando's performance, The Wild One.